Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars running back Ula Tolutau (5) celebrates a touchdown in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.
No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) at BYU (1-2)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT LaVell Edwards Stadium TV: ABC
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
PROVO — For a BYU run game that has been floundering this season, big freshman Ula Tolutau is providing a big boost.
Tolutau’s brief and impactful performance last Saturday against Utah served as what coach Kalani Sitake called a “silver lining” in the 19-13 loss to the Utes.
Entering the game having had only one carry, the 6-foot-1, 255-pounder out of East High rushed five times for 25 yards and scored BYU’s first touchdown of the game.
“It definitely felt good to go into the game and get some touches,” Tolutau said. “It was fun, especially against Utah. It’s a rival.”
This week, Tolutau will be facing the school he originally signed with out of high school — No. 10 Wisconsin, which invades LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday (1:30 p.m., MDT, ABC).
“It’s just another game. It’s going to be a good game,” said Tolutau, who knows a few Badger players. “They’re a big, physical defense. It’s going to be a challenge and we’re up for it.”
Tolutau, who was named the Deseret News “Mr. Football” in 2013, suffered an injury early during fall camp and it’s taken a while to recover.
The Cougars are hoping for sustained production from Tolutau. It’s something the coaching staff has been eagerly anticipating for a while.
BYU running backs coach Reno Mahe was happy to see Tolutau contribute last week.
“He’s healthy enough. It was good to see different things that he was doing,” he said. “We’ve got to get him in a position to continue to be successful.”
“Ula obviously came in and provided a spark right there and we got a glimpse of what we thought we had,” said offensive coordinator Ty Detmer. “Now he’s feeling 100 percent and we can mix him in there more.”