BYU FOOTBALL 2017: A Historic Season

The 2017 football season is officially over for the Brigham Young University Cougars. As many other college football teams prepare for championships and bowl games, BYU is back in Provo looking forward to leaving a historic season in the past. Historic for all the wrong reasons. The Cougars recorded the worst record since 1955, finishing the season with an overall record of 4-9.

The Cougars were ranked 39th in the country (according to Athlon Sports) as they opened the season with an underwhelming 20-6 victory against FCS opponent Portland State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. 

BYU warms up at LaVell Edwards Stadium

BYU warms up at LaVell Edwards Stadium

Hoping to carry on the momentum from the Portland State win, the Cougars next travelled to New Orleans to take on No. 13 LSU in the Advocare Texas Kickoff Game. The Cougars were unable to cross the 50 yard line and fell to Tigers 27-0. It was the first time since losing to Michigan in 2015 that BYU was shut out and only the third time in 528 games since 1975 that the Cougars failed to score a single point. 

After a tough loss, BYU hoped to rebound against rival Utah. Despite a late comeback attempt, BYU ultimately lost 19-13 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Starting quarterback Tanner Mangum was injured during the final play of the game.

BYU’s daunting schedule got more daunting as No. 10 Wisconsin travelled to Provo for a Saturday afternoon game. Beau Hoge, starting in place of the injured Tanner Magnum, was unable to successfully move the ball and the offense, leading to a crushing 40-6 defeat at home. 

Desperation began to set in as the Cougars (1-3) travelled to Logan to take on in-state rival Utah State. Backup quarterback Beau Hoge recorded two touchdowns before getting injured. The Cougars were unable to maintain their lead and lost 40-24. 

A disheartened BYU squad lost the homecoming game 24-7 against the Boise State Broncos and fell to 1-5, marking the worst start to a season since 1973. Starting quarterback Tanner Mangum returned to start the game, but the cougar offense continued to struggle. 

BYU running back Squally Canada evades UMASS defenders. 

BYU running back Squally Canada evades UMASS defenders. 

BYU lost its sixth straight game of the season at Mississippi State in Starkville, falling 35-10 to the Bulldogs. For the first time since 1968 BYU lost six consecutive games.  

BYU’s troubles continued to get worse as they travelled east again to take on fellow 1-6 opponent, East Carolina. BYU gave up its seventh game of the season, losing 33-17 to the Pirates. BYU lost despite producing a season high of 421 yards of total offense. 

San Jose State (1-7) travelled to Provo to take on BYU (1-7). The Cougars snapped their 7 game losing streak, picking up just the second win of the season, defeating San Jose 41-20 at home.

BYU’s success was short-lived as it lost at Fresno State, 20-13. Starting quarterback Tanner Mangum suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. The loss marked the first time in 12 years BYU would not be eligible for a bowl game. 

In the absence of Mangum, walk-on freshman quarterback Joe Critchlow led the Cougars to a 31-21 victory over UNLV in Las Vegas. Junior running back Squally Canada ran for 213 yards, the 10th best single game rushing record in BYU history. 

After an encouraging performance, the Cougars looked to finish strong with a win over UMASS on BYU’s senior night. However, BYU lost 16-10 behind an offense that continued to struggle. 

Head coach Kalani Sitake addressing the team. 

Head coach Kalani Sitake addressing the team. 

The Cougars ended the season on a positive note, defeating the Rainbow Warriors in Hawai’i, 30-20. The offense found success and recorded a season high 285 rushing yards. 

BYU ended the season ranked 113 out of 130 (according to Athlon Sports). Head coach Kalani Sitake announced offensive coordinator and Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer has been relieved of his duties. BYU football has hired LSU run game coordinator and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes to take over play-calling duties for the Cougars. 


The last time BYU football lost 9 games was 1955. Here's what was happening:

  • Rosa Parks refuses to give up seat on bus
  • Salk's Polio vaccine safe and effective in the U.S.
  • The President was Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Disneyland opens its doors
  • First McDonalds opens in California
  • James Dean killed in car accident
  • The Guinness Book of World Records first publication
  • Gallon of gas: 23¢
  • Minimum wage: $1.00