PROVO — Although junior Tanner Mangum has started 13 games during his BYU career, when the Cougars host Portland State Saturday, it will be the first time he’ll begin a season as BYU's starting quarterback.
In 2015, as a freshman, Mangum entered the game at Nebraska in relief of an injured Taysom Hill and engineered a last-second victory. Last year, Mangum served as Hill’s backup and started only one game — the Poinsettia Bowl victory over Wyoming.
Meanwhile, several other players will experience firsts Saturday.
Freshman tight end Matt Bushman is among the Cougars who will play in their first collegiate game.
“I’m really excited. I’m anxious to get out there. It’s the first game, everyone’s excited to play against another team. We’re ready to get rolling this season,” Bushman said. “It’s going to be awesome playing in front of a huge crowd. I’ve never done that before. It will be a fun experience for me. I can’t wait.”
Wide receiver Talon Shumway likes what Bushman brings to the offense.
“I don’t think it matters that he hasn’t played yet. A guy that can play, he can play,” Shumway said. “I’m excited about that. He’s going to make great plays and we’ll have a symbiotic relationship going on."
Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer knows what it’s like for newcomers like Bushman, running back Ula Tolutau and others to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium for the first time.
“That’s why you come and want to play here — to play in front of a big crowd. We have the best fans in the nation,” Detmer said. “Whether people are here watching it live or watching it on TV, it’s an opportunity to play in front of a lot of people. I’m excited for those guys to get their first action. I don’t think they’re the type of guys that get the big eyes and say, ‘Oh man, this is it.’ They’re pretty level-headed and mature for being freshmen. We expect them to go out and play and enjoy it.”
REMEMBERING THE LEGEND: BYU’s legendary coach LaVell Edwards passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. The program plans to honor Edwards throughout the season. For example, the Cougars will wear a patch of Edwards’ stoic profile on their uniforms in 2017.
It's also the 45th anniversary of Edwards' first season as BYU's head coach.
A HOMECOMING OF SORTS: Two Portland State players hail from the Beehive State.
Free safety Braxton Winterton, from Lindon, played at Pleasant Grove High while offensive lineman Tyshon Mosley is a Sandy product that played at Jordan High.
AUGUST GAMES: Saturday marks the 12th time BYU has opened a season in August. The Cougars have posted an 8-3 record in August season openers.