BYU RB Lopini Katoa Ruled Out For New Mexico Bowl

Dec 12, 2022, 9:44 PM
Lopini Katoa, BYU Football...
BYU football running back Lopini Katoa will not be playing in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
(Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football will be without Lopini Katoa in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl. The senior running back won’t play in his final game as a BYU Cougars.

Kalani Sitake announced that Katoa would be out from Saturday’s game.

“Lopini won’t be playing in this game. He’s not ready,” Sitake said.

The seventh-year head coach didn’t expound further into why Katoa being ruled out for the matchup that pits two 7-5 teams against each other in Albuquerque.

BYU career for Lopini Katoa comes to a close

Katoa, a sixth-year senior, rushed for 332 yards on 75 carries in 10 games this season. He missed the regular season finale against Stanford due to an illness and being “hurt.” Katoa hasn’t played since the first quarter of the Senior Day win against Utah Tech, where he had one carry that resulted in a fumble.

Being sidelined for the New Mexico Bowl brings the former American Fork High standout’s BYU career to an end. Katoa has been a member of the BYU program since the 2017 season. He participated in the past two Senior Day ceremonies.

Last year, at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, Katoa announced that he would return for a sixth season in BYU’s backfield.

He played for five consecutive years, from 2018 to 2022. During those years, Katoa rushed for 1,799 yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns. In addition, Katoa had 86 career receptions through the air for 803 yards and six touchdown grabs.

BYU finished with at least seven wins in each of the five seasons Katoa was a member.

Who will carry the football for BYU against SMU?

Without Katoa, the workload in BYU’s backfield will go to senior Chris Brooks. Plus, underclassmen Hinckley Ropati and Miles Davis.

The good news for BYU is that their opponent, the SMU Mustangs, has one of the worst rush defenses in college football. SMU enters the Bowl Season matchup in Albuquerque with the nation’s 121st-ranked rush defense. The Mustangs give up 203.2 yards per game. So even without Katoa, BYU should be able to run the football.


2022 New Mexico Bowl

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. (MT)


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Extended pregame begins at Noon)

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. Mitch will be in Albuquerque for the 2022 New Mexico Bowl between BYU and SMU. Follow his coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

Jeremy Mauss

Unrivaled Bold, Stupid Predictions: Zach Wilson Done With Jets, NHL To Salt Lake

One of the big predictions is that former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has played his last game for the New York Jets.
17 hours ago
Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) lays the ball up during a NCAA basketball game at the ...
Matt Baiamonte

BYU Basketball Questions Answered In Win Against LMU

Considering the circumstances of the three game losing streak, the win against LMU goes down as the best win of the season for BYU basketball.
3 days ago
BYU Basketball, LMU, Fousseyni Traore...
Mitch Harper

Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 89-61 Win Over LMU

BYU basketball rolls through LMU to return to 5-5 in West Coast Conference play.
3 days ago
Kyle Ireland

Tyler Huntley Helps AFC Take Early Lead Over Fred Warner, NFC At Pro Bowl Games

Former Utah QB Tyler Huntley helped the AFC take an early lead over former BYU LB Fred Warner and the NFC at the Pro Bowl Games.
3 days ago
BYU Football, David Latu, Signing Day...
Mitch Harper

BYU Football Recruit Announces Commitment At Father’s Grave

David Latu had one of the more emotional Signing Day announcements you'll watch.
4 days ago
BYU Football - Royal Virgil Helmet...
Mitch Harper

Former Stanford Commit LJ Martin Signs With BYU Football

BYU picked up a talented running back from Texas on Signing Day.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
BYU RB Lopini Katoa Ruled Out For New Mexico Bowl