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Kalani Sitake: BYU’s Late Indy Bowl Fumble Was Reviewed By Officials

Dec 18, 2021, 6:26 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm
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SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 18: Head Coach Bill Clark of the UAB Blazers shakes hands with Kalani Sitake of the BYU Cougars after the game during the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Blazers defeated the Cougars 31-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

SHREVEPORT, La. – BYU football came up short in the 2021 Independence Bowl to UAB, 31-28.

Late in the 4th quarter on a completion from quarterback Baylor Romney to wide receiver Samson Nacua, Nacua fumbled the football, giving possession back to the Blazers. It was BYU’s lone turnover of the day in the soggy conditions.

On the replay screen at Independence Stadium and on the ABC broadcast, it raised questions if Nacua caught the football. During the television timeout, there was confusion about whether the fumble was reviewed at all. As the play likely would decide the outcome. According to BYU coach Kalani Sitake, the fumble earned a second look from officials.

“They said they reviewed it, they were reviewing it during that time [refs] said he fumbled it,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

Nacua played in the final game of his collegiate career on Saturday night in Shreveport. A graduate transfer from Utah, Nacua brought a swagger and confidence to the BYU football team that had been lacking in previous years. Sitake wants the older Nacua brother to hold his head high for what he meant to BYU football.

“No one feels worse than Samson right now, but we love that kid,” Sitake said. “He’s a big part of our program a big part of our family. We forgive him, it’s OK. The game is full of a lot of little plays like that but it did come to that one play. There was a lot of little plays that happened and there’s a lot of guys in that locker room that are feeling bad, but they’re going to have to pick themselves up and get better. Unfortunately for some of the guys like Samson, the college career ends now. He’s a strong kid and he’ll get better from it, he’ll learn and he will have a chance to play at the next level.”

Nacua finished his one season at BYU with 19 catches for 290 yards and three touchdowns.

After the game, Nacua was seen hi-fiving BYU fans who made the trip to Shreveport to see their team one last time in 2021.

BYU concludes the 2021 season with a 10-3 record.

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

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Kalani Sitake: BYU’s Late Indy Bowl Fumble Was Reviewed By Officials