BOISE — Senior quarterback Tanner Mangum’s BYU career is coming to a close on the same field where his football career began as a youngster.
The Cougars meet Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Friday afternoon at Albertsons Stadium.
“It feels a little surreal. That’s where the journey started,” said Mangum, who hails from Eagle, Idaho. “In Little League football, when I was 8 years old, the opening game was a scrimmage on the blue turf. It’s come full circle. It’s good to be home in a place that I love, Boise, and close to family. It’s fitting that I get to finish (in Boise). I’m just looking forward to finishing strong and finish on a high note.”
As a freshman in 2015, Mangum was the starting quarterback in a 35-28 loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. In 2016, Mangum led the Cougars to a 24-21 win over Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl in his only start that year as he replaced an injured Taysom Hill.
A year ago, BYU didn’t go bowling.
“A win in a bowl game means a lot. It gives you a lot of momentum,” said Mangum, who backs up freshman starter Zach Wilson. “A 7-6 record feels a lot better than 6-7. That’s what we’re going for. We want to finish with a victory so we can go into the offseason and continue to build for next year.”
As he reflects on his career, Magnum focuses on gratitude.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to play at BYU. It hasn’t always been perfect,” he said. “I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs and I’ve made lifelong friends and I’ve had memorable experiences that I’ll carry with me forever.”
PULSIPHER HONORED: The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl honored BYU’s Adam Pulsipher and Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan with the game’s annual Humanitarian Awards for service to their respective communities.
Pulsipher was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which honors the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. The senior linebacker has played in 43 games during his BYU career, including all 12 this season. Pulsipher graduated with a degree in finance prior to his junior season and is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. He was a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree.
Pulsipher served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancagua, Chile. He has also volunteered in Tonga as a dental assistant and helped deliver medical supplies for the government hospital. He also volunteers his time to provide tutoring in multiple academic disciplines at the Boys & Girls Club, as well as organizing hospital visits for the Cougar football team. He is the co-chairman of BYU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
BAND OF BROTHERS: BYU has seven sets of brothers on this year’s roster, more than any other school — Brayden and Bracken El-Bakri; Kyle and Hayden Griffitts; Corbin and Devin Kaufusi; Isaiah and Jackson Kaufusi; Butch and Neil Pau’u; Adam and Addison Pulsipher; and Baylor and Gunner Romney.
Gunner Romney, a freshman wide receiver, said he has enjoyed playing this season with his older brother, Baylor, a backup quarterback.
“It’s been a really cool experience. We have an even better bond than we had before,” Gunner said. “I’m at his house quite a lot. We come out and practice every day together and we run routes after practice every single day. It’s really helpful to have someone that close to be able to push you and motivate you on the same team.”