The first quarter of the BYU Homecoming game against East Carolina could not have started much worse. Even though the defense eventually got a stop, they showed some holes that could eventually be exploited. On tYU's first offensive play from scrimmage, freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum was sacked for a huge loss. A long pass on fourth and long got the Cougars' into their opponent's territory, but an Algie Brown fumble on fourth and short ended the Cougars drive.
On the Pirates second offensive drive, the BYU defense showed similar weaknesses that it did in the first series. This time ECU was able to take advantage of those mistakes. BYU struggled to stop the mobile quarterback, James Summers, who would finish the drive with a fourth down scramble for a touchdown. On the ensuing drive Johnny Linehan's punt was blocked by Trevian Hicks and recovered for a touchdown by East Carolina's Yiannis Bowden in the end zone.
And then the coaching adjustments began. It started with Tanner Mangum making accurate throws and finding open receivers leading to a 22-yard catch and run for a touchdown to Algie Brown. The defense forced a 3 and out and a blocked punt recovered by Trey Dye on the 1-yard line. Algie Brown ran it in to tie the game. The defense forced another 3 and out which lead to another touchdown, this time on a slant to Mitch Matthews. Another punt led to a long (87-yard) touchdown drive capped by a 9-yard pass to Terren Houk. At this point, the East Carolina coaching staff also made some adjustments, switching out quarterbacks for pocket passer Blake Kemp. Kemp marched the Pirates down the field throwing a really nice back shoulder fade touchdown pass to Treveon Brown right before the end of the half.
BYU continued their offensive efficiency on the opening drive of the second half. Algie Brown ripped off a 53-yard touchdown run and everything seemed to be rolling for the Cougars. It became apparent that the East Carolina coaches saw something that they could exploit in the BYU pass defense. Kemp had the offense rolling for the rest of the game. The defense bailed themselves out multiple times with turnovers, two fumble recoveries, and an interception by Fred Warner. The wheels felt like they fell off when Tanner Mangum left the game for a few drives due to a hamstring injury. The offense really struggled with Beau Hoge running the show. East Carolina took advantage of the lack of offense by tying up the game.
Tanner made his return on BYU's last drive of the game and immediately made his presence felt. He threw a 7-yard strike to start the drive and the offense rolled from there. The obvious threat of Mangum's arm opened up running lanes and BYU marched down the field and Algie Brown scored his third touchdown of the game to take the lead.
Tanner showed great poise, not only by leading a game winning touchdown drive while injured, but played very well overall completing 24/33 passes for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. Algie Brown also had a good game with 134 yards on 24 carries and the three touchdowns. Devon Blackmon continued with his great season with 9 catches and 142 yards. It was nice to see the offense get on track behind the strength of Mangum's arm and the running game succeeding because of the passing threat, which is probably how BYU is going to have to play for the rest of the season. The pass defense was especially bad, giving up 363 yards and 2 touchdowns. It's nice to get a win, but there are some things to clean up.
The Cougars are back in action next Friday against Cincinnati on ESPN.