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BYU football: Cougars digging the long ball

Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Micah Simon pulls in a touchdown pass with San Jose State Spartans cornerback Andre Chachere defending during NCAA football in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.
Ravell Call, Deseret News

PROVO — The first play for the BYU offense during its 41-20 win over San Jose State was a 45-yard strike over the top of the defense from quarterback Tanner Mangum to speedy wideout Jonah Trinnaman. Although Trinnaman lost his footing, the completion set a good tone early while working to perhaps soften up the Spartans' coverage.

"Right away, setting that energy and that tone — it was huge," Mangum during Monday's press conference. "And, yeah, it softened up the defense a little bit and then we were able to take advantage of some of the openings they were giving us, and some of the softer coverage."

Soft coverage isn't something the Cougar offense has seen much this season, due to a conservative offensive approach that hasn't been able to stretch the field effectively against most opposing defenses.

"Those are explosive plays that hurt a defense," said BYU tight end Matt Bushman. "That's what we need to do the rest of this season — just make big plays and identify when we can take those shots."