Brigham Young University
Oct 21 | 07:00 PM
17 - 33
East Carolina University
Kristen Kerr | Posted: 21 Oct 2017 | Updated: 7 Aug 2023
Kristen Kerr

Late rally not enough for BYU in 33-17 loss to ECU


GREENVILLE, N.C. – BYU fell 33-17 to East Carolina Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.


Despite a season-high 421 yards of total offense, the late offensive push wasn't enough to mount a comeback.

"We had some good moments and we had some positive yards but the scoreboard doesn’t indicate a lot of the positive things we saw," head coach Kalani Sitake said. "Now we have to rally back and find a way to keep playing and keep competing and work for the seniors for the rest of the season.”

Aleva Hifo led BYU receivers with a career-best 148 yards on nine receptions, with a long of 46. Matt Bushman and Micah Simon both recorded their first career touchdowns. Tanner Mangum finished 26 of 41 for 319 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Mangum threw for over 200 yards in the fourth quarter.

BYU had four possessions in the fourth quarter but could only find the end zone once in the final frame.

Fred Warner had a season-high 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Zayne Anderson tied his season high of nine tackles and forced a fumble.

Midway through the first quarter, Anderson forced a fumble and Adam Pulsipher recovered it. Two and a half minutes later, a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mangum to Simon capped off a five-play, 28-yard scoring drive. Kicker Rhett Almond connected on the extra point to give BYU a 7-0 advantage.

ECU equalized on its next possession as quarterback Thomas Sirk ran one yard into the end zone with 3:09 left in the quarter on fourth down to make it 7-7. 

The Pirates took the lead early in the second quarter, 10-7, after Jake Verity’s 42-yard field goal attempt bounced off the inside of the upright and in with 10:35 on the clock.

Nine plays and 70 yards later, Almond hit a 21-yard field goal to even the score 10-10 heading into halftime.

ECU extended its lead three minutes into the second half, 13-10, on Verity’s second 42-yarder of the night.

BYU’s Corbin Kaufusi got a hand on Verity’s third field goal attempt, but the 32-yard kick was still good and put the Pirates up 16-10 with 6:17 on the clock.

Near the end of the third quarter, Verity connected on his fourth field goal from 33 yards out to increase ECU’s advantage 19-10.

The Pirates went 67 yards down the field en route to a 26-yard touchdown pass for a 26-10 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

BYU drove down to the Pirate 4-yard line but stalled on fourth-down to give the ball back to the home team. 

After a defensive stop, ECU intercepted a pass from Mangum on the 12-yard line and scored two plays later, 33-10.

With 3:48 left in the game, Mangum found Bushman in the end zone on a 12-yard pass for Bushman’s first career touchdown and a final score of 33-17.

The Cougars return home to host San Jose State Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised on BYUtv and ESPN3 with radio broadcasts on KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).


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Kristen Kerr | Posted: 16 Oct 2017 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Kristen Kerr

Cougars continue road stretch at East Carolina


PROVO, Utah – BYU football continues its two-game road stretch on Saturday against East Carolina in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. EDT, which will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports 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 5:00 p.m. EDT.

BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.

BYU (1-6) at East Carolina (1-6)
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Greenville, N.C.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000)

BYU Game Notes

ECU Game Notes


SERIES NOTES. BYU and ECU are playing in football for just the second time. In 2015, ECU visited LaVell Edwards Stadium. The cougars downed the Pirates 45-38 in a fourth-quarter comeback victory. BYU has never played a football game in either of the Carolinas.

INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN. BYU’s trip to Greenville, North Carolina next week racks up 3,798 round-trip miles on the heels of last week’s trip to Starkville, Mississippi (2,706 miles) total. Combined, that’s 6,504 miles. BYU’s trip to ECU is the longest trip an FBS opponent has made to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in the program’s history. With six road games and one neutral site game, BYU will accumulate about 17,246 miles of travel during the regular season.

SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE. Both teams enter the matchup at 1-6 and have had their ups and downs this season. This is the first time BYU has lost six in a row since the 1968 season. The 1968 team dropped seven in a row, finishing the year at 2-8. ECU opened the year dropping its first three games, then picked up a win at UConn before losing three in a row entering this week’s game.

TOUGH SCHEDULE. BYU’s schedule ranks No. 16 in all of college football this season according to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin. Of the 15 teams with tougher schedules, just three have winning records (8 – Cal, 4-3, 10 – USC, 6-1, 13 – Michigan State, 5-1).

