Following last week’s loss to Boise State, BYU matched the program’s first five game losing streak since 1970. Turns out, they’ve met another mark in the wrong direction.
After getting crushed at Mississippi State on Saturday, the Cougars have now dropped six consecutive games for the first time since 1968.
First, the positive for the Cougars: they won the turnover battle, including a couple of interceptions by Dayan Ghanwoloku. But the negative continues to be hummed by the same old tune; an offense that has not been able to generate much more than a touchdown a game.
Ty Detmer’s offense would fail to find the end zone in Starkville until Tanner Mangum connected with Aleva Hifo with 44 seconds left in the third quarter. But at that point, the Cougars still trailed the Bulldogs 28-10.
Mississippi State would hold the rest of the way, and add a late touchdown to preserve the 35-10 victory.
Despite recent injuries, it wasn’t certain that Mangum would even get the start. He finished the game 16 of 26 for 145 yards, but had trouble getting the offense in rhythm. While on the other side, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald had little trouble marching the football.
Fitzgerald found the end zone three times in the first half, including twice with his feet. It started with a 15-yard jaunt in the first quarter. The junior then found Donald Gray for six to lift the Bulldogs up 14-0, and then a 14-yard keeper with 22 seconds left in the half dug the Cougars into a 21-3 hole going into the locker room.
Mangum’s second half touchdown to Hifo was only his third of the season. In contrast, Mangum tallied 23 touchdown passes his freshman year after taking over for the injured Taysom Hill.
The Cougars have now scored fewer than 14 points in a game for the fifth time this season. BYU (1-6) visits East Carolina next week.