- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - For the third straight week, BYU was looking for a late comeback. This time, Tanner Mangum came up short.

With 2:20 left and the 19th-ranked Cougars down by one to No. 10 UCLA, Mangum had led his team on a 43-yard drive and was trying to extend it on fourth-and-7 at the Bruins 42. But his pass was intercepted by linebacker Myles Jack, effectively sealing a 24-23 loss Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

Mangum threw late touchdown passes to rally BYU in each of the previous two games. But after consecutive weeks of last-minute theatrics, the Cougars (2-1) found themselves on the other side of a close finish.

“It’s the exact opposite,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “When the highs are there, they’re really high, and the lows are really low.”

In a highly anticipated meeting of freshman quarterbacks, the 22-year-old Mangum decidedly outplayed his more touted 18-year-old counterpart, Josh Rosen. Mangum was 30 of 47 for 244 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and even added a 4-yard reception when he caught his own batted pass in the fourth quarter.

“He’s amazing,” Mendenhall said. “The game is not too big for him. Road games are not too big. Different stadiums, different teams - he’s showing a lot of command for a true freshman.”

The interception was the one major blemish in an otherwise impressive performance.

“He’s going to make mistakes. We’re all going to make mistakes,” receiver Mitchell Juergens said. “And the thing about a good quarterback is that he’s not going to get down just for making one throwaway interception. He’s a champion, he’s a leader, he’s a captain, and he’s going to come back from this.”

Adam Hine rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown for BYU, which dropped to 1-6 against top-10 teams under Mendenhall.

Nate Starks scored on a 3-yard run with 3:25 remaining, and Paul Perkins rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown to rally UCLA (3-0).

Rosen was 11 of 23 for 106 yards with a 19-yard touchdown to Jordan Payton early in the fourth quarter, and three interceptions.

With Rosen struggling, the Bruins’ ground game picked up the slack to maintain coach Jim Mora’s perfect regular-season record against non-conference opponents. After Rosen’s 9-yard pass to Payton to open the decisive drive, the next six plays were all runs by Perkins and Starks to set up the winning score.

Starks ripped off gains of 31 and 22 yards on consecutive carries before scoring two plays later. He finished with 81 yards rushing.

The Cougars frequently pressured Rosen and he threw all three picks in a miserable first half. Harvey Langi picked off Rosen at the 5-yard line to end a promising drive, and Kai Nacua came up with an interception in the end zone in the final minute of the second quarter.

That prompted UCLA to rely on Perkins to save the day. The Pac-12’s leading rusher last season set a career high on the ground, and had runs of 44 and 33 yards to set up touchdown drives before Starks delivered the final blow.

“The difference in the game was Perkins,” Mendenhall said. “I thought he was really difficult to tackle and I thought he was a catalyst for their team.”

BYU opened the game with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that culminated when Hine bounced to the outside off left tackle for a walk-in 7-yard touchdown run. UCLA linebacker Kenny Young was ejected for targeting after leading with his helmet on a sliding Mangum during the possession, and initially refused to leave the field before sprinting to the locker room.

Michael Davis recovered a surprise onside kick, and though that extra possession did not result in points, it set the tone for an aggressive first half by BYU.

Those three turnovers by Rosen and a trio of three-and-outs by the UCLA offense allowed BYU to hold the ball for 20:29. Ka’imi Fairbairn and Trevor Samson traded field goals for a 10-3 Cougars lead at halftime.

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