BYU Football: How to Cook Kalani Setaki Bronco in Boise State | Opinion

Kalani Sitake served the Cougar Nation a five-star meal over the weekend representing the four food groups of football — attack, defense, special teams and training — and they ate it like an early Thanksgiving.

The feast looked and tasted similar to Sitake’s posed against Baylor in September, but Saturday’s show was made using ingredients that weren’t on the table when “Bear” was on the menu.

BYU took the field in Boise as 812– Weak point with 12 different starters from the group that cut No. 9 Baylor 26-20 in double overtime on Sept. 10. Whether it’s from injury or performance, the fix is ​​amazing.

Malik Moore, Kaleb Hayes, DeAngelo Mandell and Ammon Hannemann have anchored the high school against the Bears while Jacob Robinson, Micah Harper, Talan Alfrey, and Gabe Judy-Lally start their places in Boise State — with no one older than a sophomore from Little Red Riding Hood.

Max Tully, Payton Welgar, and Keenan Bailey started as quarterback against Baylor. On Saturday, the Cougars rolled Ben Bywater, Baby Tanovasa, and Bailey.

The changes in crime were just as important. Chris Brooks, receivers Cody Epps and Chase Roberts, and offensive lineman Kingsley Samataya started against the Bears.

Roberts rigged at Baylor High School for eight receptions for 122 yards and touchdowns. Epps was BYU’s leading receiver before losing for the season with a shoulder injury at Liberty, and Brooks remains the leading rider despite losing the last two games.

At Boise, those four in the starting lineup were replaced by Boca Nacoa, Keanu Hill, Lubini Katwa and Joe Tokwavu.

One wonders how any recipe can undergo so many changes in ingredients and turn into a familiar and pleasant flavor?

I trust the chef.

Given the changes, losing streak, dissatisfied customers, Boise State’s advantage on their ground, and the Broncos’ defense that has been statistically proclaimed among the best in the country, Saturday may have been Sitake’s best hour.

He scored a win that could potentially save the season.

Garen Hall and Cougar collected 532 yards of attack against the second-placed Boise State (6-3) defense allowing 232. As he struggled to score in the first half, BYU finished 31 points against a defense that only had an average of 17.4 for each game.

The Cougars rolled for 27 first defeats against a team that was only allowed 11 (No. 1 in FBS) and BYU controlled the possession time by 12 minutes.

Defensively, with Sitake calling for plays, the Cougars held the Boise State in four of 10 third-down transfers. They contained the Broncos’ ground attack, including an elusive quarterback, to 104 yards and most importantly, BYU did not allow any Boise State points from a Hall intercept.

On the specials, Ryan Rehkow used his only bet to pin the Broncos inside their 4-yard line and Jake Oldroyd was perfect with four extra points and a field goal.


BYU running back Hinckley Ropati holds the ball for a 48-yard touchdown against Boise State Saturday, November 5, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. BYU won 31-28.

Steve Conner, news agency

Sitake and his staff called for the right plays at the right time, including a screen pass to Hinckley Ropati that rarely turned into a 48-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Offensive coordinator Aaron Rodrik got the same play in the BYU final drive and Ropati raced 29 yards to Boise 7 with less than four minutes remaining.

Although Saturday’s feast was far from perfect, it was good enough to fill the belly of an anxious team that underperformed in four games and fill the stomach of a fan base that can barely stand the month of October.

More importantly, the victory boosted BYU’s (5-5) appetite for more. A win over Utah Tech (3-6) on November 19 (1:30 p.m. on BYUtv) will make the Cougars bowl eligible before their Thanksgiving weekend showdown at Stanford.

Motivation to heal, practice, go back to the kitchen and cook something else has been restored for Sitake. And unlike most chefs who prefer to keep their secret ingredients a secret, Sitake is completely transparent about it.

“He’s one of the best players in college football,” he said, after Nacua won a game and possibly saved the season that helped the chef deliver Thanksgiving early to the Cougar Nation.

Dave McCann is a contributor to Deseret News, studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day”, “The Post Game Show” and “After More Review” and stage host for BYUtv. He is also a co-host of “Y’s Guys” in


BYU’s wide receiver Puka Nacua works with the ball after a reception against Boise State Saturday, November 5, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. “He’s one of the best players in college football,” says BYU coach Kalani Sitake of the Distinguished Receiver.

Steve Conner, news agency

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