BYU at Boise State Postgame Notes & Quotes


The following notes and quotes are from BYU’s 31-28 win over Boise State on Nov. 5, 2022.  



    • BYU has won back-to-back games at Boise State against the Broncos. The Cougars also won in 2018 in the Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Western Michigan, giving them three consecutive wins on the blue turf. 
    • The Cougars are the first team since Washington State in 1998 and 2001 to beat the Broncos in Boise in consecutive visits after BYU won in 2022 and 2020. 
    • BYU’s offense put up 532 yards of total offense on the Boise State defense. The Broncos came into the game No. 2 in total defense, allowing just 231.9 yards per game.
    • It is the most yards Boise State has given up since the season opener against UCF in 2021 (573 yards) and the most at home since 573 against BYU in 2020.
    • On defense, the Cougars allowed 324 yards to the Broncos. BYU came into the game giving up an average of 422.4 yards. The Cougars also held Boise State to 104 rushing yards, its second lowest output of the season (84 vs. UTEP).
    • BYU had eight receivers catch passes in the game. It was the first time since Wyoming (W, 38-24) that at least eight players caught a pass.  
    • BYU is 4-0 this season when leading at the end of the third quarter after taking a 17-14 edge into the fourth against Boise State.



    • Nacua had a career-high 14 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns. The 14 receptions tied Jay Miller, Phil Odle and Reno Mahe for third-most in school history for a single game.
    • His 157 receiving yards are a season high and his third 100-yard game in the last four.
    • Two receiving touchdowns also tie a career best and a season high.
    • Hall had a career-best 377 passing yards and 82 rushing yards a career-high 459 yards of total offense.
    • His four total touchdowns tie a career high, now accomplished four times.
    • Hall is the second Cougar, joining Taysom Hill with 350+ passing yards and 80+ rushing in a single game since 2000. Hill had 417 passing and 128 rushing against Houston in 2013. 
    • His 48-yard run marked a season high.
    • 42 passing attempts set a career high (41, twice) and 29 completions tied a career high (at Oregon, 2022).
    • Ropati saw his most extended action in a Cougar uniform to date, cashing in with 3 receptions, 82 yards and a receiving touchdown, adding 5 carries and 28 yards on the ground
    • His 48-yard touchdown on a screen pass was his first score as a Cougar.


  • Matt Hadley (RB/LB, 2012, 15-18)
  • Spencer Nead (TE, 2001-02)


  • Linebacker Morgan Pyper


  • Longsnapper Austin Riggs


Attendance: 36,461


  • FIRST TOUCHDOWN: Hinckley Ropati (48 yards, 4th quarter)
  • FIRST RECEPTION: Hinckley Ropati (5 yards, 1st quarter)
  • RECEPTIONS: Puka Nacua (14, previous high 8, vs. Arkansas 2022 and Virginia 2021)
  • PASSING YARDS: Jaren Hall (377, previous high 356 vs. Arkansas)
  • PASSING ATTEMPTS: Jaren Hall (42, previous high 41, twice)
  • PASSING COMPLETIONS: Jaren Hall (tied 29, at Oregon 2022)
  • FIRST FUMBLE RECOVERY: Tyler Batty (2nd quarter)
  • FIRST FORCED FUMBLE: Keenan Pili (2nd quarter)



BYU head coach Kalani Sitake

Opening comments on the game

Good game. Excited we got the win. I’m really proud of our players and thankful to our fans that came out and supported us. We can always count on them. I appreciate them, and I hope they know how much we love them and appreciate them as a team. It was a hard-fought battle with Boise State. Coach Avalos has done a great job prepping his team.

I just wanted our guys to keep fighting through it. There were plenty of mistakes made, but I think we were able to overcome it because of our belief and trust in each other. It just felt good to play football and get a win and get back to our identity of who we are. Overall, I thought it was a good game in all three phases.

On importance of getting the win

I see growth and I see progress. Regardless of the results, I have to find ways for us to improve, and I think we have improved. It’s not probably enough for people to see it, but I think sometimes success can mask some deficiencies, and I think we are on our way to fixing all of that. I’m just happy we got the win and we have just got to keep rolling.

On how impactful the defense was in how it stopped the run

Yeah, the thing I liked about the defense was the answers to the mistakes when it could have just been easy to put your head down and say, ‘Oh, no, here we go.’ Because there were some untimely mistakes with turnovers and then also not converting fourth down, but our guys they just believe in each other. We just ask them to keep working and that is how we focus as a team. I’m really happy with the leadership on the team and the coaches. These guys did a great job just sticking with it and fighting to the bitter end. 

On success of game planning for and producing so many yards against the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense

Credit to the offensive staff. Maybe the short-yardage stuff can overshadow some of the good things we did offensively, but you start to see Jaren looks really comfortable with the offense and making some good throws. We were able to get a run game established to give us some work on our play-action passes. We were able to stay balanced, that is the key. Boise State, you can see on film their defense is fantastic. We knew it was going to be a struggle and there would be some tough sledding, but you just keep sticking with it and stay aggressive and it should work out in our favor.

