PROVO, UT —
Several peaks of the Rocky Mountains stand vigil over LaVell Edwards
Stadium. A parade of great quarterbacks have performed for Brigham Young
beneath their rugged presence.
Super Bowl champions Jim
McMahon and Steve Young as well as Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer have
directed the Cougars. Virgil Carter, another vintage Cougars signal
caller, carried the BYU banner before the team's entrance to the field
Given the setting it was
appropriate that the value of effective quarterback play was underscored
in a 45-38 BYU win.
Blake Kemp, who had been
overshadowed by teammate James Summers in recent weeks, returned to the
spotlight in the nearest locale to his native Arizona at which the
Pirates will probably play this season.
Summers started and helped
the Pirates to an early 14-0 lead with a 34-yard scoring run. Yiannis
Bowden blocked a Cougars punt for the Pirates' second score.
Then BYU freshman Tanner
Mangum, who inherited the Cougars QB mantle with a foot injury to
highly-regarded Taysom Hill, began to lead BYU back.
Mangum connected on 17 of
23 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the
Cougars rallied for a 28-14 lead.
The Pirates turned to Kemp
on their final possession of the first half and the junior left-hander
responded by directing a 77-yard drive capped by his one-yard scoring
toss to Trevon Brown just six seconds before the half.
Kemp kept it going in the
second half although the offense had three turnovers after the break.
Kemp went 28 for 36 for the game for 371 yards with two touchdowns and
The Cougars pushed their
lead to 38-21 in the third quarter and gave freshman Beau Hoge, the son
of NFL analyst and former Pittsburgh Steeler, Merril Hoge, the reins
after Mangum came up gimpy. The Pirates were able to get some stops with
Hoge trying to get his bearings.
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill
credited his team's fight as the Pirates crept back in the nonconference
Chris Hairston capped an
85-yard drive with a 2-yard run to get ECU within 38-28 early in the
Isaiah Jones hauled in a
7-yard touchdown pass to cut the gap to 38-35 with 6:02 remaining. Kemp
was signaling that the Pirates only had 10 players on the field before
the snap but offensive coordinator Dave Nichol directed him to run the
play rather than take a penalty or call a timeout. Jones grabbed the
ball and lunged into the end zone. A review verified the score.
Bowden picked off Hoge to
set up a tying 34-yard field goal by Davis Plowman with 4:01 to go.
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ECU had scored
17 straight points and obviously had the momentum but the
crowd of 60,186 yelled its approval as Mangum trotted out
for the ensuing series.
"When you're in the middle
of the game, you want to do all you can to keep playing and help your
team win, even though you're hurt," Mangum said. "When it came down to
the last drive, I couldn't stay on the sideline any longer."
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall
was happy to see his offensive leader return. Hoge was one for five for
nine yards with a pick and a sack.
"I didn't expect him to
come back but I'm certainly glad he did," Mendenall said after the
Cougars improved to 4-2.
Mangum completed a pair of
19-yard passes to Devon Blackmon on BYU's concluding 75-yard series. His
15-yarder to Terenn Houk got the Cougars within field goal range at the
ECU 24. Then BYU went to its power ground game to run the clock.
Algernon Brown scored the game winner on a 9-yard run with just 19
Three Kemp passes moved the
Pirates from their 25 to the BYU 35 before time expired.
Kemp's final pass to Bryce
Williams was followed by a lateral to Jones, a lateral to center
Christian Matau and a lateral to Anthony Scott.
"We were trying to do the
Stanford band play," Kemp said.
McNeill said the Pirates
practice the series of laterals each week.
"We were too deep for a
Hail Mary," McNeill said. "We've got some other plays in those
Jones finished with 10
catches for 95 yards. Brown made six receptions for 84 yards. Williams
had 87 yards on five catches.
Hairston rushed 15 times
for 77 yards as the Pirates held a slight 518-508 lead in total yardage.
ECU had more first downs, 27-26.
McNeill gave all
indications that ECU will go forward into homecoming with Tulsa at noon
on Saturday as a two-quarterback team.
As a former defensive
coordinator, the Pirates coach knows that puts more on the opposition's
plate in terms of preparation.
"We prepared for both
quarterbacks," said Cougars linebacker Fred Warner. "We felt that we
were prepared for both. We thought No. 10 (Kemp) would start, but we
felt ready for both."
The way it's been lately
for the Pirates it's not who starts but who finishes. Kemp gave way to
Summers in wins over Virginia Tech and Southern Methodist.
That pattern might have
been reversed with Kemp rallying ECU to a win if Mangum hadn't returned
for BYU's last drive.