When the Brigham Young Cougars take the field Saturday to play the Oregon State Beavers, head coach Bronco Mendenhall won’t be the only one going against his former team. Linebacker Uani Unga spent the first two seasons of his college career in
wearing Beaver black and orange.
While this will be Mendenhall’s third encounter with the school he first played for and then helped coach, Unga is strapping it on for the first time. He transferred to BYU following the 2010 season, which made him ineligible for the 2011 season. When BYU went to
to play the Beavers last October, Unga had to watch from the stands.
Although Unga would be eligible this season, there were no guarantees that he would get to play against his former teammates, including twin brother Feti. In fall camp, Uani Unga faced a stiff battle with Zac Stout for the back up linebacker position behind Uona Kaveinga. Fast forward six games and Unga has appeared in all six BYU games and made 12 tackles.
As the game with
approached, it seemed that Unga
has been priming himself for a big game. Two of his most impactful plays have
come in the last three games. Against Oregon
State , Unga made two tackles on the
same fourth quarter series as BYU was trying to mount a comeback. His second
tackle was for a one-yard loss on 3rd down and 1, which forced Boise
State to punt. Boise
had one last chance to mount a comeback. The Aggies had taken over at their
six-yard line with to play. They
quickly picked up two first downs and were out to the 31-yard line. That is
when Unga halted the Aggies’ momentum. He rushed the passer on a delayed blitz and
sacked the quarterback for a 9-yard loss. Two plays later, Utah State faced 4th and 11
and had to punt with just to
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