INJURY BUG. BYU has had 34 different players miss significant time with an injury this season. Of those 34, 22 have been members of the two-deep and 12 have been projected starters.

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
It’s a new week, and we are getting a new team ready for the next game. The guys are excited to play better. We’ve watched film and started making corrections after last week’s performance.

Reviewing the last game
After looking at the film, we saw breakdown and technique problems more than anything. When there are so many new bodies in there, we are limited. They tested our depth, and we have to play better.

We just did not make enough plays, and third downs cost us quite a bit. That is on the defense. We have to keep working on executing. The effort is there.

It’s never going to be perfect, but we have to create more disruption. There were times we brought some pressure and caused interceptions. If we want to see more productivity defensively, we need to create that disruption and get more pressure on the quarterback.

Temperament of coaches
The truth is the most important when coaching players. When you gain the trust of your players, it doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s true. Sometimes we have to be loud and get on people, but teaching is the most important part. We need to be real but understanding. We are all on the same page of getting things to happen right away. We have a good dynamic where we can all be open with each other.

Junior defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi
Team’s optimism
It’s been interesting week after week, especially the past five games. There is an energy this week that I could definitely feel today in practice. I think everyone has the mindset that this is a new season for us. The second half of the season is completely new and there’s nothing we can do but look forward.

Looking at game film
It’s good, to be honest, even though sometimes you’re cringing when you watch certain plays. Everything helps. If we didn’t look at the film, then we would never get better.

This was a week where we look back and we let the offense down. There is so much we could have done on defense. We need to take it upon ourselves to be much better than that.

Demanding perfection
I think Kalani demands the same perfection (as Bronco Mendenhall), but I think there are different ways of going about it. It’s more on the players than anything. All coaches are going to demand perfection, that we execute and we’re disciplined. But they all have different ways of coaching it. We as players have to put it on us to be more coachable, to be able to take whatever coaches say and do it.

Junior linebacker Butch Pau'u
After watching film, we saw problems with assignments. I blew a couple of assignments where I was supposed to blitz. I thought I had good coverage, but there were multiple times I could have made sacks. That was my fault. We need to play better as a defense and make sure our assignments are done.

They pulled me out for a couple plays because I wasn’t doing my assignments. Even when we lose, guys will be in there who can fulfill the assignment. Everyone, even my family, got on me for that.

We’ve taken the criticism well. We love knowing what we are doing wrong and how to correct it. The coaches have been correcting us since the LSU game. We’ve been hearing the same thing over and over again from our coaches, and we have to play better.

We expect East Carolina to come out and play their best. Seeing the reaction of the seniors after the last game made us realize we don’t have time left in the season to waste a game. It’s time, and we will step up this week.

It will mean the world to win this week because it will bring more motivation to come back and play. The mentality and passion is still there, but not like it was at the beginning of the season.

Freshman wide receiver Neil Pau’u
I think we did well to a certain point. Overall, we are just not finishing drives. I think during the first drive, we came out and punched them in the mouth and then we lost it somehow. As players, we are the ones that have to go out and make the corrections that we need to get done in order to get the plays moving.

Motivation from Coach Detmer
Kalani (Sitake) gives the control to the offensive coordinator Ty (Detmer) and it was good to see Ty today go off on us. I think we needed it to fire something within us. He has kind of let us be men and conduct ourselves to produce but obviously at 1-6, a little change up is necessary. Today he kind of went off on us, which was good. I respected it and listened to it. It was a good practice for us. He got more riled up and it was very necessary. The defensive is out there a ton and the offensive needs to something. I think we will respond to what Ty has asked of us.

Looking forward
The captains are reminding us that it is going to be OK. Everyone knows how hard Fred (Warner) works, as well as my brother (Butch Pau’u), Tanner (Mangum) and Tejan (Koroma). It’s not how the we wanted to start the season and we didn’t expect to lose six straight after Portland State. We’re optimistic and we think that we can pull off six straight. We know that each team is going to come hard each week, regardless of their schedule or record — they are seeking wins as well. It’s going to be a tough six games, but I think we can pull it off and rally six straight. I think that more offensive production will come this week.

They are an athletic team just after seeing film today and obviously fast. They’re 1-6 as well and they’re looking for a win to go to a bowl game, so we expect a fight. I’ve never been out there so it will be neat to be out there and eat some Southern food. We’ll leave on Thursday and that will get us acclimated a little. Then we’ll prep on Friday and on Saturday, we will be ready.