Brigham Young University
Oct 14 | 11:00 AM
10 - 35
Mississippi State University
Kristen Kerr | Posted: 14 Oct 2017 | Updated: 7 Aug 2023
Kristen Kerr

BYU drops 35-10 road contest at Mississippi State


STARKVILLE, Miss. – BYU dropped its road game 35-10 to Mississippi State Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.


"There were some positives, but not enough," head coach Kalani Sitake said. "If it did not feel like our backs are up against a wall before, it does now. We head east next week, and we have to be ready for East Carolina. Hopefully we can get things fixed and perform better by then.”

The Bulldogs overpowered the Cougar offense and outgained them 546 to 176 in total yards. BYU was limited to 46 offensive plays and just over 23 minutes of possession time.

With the loss, the Cougars have dropped six in a row for the first time since 1968.

Aleva Hifo led BYU receivers with career highs in receptions (5) and yards (77), including a career-long reception of 43 yards and his first career touchdown on a 27-yard strike from Tanner Mangum. Mangum finished 16 of 26 for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

Dayan Ghanwoloku intercepted two passes for 105 yards, his first two-interception game of his career. He intercepted one in the end zone early in the second quarter and returned it 67 yards. Late in the third quarter, Ghanwoloku had his second interception at the five-yard line for 38 yards.     

Butch Pau’u and Sione Takitaki both had double-digit tackles with 12 and 10, respectively.

Bulldog quarterback Nick Fitzgerald rushed 15 yards for a touchdown at the conclusion of a 10-play, 89-yard drive with 5:15 left in the first quarter. Jace Christmann connected on the PAT to put Mississippi State up 7-0.

Early in the second quarter, BYU’s Ghanwoloku intercepted Fitzgerald in the end zone and returned it 67 yards. Moments later, the Bulldogs forced a fumble and recovered it on the Mississippi State 26-yard line with 10:08 on the clock. Eight plays and three minutes later, Donald Gray caught a touchdown pass from Fitzgerald to go up 14-0.

Mangum connected with Hifo on a 43-yard pass to set up kicker Rhett Almond’s career-high 38-yard field goal. The seven-play, 54-yard drive put BYU on the board 14-3 with 3:35 left in the half.

Fitzgerald rushed 14 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 22 seconds on the clock, extending the Bulldogs’ lead 21-3 going into halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, Fitzgerald sent a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Couch to take a 28-3 advantage.

Ghanwoloku recorded his second interception of the game at the five-yard line with less than a minute left in the third quarter. Twenty-one seconds later, Mangum found Hifo in the end zone. Almond converted the PAT to close the gap 28-10.

Just before the end of the third quarter, kicker Andrew Mikkelsen forced a fumble on Mississippi State’s kickoff return and wide receiver Akile Davis recovered the ball inside the 30-yard line. The Bulldogs later intercepted Mangum in the end zone and returned it 30 yards, not allowing BYU to cash in on the turnover.

Mississippi State went 70 yards down the field en route to a five-yard touchdown rush for a final score of 35-10.

The Cougars continue their two-game road stretch at East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. ET. That game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network with radio broadcasts on KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).

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Kristen Kerr | Posted: 9 Oct 2017 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Kristen Kerr

BYU travels to take on Mississippi State


PROVO, Utah – BYU football travels to Mississippi State on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 11:00 a.m. CDT, which will be televised nationally on the SEC network.

Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143 KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and It will begin at 9:00 a.m. CDT.

BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 10:00 a.m. CDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.

BYU (1-5) at Mississippi State (3-2)
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017             
Kickoff: 11:00 a.m.
Starkville, Miss.
Davis Wade Stadium (61,337)

BYU Game Notes

Mississippi State Game Notes


A LITTLE MORE COWBELL. BYU and Mississippi State are meeting for the fourth time in the history of the two programs. BYU holds a 2-1 edge after last season’s 28-21 double overtime victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium. In the only other matchup in Starkville, BYU defeated the Bulldogs 41-38 in 2001 on a game-winning field goal from Matt Payne. Current Cougar running backs coach Reno Mahe had 10 receptions, 189 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

ONE MISSISSIPPI, TWO MISSISSIPPI. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are the only two SEC teams BYU has defeated on the road. The Cougars currently have a .500 record against current SEC teams at 6-6.

TEAMS COMING OFF A BYE. Mississippi State is coming off a bye week just like Boise State was last week when the Cougars faced them. BYU also hosts San Jose State later this season after the Spartans are coming off of their bye. The Cougars were in a similar situation in 2016 and went 2-1 against teams coming off of bye weeks (West Virginia, Toledo, UMass).

INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN. BYU’s trip to Starkville is the first of back-to-back long road trips for the Cougars. As the crow flies, the trip to Mississippi State will be 2,706 miles total (round trip), while BYU’s trip to Greenville, North Carolina next week racks up 3,798 round-trip miles. Combined, that’s 6,504 miles. By comparison, Mississippi State’s longest road trip this season is a round trip of 978 miles and Alabama’s entire schedule away from Tuscaloosa adds up to 2,329 miles (round trip). With six road games and one neutral site, BYU will accumulate about 17,246 miles of travel during the regular season.

