BYU Cougar fans drooled throughout the off-season as they anticipated a two-headed attack on offense of fan favorites Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams. Unfortunately, the dream was smashed during fall camp when Williams withdrew from school and announced that he would red-shirt due to personal reasons.
Even with Williams out of the picture the Cougars looked forward to a strong offense still led by Hill and a group of wide receivers led by senior Mitch Mathews. Hill and Mathews seemed to have a connection as they had been former roommates and found a chemistry that gave the Cougars hope.
Once again fate would step in and crush Cougar fans dreams as Hill had his season end as soon as it started against Nebraska. Unable to complete the first game of the season, BYU had to turn to an unlikely hero in freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum.
When thrown into the spotlight against Nebraska, Mangum had only been home from his LDS mission for three months. Most returned missionaries take a year or more to get back to physical and mental shape, but Mangum was ready to defy all odds. Showing the poise almost unheard of for a freshman quarterback, Mangum drove the Cougars down the field twice in the final quarter to score the final nine points of the game in order to beat the Huskers.
In fact, the "Miracle in Memorial", the Hail Mary pass to Mitch Mathews, has already found a place in BYU lore. As it turns out, that may not be the connection that we should be looking at.
Against Boise State, another receiver emerged and stole the spotlight from the rest of the group and solidified himself as a legitimate threat, and a favorite of Mangum. Could the Mangum to Juergens duo have been born in Provo?
Junior wide receiver Mitch Juergens came onto the scene last year as he made a few key catches for the Cougars late in the season, but embraced his role as a role player in the Cougars offense. The once two-time walk-on for the Cougars worked hard in the off-season and made the coaches take notice. With a more prominent role established came a scholarship and his dream season began.
The Dynamic Duo
Two games into the season the Mangum to Juergens connection has been the most productive duo on the team to this point and if all goes well they could be an outstanding duo for two years. So far the two have connected for two touchdowns, an 84-yard bomb and then the go ahead prayer against Boise State, both shown below.
Mangum to Juergens started the game and won the game. Only two games into the season, the two players have already found themselves on the doorstep of BYU lore. Currently, Juergens is averaging over 25 yards per catch as he has eight catches for 202 yards. He is also participating a little in the run game as he will run a periodic wide receiver sweep. Although the duo is still young, they are making defenses take notice. In some cases, they are making the defenses even look silly. When a play breaks down and Mangum has to improvise on the run, look no further than Juergens as he runs around the field trying to make himself a target for his quarterback. Both touchdowns came from a poised Mangum scrambling and Juergens finding a way to make a play.
Although the duo may never be mentioned in the same sentence as Max Hall to Austin Collie or John Beck to Johnny Harline, 24-26 games together is a long time and a lot can happen. Defenses must adjust to their style of play and if they do, the stats may go down. However, broken plays and instinct will always allow for Cougar fans to get up and roar as their new favorite dynamic duo of Mangum and Juergens connect time after time, providing highlight reel plays and optimism in a year that fate tried to crush the Cougars.