BYU’s priority Saturday night against New Mexico State will be to win the 8:15 p.m. home game and get bowl eligible. That’s a no-brainer.
The second item on the check list should be to get senior Tanner Mangum some playing time on Senior Night. The player who has given so much to the program the past four years, and experienced all kinds of ups and downs, simply deserves it.
“I would love for him to play, yeah, I hope so,” quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick said Wednesday night when asked if Mangum will get into the game.
There were some fears among Mangum supporters after BYU’s 35-16 win over UMass last week that freshman Jaren Hall had replaced him as the No. 2 quarterback because Hall relieved starter Zach Wilson in the last five minutes.
Not true, Roderick said.
“Tanner is number two,” Roderick said. “I didn’t even know that that was an issue Saturday. People got all worked up about it.”
Roderick said Mangum tweaked an oblique muscle in pregame warmups at Boise State on Nov. 3 and would not have been able to play. He was “still a little ginger” before the UMass game, but could have played if needed.
“With five minutes to go, we had it under control, so I wasn’t going to risk getting him hit knowing that we might need him this next couple of weeks,” Roderick said. “I was just protecting him from getting hit, and it was a great chance for Jaren to get in there and play a little.”
Hall has played in two games, so he could play in two more and still preserve his redshirt year.
Rounding them up
In case you missed them, here are some of the stories, player profiles and columns from The Tribune:
• BYU basketball fans have been bracing for months for the NCAA’s ruling on the Nick Emery impermissible benefits case, and it finally dropped Friday before the Cougars’ second game of the 2018-19 season. [Trib]
• Heavy handed or appropriate? Here are the sanctions the NCAA slapped on BYU. The school is appealing. [Trib]
• It took awhile for the Cougars to adjust to a 10 a.m. MST kickoff on the East Coast, but when they did they rolled past overmatched UMass at Gillette Stadium. [Trib]
• It was the second-smallest crowd BYU has played in front of in the independence era, but players and coaches alike enjoyed the experience at the home of the New England Patriots. [Trib]
• A week after failing to convert in the red zone cost them a chance to upset Boise State, the Cougars took care of business against UMass. [Trib]
• BYU fell behind Boise State 14-0 and behind UMass 10-0 in successive games. Yeah, that’s a problem. [Trib]
• We took a closer look at BYU basketball freshman Gavin Baxter as the Cougars embarked on their three-game week. [Trib]
• Here’s an update on BYU’s women’s volleyball team, which is undefeated and has been ranked No. 1 in the country for an amazing 10 straight weeks. [Trib]
• BYU’s football team isn’t the only one that starts slowly. The Cougar hoopsters did that Tuesday before rolling past Northwestern State. [Trib]
• Where would BYU’s football team be without its solid defense the past two seasons? Guys like Corbin Kaufusi, Sione Takitaki and Merrill Taliauli have carried the Cougars through some rough stretches. [Trib]
• College basketball’s early signing period is upon us, and the Cougars are expected to add three new players to the fold, including two who were born outside the United States. [Trib]
Views From Elsewhere
• Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson had a thoughtful take on the rather harsh sanctions the NCAA doled out to BYU basketball. [Dnews]
• Another opinion from the Deseret News on the NCAA ruling and BYU basketball. [Dnews]
As mentioned before, BYU will honor 25 seniors Saturday night before hosting New Mexico State in the final home game of the season. Here’s what senior linebacker Sione Takitaki said his emotions will be like:
“I am a little sad, but then I’m a little excited to get going with my life. I’ve been at BYU for a while. So I’m ready to go.”
Aaron Roderick had nothing but praise for the way Tanner Mangum has handled his midseason benching:
“He has great character and is all class, a total team guy. He will do anything it takes to help the team win. He is a really good player. I still stand by that. I think he’s a good player, and if we need him to go in there and play, I have a lot of confidence that he will play well. Can’t say enough about his character and what type of person he is and how he handles things, both good and bad. When he plays well he gives credit to everybody else, and when things haven’t gone well, he shoulders the blame. He has been an awesome guy to work with.”
Elsewhere on Campus
• Eight players have signed with BYU’s women’s soccer program and will join the team for the 2019 season. The Cougars lose just two players off the team that fell 2-1 to TCU in the NCAAs last week: senior Madie Siddoway Gates and freshman Olivia Wade, who will leave on a church mission shortly.
The signees are: SaraJayne Affleck, Zoe Jacobs, Ellie Maughan, Rachel McCarthy, Jamie Shepherd, Olivia Smith, Laveni Vaka and Daviana Vaka.
• BYU’s top-10 ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams will race in the NCAA National Championships on Saturday in Madison, Wis. The No. 9-ranked women’s team will compete in the 6K race and the No. 2 men’s team will compete in the 10K race.
• BYU men’s golfer Peter Kuest was named the WCC Golfer of the Month for the second straight month. Kuest won the Visit Stockton Pacific Invite on Oct. 25-27 by shooting a 16-under-par 197, the lowest three-round score in BYU golf history.