DALLAS (FWAA) – BYU free safety Kai Nacua picked off three passes, the last of which sealed the Cougars’ second dramatic final-minute win in as many weeks, as BYU rallied to beat Boise State, 35-24. Nacua’s interception total tied the school record, and earned him the AutoNation FWAA Defensive Player of the Week honor.
Each of Nacua’s three interceptions played a key role in the game, but the one that will be remembered most was the third, which he snagged at midfield with 30 seconds remaining and returned for a touchdown only moments after a long touchdown pass had given BYU a 28-24 lead.
The first pick for Nacua, a 6-2, 213-pound junior from Las Vegas, came at the BYU one-yard line late in the first quarter to kill a Boise State drive. The second set up BYU’s third touchdown that sliced Boise State’s lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter after he returned the interception 26 yards to the Broncos’ 12.
Nacua was suspended for BYU’s first game and did not play in the Cougars’ win at Nebraska. Against Boise State, he also had five tackles (four unassisted) and a pass breakup. The three interceptions tie BYU’s single-game record held by Tyson Smith against Wyoming in 2000.
“It’s great to have Kai Nacua back. He changed the game,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “The range he covers and the plays he makes, that’s really who he is. I’m really excited for him, regarding all the scrutiny he’s been under. For him to be able to come out and play that way, it’s fitting. It shows who he is and how he’s worked so hard to be back on our team.”
2015 AutoNation FWAA Defensive Players of the Week
• Week of Sept. 5: Karl Joseph, West Virginia
• Week of Sept. 12: Kai Nacua, BYU