BYU ‘Hopeful’ RB Lopini Katoa Returns From Injury Against North Alabama

Nov 10, 2020, 11:57 AM
Lopini Katoa - BYU Football...
BYU Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Texas State Bobcats in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – During the second half of BYU’s win over Boise State on the blue turf, running back Lopini Katoa suffered an injury that put him on crutches immediately after the game.

Katoa injured his ankle against the Broncos, but the outlook is for him to return to action this season.

“If we had a game this weekend, probably not. But we’re hopeful for next week for North Alabama,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake.

That’s a positive outlook on an injury that, at the moment, looked to be a nasty injury. Katoa makes up a big portion of the one-two punch BYU has in its backfield along with Tyler Allgeier. The junior running back has rushed for 329 yards and has hauled in 15 receptions for 156 receiving yards this season. Katoa’s 329 rushing yards ranks second behind Allgeier, who has rushed for 710 yards through the first eight games.

Throughout his career at BYU, Katoa has been a touchdown machine. The American Fork native has found the end zone 22 times in his BYU career; 17 on the ground and five in the receiving game. This season, Katoa has scored eight touchdowns on the year.

The good thing for BYU is that they have a bye this weekend and then a winless North Alabama from the FCS ranks on November 21st. BYU can get by without Katoa if he needs extra time to heal from his ankle injury.

After Katoa and Allgeier, BYU has Sione Finau, the team’s leading rusher in 2019, and Swiss Army Knife Kavika Fonua. Fonua got two carries at the end of the win against Boise State after Katoa suffered his injury.

True freshman Miles Davis is another option tote the rock out of the backfield.

Lopini Katoa isn’t the only one with a positive Injury Update.

Along with Katoa, two other injured players are nearing their returns, according to Sitake. Senior safety Zayne Anderson is close to returning after suffering a sprained ankle injury against Western Kentucky. Freshman defensive end Tyler Batty is expected to play in BYU’s next game. Sitake noted on Batty, “I’d be surprised if he’s not on the field against North Alabama.”

BYU’s leader in sacks, Batty, has missed the past three games due to a lower leg injury.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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BYU ‘Hopeful’ RB Lopini Katoa Returns From Injury Against North Alabama