On how impressed he was with running back Hinckley Ropati’s performance

He was just waiting for his time, for his moment, and I think he took every advantage of it. I’m really proud of him. Throughout the time he was just waiting for his number to be called, it could have been easy for him to be discouraged, but that guy stuck with it, works hard and believes in his team, loves his role on this team, and obviously he had a much bigger role now, and I don’t know if you are going to be able to stop him from getting on the field now.

On his message at halftime with the score tied after dominating the first half

We talked about sticking with it. I think it would be easy to get down, especially after being that close to the end zone (on the last play of the half) and not converting. But I wanted to let them know we were going to keep being aggressive and playing our style of football and we will have a chance to win this game. That’s what it came down to. The leaders already started talking to the team, so there wasn’t that much I really had to add into it. I have great leaders on this team and great young men.

On his thoughts on the last play of the second quarter

I don’t know. I wasn’t able to see it. But maybe we should have a camera on the goal line at every game. That would probably be really helpful. I think for what they are seeing, they are just calling the game as how they see it. And that’s okay. I don’t have a problem with it. Obviously, I wish all the stuff went in our favor, but this ref crew did a great job communicating, and all the refs we have worked with this year have done a great job, so I have not complaints. I appreciate them explaining things to me. Even though we are not happy about it, it’s okay, we can move on, because I think they are calling it as fair as they can.

On QB Jaren Hall looking comfortable and if coaches are talking to him about extending plays more with his legs

We just want to see Jaren do his thing. I don’t think it needs me or ARod (coach Roderick) or anybody else to tell him. He knows exactly what he can do. So just letting him do it, I think that is the key. The last play going to Puka, I can’t blame him. You just have to trust him, trust the players. I think he did a great job tonight. We just need him to be himself and trust him more.

On the game-winning fourth-down touchdown play to Puka Nacua.

We had some options, but I think Jaren just took the one he liked the most, which is go to Puka.

On if it was a priority to get the ball in Puka Nacua’s hands during the game

He is one of the best players in college football, so we have to do that. He attracts so much attention that it opens up stuff for everybody else. The receivers and tight ends do a great job of blocking down field. I don’t think people understand the value of our team blocking downfield and the receivers and Puka are leading the charge. Puka relishing his role opens stuff up for Cosper and Keanu and Chase and all the others, so I’m just really happy that our offensive staff used him correctly and Jaren (was able to) spread the ball around. We kept them on their heals a little bit and we were able to play balanced football.  

On the defense turning things around from a couple weeks ago

It’s just trusting the players more and believing in them and just trying to play fundamental, sound football. That is what we are trying to do. I think we didn’t miss as many tackles as before, and I think some of the big plays happened because we missed tackles. We are going to keep working on that. We have a bye next week. We have to use that week to get better in the fundamentals and keep working hard. That is the goal.

On the emotion in locker room and what this win means for the program going forward

We are one step closer to extending the season and getting those valuable practices. That is important for us to develop our young men. Our players, when we were going through that slump, we just reminded them that winning is hard and not to ever take it for granted. So just remember this feeling, stay humble and hungry, and let’s get ready for the next one.

On if Miles Davis was banged up or just other guys were being productive

Everybody is banged up right now. We went 10 straight weeks with playing. We play our FCS team next week after the bye, so it was really rough on a lot of the guys. Not everybody is 100 percent, but we will take advantage of the next week and get closer to 100 percent and get ready for Utah Tech when they come to our senior day game.  

BYU receiver Puka Nacua

On the game-winning touchdown catch

That is a dream come true. Those are the moments that we live for. I’ve been dreaming about that stuff since I was a little kid—fourth and goal. They came to me earlier in that drive and I left Jaren (Hall) out there to dry and I didn’t make the play, the corner made a good play on the ball. But I appreciate coach ARod (Roderick) and Jaren for trusting in me. It wasn’t the best look to throw that go ball, but they threw it up to me and that’s my job to go out there and make plays and I came down with it.

On being called one of the best players in the country by head coach Kalani Sitake

I’ve still got a lot to prove. There are a lot of blocking plays where I didn’t and there are a lot of routes that I could have done a lot better, but we won the game and that is the end objective. Whatever our team needs be to do, I’ve got to continue to be better, but it was fun to play football out there. Every time the ball comes my way it is my job to make plays—in the run game, pass game, blocking, running routes, trying to score touchdowns—so that was a fun, great game of football all around for us.

On being able to re-establish the run game with Lopini Katoa and Hinckley Ropati helping the pass game

Definitely. Hinckley, that is for sure. Big-time players make big-time plays, and we see him every time in practice and he runs hard and that is what he did right there. When you have a convoy of 6-5-plus, 300-pound dudes right in front of you that’s a fun way to run the ball. When our run game works our offense looks good. We were moving the ball consistently. Short yardage was still and issue for us in the first half. But we figured out the second half and we got ourselves out of those short yardage situations, other than in the red zone, but we scored a touchdown so it all works out.