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Karl B DeBlaker, AP
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, left, talks with East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery prior to an NCAA college football game in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

The BYU Cougars laid another egg on Saturday night as they fell to East Carolina 33-17. The Cougars weren't able to make enough plays on either side of the ball as they dropped their seventh straight game to fall to 1-7 on the season.

Pirates' backup quarterback Gardner Minshew was key for the Pirates after he replaced an injured Thomas Sirk during the third quarter and led three scoring drives including a pair of touchdown throws to put the game out of reach.

He finished the night completing 6 of 9 passes for 121 and two scores. Sirk also had success in the passing game as he completed 66.7 percent of his throws for 177 yards while adding a rushing score.

Scoring recap

The Cougars got on the board first when Tanner Mangum found Micah Simon for a 12-yard touchdown. The short scoring drive was set up by Zayne Anderson of the defense who forced a fumble which Adam Pulsipher recovered.

East Carolina knotted the game at 7-7 when Sirk scored from a yard out on fourth-and-1. Sirk also provided another key play on the possession as he found Trevon Brown for a 41-yard completion to move the Pirates into BYU territory.

The Pirates took their first lead when Jake Verity bounced in a 42-yard field goal attempt. Devin Anderson was big on the drive with four carries for 29 yards while Sirk completed six passes to four different receivers.

BYU tied the game as time expired for halftime when Rhett Almond converted on a 22-yard kick. It was a score set up by the run as Cougars moved 43 yards on the ground, including a 17-yard run by KJ Hall and a pair of 9-yard runs by Ula Tolutau.

Verity gave the Pirates the lead for good as he nailed another 42-yard field goal. Davon Grayson provided the two biggest plays to move the sticks as he caught a 28-yard pass from Sirk and drew a pass interference penalty.

Verity extended the Pirates' lead to 19-10 with a pair of field goals from 32 and 33 yards on drives that moved 50 and 60 yards before Brown got East Carolina back in the end zone on a perfectly thrown ball from Minshew from 26 yards out.

The Pirates struck again after a huge play from the defense gave them the ball deep in BYU territory on an interception by Cannon Gibbs. Minshew capitalized on the prime field position finding Quay Johnson for the 9-yard touchdown toss.

The Cougars got back on the board when Matt Bushman scored on a 12-yard pass from Mangum. Aleva Hifo came through on the drive with catches of 17, 9 and 21 yards to keep the chains moving.

Three stars

3. Jonny Linehan

Linehan had a masterful performance as he averaged 46.4 yards on five punts, including a season long of 59 yards. He also pinned the Pirates deep in their own territory three times with punts inside the 20-yard line.

2. Fred Warner

Warner led the BYU defense with 11 tackles, including five of the solo variety and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also came away with a pass breakup. It was his third double-digit tackle performance of the season, pushing his total for the year to 67 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss.

1. Aleva Hifo

Hifo had a terrific day in the passing game for the second consecutive week as he caught a career-high nine passes for 148 yards, including a long of 46 yards. He has now recorded 24 catches on the season for 278 yards and a touchdown.

Analyzing the stats

For just the third time on the season, the Cougars outgained their opponent as they totaled 421 yards to ECU's 413. BYU also won the time of possession battle 33:16-26:44.

Tanner Mangum completed 26 of 41 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time since 2015 that a BYU quarterback has thrown for more than 300 yards and the first time that he has thrown two touchdowns this season.

KJ Hall had a very productive night on the ground and in the passing game as he totaled nine carries for 46 yards while catching two passes for 25 yards.

The touchdown catches from Bushman and Simon were the first of their BYU careers.

Up next

The Cougars return home to face the 1-7 San Jose Spartans. The Spartans come to Provo riding a six-game losing streak, including lopsided losses to Utah and Utah State.