Noted Gonzaga-killer Corbin Kaufusi hung up his basketball shoes a couple of years ago and donned football cleats.
The former Timpview standout and BYU power forward is now a senior defensive end for the Cougars, a key contributor in the team’s stunning 24-21 upset of No. 6 Wisconsin last Saturday.
When he played hoops for Dave Rose, Kaufusi was part of three teams that beat national power Gonzaga in Spokane, including a victory on Feb. 25, 2017, that knocked the No. 1 Bulldogs from the ranks of the unbeaten.
So which win was sweeter? Taking down Gonzaga at the McCarthey Center or toppling Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium?
“Wisconsin was huge for us,” Kaufusi said. “Don’t get me wrong, Gonzaga was awesome, but (winning at Wisconsin) for the team was just incredible. So I loved that one.”
On Saturday, Kaufusi was part of defense that slowed down Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor and got stout late in the game to force a long field goal, which Wisconsin missed in the final minute. He finished with six tackles (two solo). In three games, Kaufusi is the third-leading tackler for the Cougars with 16, including a sack and two tackles for loss.
Kaufusi scored four points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot in the win in 2017 at Gonzaga. He played well defensively against the ‘Zags giant center Przemek Karnowski and had a rebound basket late in the game that was critical in the upset.
“I’ll take that one to my grave,” Kaufusi said with a grin.
Kaufusi is one of 15 former Utah Valley athletes on the current BYU football team. Former Wasatch standout Skyler Southam kicked the go-ahead field goal against Wisconsin and former Pleasant Grove star Zac Dawe, a sophomore defensive tackle, logged his first sack in the game.
“I love it, I love all the dudes,” Kaufusi said. “It’s kind of just this fun fraternity we have. Whether they’re guys from here or not from here, it’s the whole team. Because you gain such a bond with guys on the team. There are literally stories to be told about every single guy and their relationship with one another, whether from years ago or something that happened this summer that brought someone together.
“Guys are able to go in and make plays. It’s genuine happiness for someone that you care about. It’s not like I’m just genuinely happy when my brother (freshman defensive end Devin) does something good or my best friend, but literally for every guy you feel genuine happiness for.”
Kaufusi agreed Dawe’s sack celebration could use some work, though.
“That’s what happens to everyone, you do something great and you’re like ‘Wow, I can’t believe I just did that.’ You just try to get off the field without falling down, you know?”