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Offensive struggles doom BYU Football in loss to Utah

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Too little, too late, from the BYU offense despite a valiant defensive effort.

NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Brigham Young vs Utah Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vengeance will have to wait. Despite a last second attempt at a comeback, the BYU Cougars (1-2, 1-1 Home) were unable to stop the Utes of Utah on Saturday night, falling 19-13 to drop to 1-2 on the season and losing their seventh straight game to the Utes (2-0, 0-0 Pac 12).

BYU’s defense forced two turnovers, and their saltiness had the Cougars in a position to get a win, handing the ball to Junior Quarterback Tanner Mangum down by six with less than two minutes to go. But the Cougar offense, which had shown signs of life with a touchdown drive only scant minutes before, reverted to its old form when it mattered most. The receivers caught a case of the dropsies, with two of Mangum’s best passes of the night ending up on the turf, and BYU’s comeback bid ended in an impotent fluttering toss by Mangum while trying desperately to avoid getting sacked, injuring himself in the process, and the Cougars squandered their chance to avenge their vandalized Cougar statue, as well as the last eight years of domination by the Utes, who improved their overall mark in the series to 60-34-4.

The BYU defense played admirably throughout the game, holding the Utes to a single touchdown on offense, holding the Utes to four field goals on five of their scoring opportunities, despite surrendering 430 yards, with 314 of those yards coming through the air. The Cougars were without safety Micah Hannemann, who did not dress after having been ejected from BYU’s 27-0 loss to LSU last week. Despite giving up 300 yards passing to Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley, the Cougars secondary refused to allow the Utes to score through the air. They also manged to generate two turnovers via fumble, setting up the first of BYU’s two touchdown drives with their first takeaway.

The BYU offense continued to disappoint, producing only 233 total yards despite only possessing the ball for only five minutes less than Utah. The running game was anemic, producing only 63 yards on 24 attempts. Mangum and the passing game weren’t any better, with an anemic 4.4 yards per attempt and only 170 yards, with one touchdown against three interceptions. The Cougars are having trouble doing anything on offense this season, no matter who the opponent.

Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer’s seat has to be heating up, and things will only get tougher with a visit from the Wisconsin Badgers on the slate for next week. Barring some kind of complete offensive miracle, the Cougars will likely bring a 1-3 record into the Utah State game on September 29th. The good news is that the schedule eases up a bit in October, so the Cougars will still have a decent chance to get to six wins.