The BYU Cougars played one of the toughest early-season schedules in the nation but came through it reasonably well. They sit at 5-2 currently and are favored to win every one of their games down the stretch which would give the Cougars one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. But their chances to run the table may have taken a major blow with the news that linebacker Sione Takitaki has been suspended for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules.
Takitaki has made a name for himself during his sophomore season as a disruptive defensive force. He leads the team averaging 1.17 tackles for loss per game as he’s racked up 22 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks in six games. There was no doubt he was emerging as a key part of the Cougar defense and was really starting to come into his own as a defender.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Takitaki has run into trouble this season. He was suspended for the season opener against the Nebraska Cornhuskers after he was charged in an incident in which he was accused of stealing athletic wear from the women’s soccer and track teams this past summer. On October 13, Takitaki pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft stemming from that incident which could have resulted in his current suspension.
The suspension was announced Thursday by coach Bronco Mendenhall in a news release from the school but details weren’t provided about which rules Takitaki broke or if his run-in with authorities and subsequent plea deal was a factor.
With Takitaki unavailable the rest of the season, will the BYU defense be able to pick up the slack and find another disruptive force down the stretch?