ROUGH PATCH. This is the first time BYU has lost five-consecutive games since the 1970 season. A win over the Bulldogs would avoid BYU dropping to 1-6, a start the team hasn’t experienced since 1968 when the team won the first game and then lost seven in a row, falling to 1-7.

HONORING LAVELL. Legendary hall of famer and beloved head coach at BYU for 29 seasons, LaVell Edwards, passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. The always steady and humble coach will be honored in several ways throughout the season, including the team wearing a uniform patch featuring his classic stoic profile he displayed for decades on the Cougar sidelines.

The following quotes are from BYU’s post-practice media availability on Monday:

Head coach Kalani Sitake (Video)
It’s disappointing, and we have to move on and get to work. We have to figure out a way to get this thing turned around and try to get that done.

The offense
On offense, we have to be consistent this week. I don’t blame the players — they give us all the effort, so us as coaches have to get it done.

All that matters is what we do in the games. What we’ve done in practice is promising. But we have to do it in the games and make it work.

What Tanner (Mangum) did for us first quarter was really good, but we need to be consistent as a group.

We need to see consistency from all positions, but quarterback is most important to us right now.

I’m involved with the offense. It’s on me — the offensive issues are my fault. I’m in there trying to get it fixed. It is costing us on our other two phases.

We have to establish a physical run part in the offense. Our goal is to be balanced, but right now we aren’t doing anything well.

Mississippi State
The quarterback has another year under his belt, especially in the run game. They’ve had some great success with him running behind center. It will be a good time for our guys to go and get some reflection on who we are as a team.

Senior defensive lineman Kesni Tausinga (Video)
Losing hurts. It’s tough. We put so much into it. We worked hard all the offseason and we played a hard game with a lot of effort, but there were just too many mistakes and our team feels that. We’re not playing up to our potential, we’re making a lot of mistakes and we’re a better team than what our record shows. I feel once we start correcting those things, they will start showing up.

For me, I’m a senior and this is my fourth year, this is the toughest season that I have ever had. You want to see the guys that are making mistakes correct those things, but that’s part of football. We have a lot of young guys playing and even some of us veterans are making a lot of mistakes. We want to see guys turn it around and we’re are doing our best every week in practice, but it just hasn’t been showing up on the field. I know our coaches have been putting in a lot of work and have been busting their buts to fix those little things, but I think the players need to take a lot of responsibility and take the coaching to heart and do it.

Stopping the run game
When we watch the film, it is always just one person or one little mistake. As a whole, we are doing pretty good, but if one person messes up there is a gap or a crease for them to run in. I feel like we are getting better and better as a defensive line, so we just all need to be consistent together. I think once we can put it together a consistent effort it will all show up.

Mississippi State
I think it’s going to be a great challenge. I always love going against good opponents like the SEC teams and the Power 5 teams because it gives us an opportunity to test our skills. Last year, we had a great game with them. Playing against Mississippi State was one of the most memorable games I have had and I think we are looking for another fight this week, similar to the one we had last year with them. They have a great quarterback and a good O-line. Our main goal is to shut down their quarterback. He is their leading rusher and I think the biggest challenge for us is to contain him.

Junior running back Trey Dye (Video)
Our offense isn’t firing on all cylinders right now and we’re going back to square one. There’s still a lot of football left this season. We’re focusing on fundamentals right now.

As the game goes on, we get more into hurry-up offense type of situations and we’re going to want to a running back who can catch the check downs. I feel that’s a role Coach Detmer feels comfortable having me in. I need to continue utilizing the opportunities I receive and make plays. On offense, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done up to this point. It’s going to come down to who’s making plays and who’s going to continue to make plays.

There is a sense of urgency for everybody right now and everybody is eager to get out there, make plays and get better. As an offense, we did that. Everyone came in with the mindset of wanting to do better. I can sit here and talk about it all I want, but if it doesn’t show up on game day, then it really doesn’t matter.

Sophomore defensive back Troy Warner (Video)
It’s tough. It’s never easy to lose a game and obviously, it’s never easy to lose five in a row, but I think our mindset right now is to continue to get better and prepare for the next opponent. You have to forget about the loss and move on, so that’s what we’re doing.

Mississippi State
I think it’s exciting. Playing an SEC team is a great opportunity to go out and make a statement. Even though we’re going through a hard time right now, I think it’s a great chance to show people that we can win games this year.

They’ve got some athletes so it’s going to be tough but I think we’ll be well-prepared.

Thoughts about the defense
I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to hold our own. Offense is going through some struggles right now but it’s important for us to hold up our end because we’re definitely capable of shutting teams out. Really what it comes down to is missed assignments and lack of focus here and there but the biggest thing is for us to continue to do our job."

Attitude towards the offense
I just feel like if we’re frustrated, it’s not going to help anything. We’ve got to stay positive and be positive on the sideline too if offense isn’t doing well because any type of negativity or any sign of frustration with the offense isn’t going to motivate them. We’ve just got to continue to motivate them and help get them on the right track and do what we can.