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Puka Nacua Receives High Praise From Sitake After BYU’s Upset Over BSU

Nov 5, 2022, 10:38 PM | Updated: 10:39 pm

Puka Nacua, BYU Football, Boise State...

BYU coach Kalani Sitake called wide receiver Puka Nacua one of the best players in college football after the win over Boise State. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

BOISE – BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua is the guy that took Kalani Sitake’s message of “fight or flight” to heart during the four-game losing streak.

 

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After the loss to Liberty, Nacua gave a speech to his teammates to keep pushing through. The fight from Nacua has been a tone-setter or a rallying cry for a BYU team that was reeling entering the Boise State game.

Puka Nacua finished with 14 receptions in the win over Boise

Nacua, who is always full of energy, backed up his words with a massive game on The Blue against Boise State as BYU upset the Broncos, 31-28.

The former Orem High star had 15 touches on the game and was targeted 19 times through the air by quarterback Jaren Hall. But no catch from Nacua’s 14 receptions was more impressive than on 4th & Goal from the Boise six-yard line. Hall tossed the fade to Nacua and No. 12 did the rest coming up with a juggling catch and was still able to keep his feet down.

The catch gave BYU their first victory since September 29. It also put BYU back at 5-5 and likely secured they will be going to a bowl game this season.

“One of the best players in college football”

After the game, Sitake, who has dealt with some hard-hitting questions during the losing streak, enjoyed the celebratory press conference. However, he made sure to highlight his star receiver.

“He’s one of the best players in college football,” said Sitake to reporters after Saturday night’s win.

Nacua finished the game with 157 receiving yards against a Boise State defense that boasted the number-one pass defense in the nation. His 14 receptions were tied with Jay Miller, Phil Odle, and Reno Mahe for the third-most receptions in a single-game by a BYU receiver.

Sitake continued, “He attracts so much attention that it opens it up stuff for everybody else. … Him relishing his role opens it up for [Brayden] Cosper and for Keanu [Hill] and you know, for Chase [Roberts] and all the others.”

Jaren Hall shares his thoughts on Puka

The man passing Nacua the ball, Hall, agrees with Sitake’s assessment of being one of the nation’s top players.

“I’ve always known that. One of the best players in college football, hands down, he does it all. There’s nothing he can’t do,” Hall said.

What does Nacua think of Sitake’s comments?

“I still got a lot to prove. There are a lot of blocking plays where I didn’t. And there are a lot of routes where I could have done a lot better, but we won the game, and that’s the end objective,” said Nacua. “Whatever our team needs me to do, I’ve got to continue to be better. But it was fun to play out there. Every time the ball comes my way, it’s my job to make plays in the run game or the pass game.”

He’s a humble guy. But his game on the field is anything but humble. And that was again on display in the win over Boise State.

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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Puka Nacua Receives High Praise From Sitake After BYU’s Upset Over BSU