LOCALS IN THE NFL

Rams WR Puka Nacua Finds End Zone In NFL Preseason Debut

Aug 12, 2023, 10:14 PM

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A Los Angeles Rams helmet is shown against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua made an instant impact in his NFL preseason debut when he found the end zone for the first time as a professional.

Nacua and the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Saturday, August 12.

With 1:49 left in the first half, former Georgia quarterback and Rams rookie Stetson Bennett connected with Nacua at the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown.

Nacua’s touchdown reception gave the Rams their first points of the night and cut the Chargers’ lead to 13-7.

The Bennett-Nacua connection capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 8:02.

The Rams would end up losing to the Chargers in their preseason opener, 34-17.

Nacua finished the evening with three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.

The Rams wrap up their preseason schedule with games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos. Los Angeles hosts Las Vegas on August 19 at 7 p.m. (MDT). The Rams open the regular season on the road against the Seattle Seahawks on September 10 at 2:25 p.m. (MDT) on FOX.

About Puka Nacua

Before his college career, the Provo, Utah native played high school football at Orem High School. He finished his career with the Tigers as the owner of multiple state records.

Nacua helped the Tigers win back-to-back 4A state titles in 2017 and 2018.

After high school, the receiver attended the University of Washington and played a couple of seasons for the Huskies.

During his two years in Seattle, Nacua had 16 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

After the 2020 season, Nacua returned home to Provo and transferred to BYU. He immediately became a star for the Cougars.

In 2021, Nacua hauled in 43 receptions for 805 yards and six touchdowns. Despite battling injuries last season, Nacua recorded 48 catches for 625 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. He also ran for 209 yards and five touchdowns in his final season at BYU.

RELATED: Jets QB Zach Wilson Throws Touchdown Pass In Efficient Outing Against Panthers

Nacua finished his BYU career with a total of 91 catches for 1,430 yards and 11 touchdowns as a receiver. He added 39 carries for 357 yards and five touchdowns with his legs.

In April, the Rams selected Nacua with the No. 177 overall pick during the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Rams WR Puka Nacua Finds End Zone In NFL Preseason Debut