LOCALS IN THE NFL

NFL Pro Bowler Puka Nacua Weighs In On Big 12 Stage For BYU/Utah

Feb 4, 2024, 4:40 PM

Puka Nacua, Rams, Pro Bowl, BYU/Utah...

NFL Pro Bowl WR Puka Nacua from the Los Angeles Rams weighed in on the BYU/Utah rivalry in the Big 12. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Former BYU star Puka Nacua was busy this weekend at the Pro Bowl Games.

The rookie sensation for the Los Angeles Rams took home “Best Catch” by hauling in a pass while riding a wakeboard.

While he wasn’t riding the wakeboard, Nacua took some time to share his thoughts on his alma mater, BYU, and the renewal of their rivalry with Utah in the Big 12 Conference.

The Big 12 was on location at the Pro Bowl and asked Nacua what he thought of the “reimagined” Big 12 rivalry between BYU and Utah. Instead of a traditional regular-season finale date, the Big 12 placed BYU versus Utah on Saturday, November 9, in Salt Lake City.

Most fans were upset with the move. The always-upbeat Nacua likes the future of the heated rivalry in the Big 12.

Puka Nacua shares his thoughts on BYU/Utah in the Big 12

“I love that,” said Nacua. “I know the last time I played in the Holy War, we won it, so I mean, that’s how it’s been left off.”

Nacua and his older brother Samson Nacua were significant contributors to BYU’s 26-17 win over Utah in 2021. That was the last time the two programs faced off in football. BYU’s victory snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Utes.

Nacua continued, “So I’m sure those other guys (Utah) would love a chance to try to get a dub. But it’s gonna stay down there in Provo for a while.”

Impressions of BYU’s transition into the Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 also asked Nacua his thoughts on BYU’s transition to the Big 12 Conference.

“It’s been good. I think it’s been a good challenge for them mentally and physically,” said Nacua, who played two seasons at BYU. “But it’s been something that they’re able to step up to and they’re building and improving.”

The former Orem High star also hinted at a return to Utah County now that his first season in the NFL is over.

“I’m excited to go back and see and get to work with some of the guys. But I love what I saw [from BYU] in this first year [in the Big 12].”

Nacua finished fourth in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,486. He set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season by a rookie.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s’ coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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NFL Pro Bowler Puka Nacua Weighs In On Big 12 Stage For BYU/Utah