PROVO, Utah – The Brigham Young University Cougars got out to a late start against East Carolina at home in Provo Saturday, with the Pirates coming out early to produce a 14-0 lead before BYU began to rack up the points, but a resurgence from the Pirates late in the game made for a nail-biting finish.
BYU would ultimately win the game 45-38, but that victory came after some late-in-the-game drama.
East Carolina found the endzone first, scoring on a quarterback keep midway through the first quarter. Just a few minutes later, a blocked and recovered punt netted another touchdown for the Pirates to make it 14-0 their favor with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
BYU answered back with 1:36 left in the first, and their own special teams got into the action as well, as they also blocked and recovered a punt for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 early in the second quarter.
The Cougars expanded their lead five minutes later on a touchdown pass from Mangum to Matthews, and they widened the gap to 28-14 with 2:14 left in the half on another touchdown.
BYU scored another touchdown in the third and settled for field goal on another drive with 2:25 to play in the third quarter, but the Pirates struck back in the fourth, scoring with 12:48 on the clock to make it 38-28 BYU.
Rookie quarterback Tanner Mangum was helped off the field at one point in the third quarter, and according to BYU Football he injured a hamstring and his return status was uncertain as of the fourth quarter.
East Carolina scored later in the fourth on a 7-yard touchdown pass to narrow the gap, making it 38-35 BYU with just over 6 minutes left to play. Just about a minute later, the Pirates picked off BYU to take possession on the BYU 43 with 5:06 showing on the clock.
That drive resulted in a 34-yard field goal for ECU, tying the game at 38 with 4 minutes left. Tanner Mangum returned to the field for the next BYU drive in an attempt to seal the deal for the Cougars.
And Mangum was successful, leading a drive that ended with an Algie Brown touchdown with 0:19 seconds left to play, giving BYU a 45-38 lead that would hold up through the remaining seconds.