We're obviously happy with the win, but I still feel like there's so much more we could have done. —Tanner Mangum
PROVO — BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum was pulled during Saturday's game against San Jose State in favor of Joe Critchlow, but not for the reasons some were assuming going in. It was for a reason most were anticipating heading into season, however, before BYU's massive offensive struggles became apparent. Mangum was pulled midway through the fourth quarter because his work was done, after directing the offense to 41 points while accumulating 315 yards of total offense during the Cougars' much-needed 41-20 win on Saturday.
"It's a good thing when you can get the backups in and get them some reps. It means that you've done your job," Mangum said. "It means that we had a good game and we got ahead."
Getting the job done hasn't been the case for the BYU offense this season prior to Saturday's win. Even in a 20-6 win over Division II Portland State, the BYU offense, led by Mangum, had to finish out a game which many assumed would be a blowout.
Mangum didn't finish with gaudy numbers on Saturday, going 18 of 34 for 283 yards and three touchdowns, but he did have the Cougar offense clicking from the get-go.
The opening drive saw Mangum hit a streaking Jonah Trinnaman for a 45-yard gain and culminated with him slinging a 23-yard touchdown strike to Micah Simon. A turnover on the ensuing kickoff saw Mangum build upon the momentum by hitting tight end Matt Bushman for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Although Mangum had more standout moments than at any time this year, BYU coach Kalani Sitake was quick to point out the junior quarterback's shortcomings.
"Without watching film I still think there's a lot of plays he could have made," Sitake said. "There were throws that were a little off, and we'll see after watching film if it was on routes or on his delivery, but there's some opportunities we could have had."
Sure, Mangum wasn't perfect, and he generally agreed with Sitake's overall assessment.
"We're obviously happy with the win, but I still feel like there's so much more we could have done," Mangum said. "I missed a couple of throws and there's some drives we were stalled on that we could have finished, so there's always room to improve."
Mangum's highs included several touch passes completed over coverage to Simon, Trinnaman and other receivers. The lows came with some short-armed passes and one pass in particular where he gunned a tough-to-handle throw to a wide-open Bushman over the middle during a third-and-6 situation that should have gone for an easy completion.
"You don't feel like every throw is going to be perfect, but there's some that I think he's way better at throwing, and he could have delivered them better," Sitake said. "But there were some deep balls and shots that he took that I was really happy with."
Mangum hopes to continue the momentum into next week, when the Cougars travel to take on a tough Fresno State team.
"We're not going to go down easy. We're going to keep fighting — keep on battling," Mangum said. "So I was proud of our effort today and our mentality."