LINCOLN, Neb. -- No matter how many games Tanner Mangum plays for BYU, it will be hard for him to top what he did in his first one.
Playing in the college football cathedral that is Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, and having replaced injured star Taysom Hill early in the fourth quarter, Mangum heaved a 42-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-3 to Mitch Mathews with no time left for a 33-28 victory yesterday.
"It was a good welcome to college football," Mangum said.
The stunning last play spoiled the debut of new Nebraska coach Mike Riley.
Mathews jumped around at midfield as teammates mobbed him after the play stood up to a video review.
"Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and that's catch the rock and win the game," Mathews said. "I didn't know I scored right away because I was under a pile of people. Nick Kurtz was laying on me and was screaming."
The victory came with a heavy price. Hill suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight year. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Hill fractured a foot on a 21-yard touchdown run in the first half. He went to the locker room and missed two plays before returning, then left again after getting hit hard on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"The training staff said they've never seen anyone go back and play in the same game once that's happened," Mendenhall said. "He allowed us to stay within striking distance."
Making Mangum's dramatic play even more remarkable was that he returned from his two-year LDS mission in June. Mangum hadn't played in an organized football game since 2012. He finished 7-for-11 for 111 yards and is the presumed starter when the Cougars host Boise State next week.
Trevor Samson's 35-yard field goal pulled BYU within 28-27 with 7:57 left, and after Drew Brown missed a 41-yard field goal for Nebraska, the Cougars started their final drive from their own 35 with 48 seconds to play.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns, his last one going 9 yards to Trey Foster for a 28-24 lead.