Earlier this season, BYU had been saved by last second touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum against both Nebraska and last week against Boise State. This week his luck ran out.
Two freshman quarterbacks on the big stage to lead their team to a victory and a battle of the unbeaten. 22-year Tanner Mangum of BYU, who spent two years on a mission in Chile helped his team fight back to squeeze out wins. The other ,a 19-year old freshman Josh Rosen of UCLA. A top quarterback prospect from a year ago and who has surprised the nation with his impressive play coming right as a starter.
Josh was brought down to earth from cloud nine after having big games against UVA and UNLV. He found out what it was like to play against some difficult schemes and looks on a college level as the Cougars confused and bewildered the young freshman from the start. Throwing interceptions in the first half the freshman Rosen appeared rattled, so UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora decided to take the pressure off the young man and ride his experienced junior running back Paul Perkins. He didn’t disappoint rushing 26 times for 216 yards and a touchdown. This settled Rosen down taking the ball out of his hands some so that he didn’t feel like he had to make all the plays or force the action unnecessarily.
In the first half Rosen was 5-15 for 52 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. In the second half he was more efficient and settled going 6-8 for 54 yards and a score, no turnovers.
With the Bruins struggling to hold on to the ball; the Cougars weren’t able to capitalize on the extra possessions in the first half, managing to only score three points off of the three UCLA turnovers and lead at the half by seven, with a 10-3 lead.
BYU isn’t comfortable playing with the lead. They seem to be better equipped to make magic when they are playing from behind. When the Cougars took a 10 point lead into the fourth quarter, they let off the gas somewhat and allowed Rosen to get comfortable and he was able to find Jordan Payton for a 19-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to three.
After kicking another field goal to take the lead up to six, Jim Mora once again jumped on his horse to ride to a win, only this time he relied on his sophomore back-up running back Nate Starks. The sophomore ran four straight times by pushing the tempo by gashing the now tired BYU defense for 60 yards capping the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to take the lead 24-23.
With time left on the clock for some more magic you would think that Tanner Mangum would pull another rabbit out of the hat, he too was brought back down to earth. On a fourth-and-seven trying to escape from a defender, Mangum made his only mistake of the game trying to force the pass into receiver Mitchell Juergens, but linebacker Miles Jack jumped in front of the pass and intercepted stealing a victory from BYU.