If you want the story of BYU-Michigan, here goes. Michigan scored and scored. And scored and scored and scored. Game over. Of course, to know where BYU went wrong, you would have to look closer at what it did in the game.
Before the game, BYU took a lot of pictures at fabled Michigan Stadium and did some sightseeing–similar to what Michigan did at Temple Square with new head coach Jim Harbaugh before the Utes pummeled the Wolverines into the fake grass at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Enter Saturday then, at The Big House. From the looks of the pictures, BYU players were smiling and they looked like they were on vacation. Life was great, except there was a game to be played. Whatever. Maybe BYU thought it was No. 22 in the country, baby, possibly felt invincible.
Tanner Mangum was ready to make up for his bad game last week at UCLA. Except, Mangum wouldn’t get an opportunity to throw any sort of Hail Mary pass in this game. Because, as was kind of expected, he finally had a bad game.
The freshman quarterback who everyone thought would be the second coming of Ty Detmer this season after two Hail Mary game winners even had a rap song dedicated to his amazing start.
That storybook beginning Mangum had in his first two games was brought back to Earth last week in a loss at UCLA. But, his story really returned to normalcy–and frankly, mediocrity– Saturday at the Big House as Mangum found himself running for his life for most of the game.
Before everyone woke up for the day and by the time the thing mercifully ended in front of about 110,000 people and the gun sounded, BYU lost 31-0.
Yes, you’re reading the score right. 31 to zero. Perhaps BYU should have just slept through their alarms at the team hotel, because it honestly looked like the Cougars had fallen asleep while playing.
“They executed and dominated the game from beginning to end,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “They were really well-prepared and in my opinion, that was the best team we’ve played all season.”
Big words, considering Mendenhall played UCLA last week. As for this game, a grand total of 58 yards were gained in the first half–even less in the second for BYU. For the game, Mangum had just 55 passing yards on 12 of 28 tosses–not even as much as he gained in one play during BYU’s game winning Hail Mary at Nebraska.
Makes you wonder what the legs and bionic arm–not to mention the senior leadership–of fallen quarterback Taysom Hill might have done on a day like this. Wonder all you want, but wishing it so won’t bring Hill back.
“I felt fine, mentally, calm and confident,” Mangum said. “Things weren’t clicking. We just couldn’t get into a rhythm. That’s on me … Give credit to the Michigan defense. They did a great job. They were tough and physical. They made it hard on us. Each drive we came out with energy, but we just couldn’t get it going.”
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Cougars completed one pass in the first quarter. Even so, it wasn’t like Michigan held a giant lead ending the first, going ahead by the threadbare count of 7-0.
By halftime, however, the Wolverines then literally ran BYU into the ground–and threw the ball around just enough to throw off the scent of hungry Cougar defenders, who before this game actually looked like the BYU defense of old.
Not on Saturday, though. Not even two minutes into the second quarter did Michigan score its second touchdown, accompanied by a fist pump from new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Exactly two minutes later after BYU went three and out, Michigan scored on a 60-yard run to go up 21-0 with 11:37 still left in the first half.
Were the Wolverines done? Not hardly, said Jim Harbaugh, his khakis and 109,999 other people in the stands. BYU went–drum roll please–three and out again and Michigan scored another touchdown again to take a 28-0 lead with 6:57 before halftime.
By this point BYU fans in attendance among the waves and maize and blue had to wonder to themselves what in the world was going on–because Mangum usually throws for at least 200 yards by now.
Instead, Big 10 member Michigan was punching BYU in the mouth, made even worse by the fact that after yet another three and out, the Wolverines would up their lead to 31-0 with a chip shot field goal.
To be honest, the score might have been worse had running back De’Veon Smith not gone out with an injury in the third quarter, saving BYU and its players from further embarrassment in the Big House. In any case, the bloodletting ended after the half and BYU escaped with a 31-point loss.