BYU football: The pressure is on for Tanner Mangum

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

After a strong year a season ago, things won’t get easier for BYU football and quarterback Tanner Mangum.

After finishing 2016 with a rather impressive 9-4 record, BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake and his now second year staff, are ready to take on the gauntlet that 2017 presents to their Cougar squad. And who better to lead that squad, than the (finally) starting quarterback, Tanner Mangum.

The Stats Don’t Lie

The Idaho native, Tanner Mangum, started 12 of 13 games in the 2015 season as a freshman. While throwing 23 touchdowns and completing 60 percent of his throws, he capped off the year with 3,377 passing yards – 259.7 yds. per game – setting what is now the BYU freshman record. Recognizing the talent that BYU football was up against in 2015, those are impressive freshman numbers.

It has been said that the young quarterback became an instant BYU football legend, while exciting expectations for the remainder of his time in Provo.

With the final return of the dual-threat Taysom Hill in 2016, the only playing time Mangum saw was a small portion toward the end of the season – including the entirety of the rainy Poinsettia Bowl game against the Wyoming Cowboys – which was not enough to give us full perspective, but enough to remind us of the talent this offense has been missing out on.

Is it Enough?

Similar to 2016, the high intensity is brought early on as the Cougs compete with LSU, Utah, Wisconsin, Boise State, and Mississippi State within the first half of the season. So, how well does Tanner “Miracle Man” Mangum match up?

*Passing Yards Allowed

LSU – 193 yds. – 18th

Utah – 272 yds. – 115th

Wisconsin – 202 yds. – 26th

Boise State – 213 yds. – 40th

Mississippi State – 266 yds. – 110th

*Opponents Completion Percentage

LSU – 53.8% – 16th

Utah – 55.2% – 28th

Wisconsin – 52.5% – 11th

Boise State – 60.6% – 84th

Mississippi State – 61.9% – 103rd

*End of 2016 Season per game results and national rank

Tanner compares well to the numbers of the opposing defenses ahead. Strictly speaking about the passing efficiency that he brings to the table, the offense he will lead may have what it takes to keep up with the competition.

The Need for a Great Quarterback

It is difficult for an independent team like BYU football to have any national relevance if the majority of the big games cannot be won.

Key to the Cougars success in the past has always been a sound offense, and more specifically a constant flow of prolific quarterbacks. Mangum has some notable wins under his belt, and has given us strong reason to believe that he is the guy.

Until the boys in blue take the field in August, Cougar fans will continue to share the same anxiety. Will Mangum live up to the expectations and excitement that 2015 set? Will he produce in the big games? Only game day may truly answer those questions, and hopefully put our worries to rest.