|Dayan Ghanwoloku makes one of his three pass breakups versus ECU (Karl B DeBlaker, AP)|
The BYU Cougars (1-7) looked no different against a bad East Carolina Pirates (2-6) squad than it has against the tougher opponents on the schedule.
BYU used the same game plan to start this game as it did at Mississippi State last week. It yielded the same results. BYU was able to pick up a few first downs running the ball, but had to punt near midfield.
ECU started at its own 11-yard line. On 2nd and 7, the Pirates completed a pass for 14 yards. BYU defensive back Zane Anderson stripped the ball, and Adam Pulsipher was there to recover for the Cougars.
BYU took over at the ECU 28-yard line. Five plays later, Tanner Mangum found Micah Simon for a 12-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.
That lead was short lived. ECU came right back with a 10-play touchdown drive of its own. A 41-yard pass did most of the damage, but the Cougar defense forced a 4th and Goal situation. From just one yard away, the Pirates quarterback ran in to tie the game.
Despite ECU being the worst defense, statistically, in the country, the BYU offense turned into its usual self. Get a first down, but don't really do anything with the ball.
Jonny Linehan's punts were the only thing worth watching the next two series. He pinned ECU back at its two and one yard lines.
The Pirates still managed a field goal after the first punt, but couldn't move past the 35-yard line the second time. That gave BYU the ball one last time before the half.
A 17-yard pass completion opened up the running lanes. Ula Tolutau had back-to-back 9-yard runs. That was followed by KJ Hall running for 17. The ball was now at the ECU 22-yard line.
The Pirates then helped out with a defensive holding penalty. Two more run plays and BYU was looking at 3rd and 1 from the two-yard line.
Tolutau got the call, but ECU was ready for it and dropped him for a two-yard loss. With two seconds left in the half, BYU kicked a field goal to tie the game, 10-10.
ECU came out of the locker room ready to seize the opportunity at hand. BYU didn't.
The Pirates scored on their first four possessions of the second half (three field goals, one touchdown). They had four pass completions over 25 yards on those drives.
BYU allowed a sack followed by a delay of game penalty on its first second half drive. That resulted in a punt. A 46-yard pass to Aleva Hifo got BYU close enough to attempt a field goal on drive two. Unfortunately, it wasn't close enough to make a field goal.
Down 26-10 early in the fourth quarter, BYU finally got the sense of urgency that it needed to do something, now. BYU completely abandoned the run. Throwing every down, Mangum got the Cougars all the way to the ECU four-yard line. On 4th and Goal, Mangum's pass was incomplete.
The Cougar defense got the ball right back, but desperation had set in at this point. Mangum made a poor descision trying to get a big chunk of yards. Four ECU defenders were in the area. The pass was intercepted and returned to the BYU 12-yard line. Two plays later, ECU went up 33-10 with 6:25 to play.
BYU came back throwing. It got one more touchdown on the board for the Cougars. Mangum found Matt Bushman from 12 yards out.
After a failed onside kick, Corbin Kaufusi sacked the quarterback on 3rd and 7 to give BYU one last try.
BYU moved down to the ECU 41-yard line, but Mangum got sacked on 3rd and 10. A fourth down pass fell incomplete.
ECU ran out the clock, and made it's second win official, 33-17.
Mangum finished the night 26 of 41 for 319 yards, and 2 toichdowns with 1 interception. It was the first time BYU passed for more than 200 yards against a FBS opponent since September 30, 2016, and the 300-yard passing game was the first since the Las Vegas Bowl in 2015.
Hifo was Mangum's favorite target on the night catching 9 passes for 148 yards.
Fred Warner led the way on defense with 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one pass break up.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Zane Anderson's forced fumble recovered by Adam Pulsipher.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jonny Linehan, 5 punts, 46.4 yards per punt, three punts inside the 15, including two punts inside the five.
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