Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Big Win Over Boise State

Nov 5, 2022, 8:37 PM
BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua (Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

BOISE, Idaho – The BYU Cougars defeated the Boise State Broncos on the road and moved within a game of bowl eligibility.

The Broncos hosted the Cougars at Albertsons Stadium on Saturday, November 5.

BYU defeated Boise State, 31-28. The victory snapped the program’s four-game losing streak.

Here are my instant takeaways from the Cougars’ first win since September 29.

Puka Nacua is at Austin Collie’s doorstep for the greatest BYU receiver ever

BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua is a generational talent in BYU’s history.

Austin Collie is the best receiver in BYU history in my opinion, but Nacua’s play as of late continues to make a compelling case for being right there with Collie.

The concentration by Nacua on that 4th down touchdown grab on the six-yard line was next level.

Whenever Nacua touches the ball, he makes something special happen. Also, his route running can turn anyone inside and out. He had another 100-yard receiving night tonight, his third century-mark performance in the last four games.

False starts stalled drives

BYU’s offensive line was down star right tackle Kingsley Suamataia and entering the game, Boise State was No. 1 nationally in causing false starts per game. With that said, BYU’s offensive line has to be more disciplined.

On a fourth down attempt from the Boise three yard-line, right up against the south endzone of Albertsons Stadium barreling down on them, Connor Pay didn’t hear the snap count. All of the linemen moved and there was no snap. It ended up being a good thing as BYU then had to settle for a field goal and get points.

But the uncharacteristic mistakes along the line are becoming too common for this group. That needs to improve.

Don’t put things in the hands of refs

Last play of the second quarter, BYU running back Lopini Katoa’s run up the middle appeared to be good for a touchdown. Referees called him short and then said, “play call stands.”

I understand being upset about the call by the refs. The run looked to be in and should have been a touchdown. But the issue is that it got to a referee’s decision. Katoa up the middle on fourth down did not work earlier in the game. Initially, BYU looked to be changing up the personnel on fourth down as they lined up with Puka Nacua and Masen Wake in the backfield before Andy Avalos called a timeout.

Where’s a fullback? What about Hinckley Folau Ropati? Quick screen to Puka Nacua? What about Jaren Hall?

The frustration is valid with the refs, but don’t put it in their hands. Boise State fans experienced it for a brief moment in the fourth quarter as the refs were consistent with their ruling. The lack of a goal line camera appeared to be an issue again, but the difference is that Boise had another opportunity to punch it in. They did one play later with a power package.

Hinckley Ropati put together the best game of his BYU career

When Ropati arrived at BYU in 2020 as a JUCO transfer, he was well on his way to being the second-string running back behind Tyler Allgeier. Then he suffered an ACL injury in fall camp that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Ropati made a cameo against Notre Dame, where he got one carry, and it resulted in a fumble.

With Chris Brooks and Jackson McChesney out with injuries, BYU’s running back depth has evaporated. After Lopini Katoa, Ropati emerged as BYU’s number two option against Boise State. The former JUCO transfer made the most of his opportunity and delivered a 48-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

BYU’s defense has their shining moment

The embattled BYU defense got their shining moment of the season by stopping Boise State on 4th & 8 with a pass breakup by Jakob Robinson.

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch and his BYU sports coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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