I'm the same way, tlarimer. Mangum looks very odd out there the last three games (going back to the bowl game), and this is strange given how he was two years ago. I think it's mental. No idea why with Portland St., but he sure looked afraid to make a mistake (get sacked, throw a pick, etc.) against LSU, and I think that's why he was so far off on several passes in the middle. Hoge didn't look good when he spotted the injured Mangum two years ago. I agree that Mangum is The Guy.
I wonder how big a role Mangum's awful games in the past play in how he is in big games. The debacles against Michigan and the 1st quarter against Utah in the bowl game lead him to press too hard not to throw interceptions, and I think this hampers him. You can't be so afraid of throwing an interception that you play it too safe. Mangum, and it looks to me, Detmer, were so afraid of LSU sacking him, causing him to fumble, and intercepting him, that our passing game was designed not to make mistakes. When we couldn't run at all, the die was cast.
Part of what made some BYU greats great was that they weren't afraid to throw an interception, or that they didn't let that keep them from being aggressive. Remember how many 3, 4, 5 interception games Ty Detmer had?
What we've really been missing it seems like forever now is the feeling that we can come back from a 2, 3, 4 touchdown deficit. When we're down two scores now, it feels like the game is over. Our "chunk play" ability is non-existent. Remember some of the Detmer classics? I remember his win against Washington St. where we had to make up a big deficit. Back then, we could be down big, and feel like we could come back in the 4th quarter and make it interesting at least, but now? Does anyone have that feeling when we're down?