GREENVILLE, N.C. (ABC4 Sports) – The abyss continues to grow for the BYU football team, with no end in sight.
East Carolina, which came into the game with the worst defense in college football and just one victory, easily held off the Cougars at home Saturday night, 33-17.
The loss is BYU’s 7th in a row, matching its longest losing streak since 1955, when the Cougars dropped eight straight.
Tanner Mangum completed 26 of 41 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns passes to Micah Simon and Matt Bushman, but BYU struggled in the red zone, scoring on just two touchdowns.
East Carolina came into the game giving up an average of 50 points per game, but held the Cougars to just 17.
Backup quarterback Gardner Minshew threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and Jake Verity nailed four field goals as East Carolina pulled away to snap a three-game skid.
Minshew connected with Trevon Brown for a 26-yard score, hit Quay Johnson for a 9-yard TD and finished with 121 yards on 6-of-9 passing.
Verity made field goals of 42, 42, 32 and 33 yard for the Pirates (2-6). East Carolina starter Thomas Sirk completed 14 of 21 passes for 177 yards and also ran for 25 yards and a score.
Devon Grayson had 10 catches for 164 yards for the Pirates.
BYU had to play much of the second half without top defensive back Troy Warner, was was seen on crutches after a foot injury.
Aleva Hifo led the Cougars in receiving with career highs in catches with 9 and receiving yards with 148. Ula Tolutau led BYU on the ground with 62 yards rushing on 15 carries.
The loss assures that BYU will not get an automatic bid to a bowl game. The Cougars will have to win its final five games in order to be considered for a bowl game.
BYU next hosts San Jose State October 28th at LaVell Edwards Stadium.