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Provo • Defensive tackle Travis Tuiloma, one of BYU's best defensive players the past four seasons, has played his last down of college football.

The senior from Topeka, Kan., suffered a knee injury in last month's 28-27 loss to Boise State and will undergo season-ending surgery soon, thereby ending his college career. A member of the Outland Trophy and Nagurski Trophy watch lists, Tuiloma was seen before the injury as the BYU player most likely to be drafted next April.

Also Tuesday, BYU announced that sophomore defensive tackle Merrill "Meti" Taliauli will have knee surgery and is also out for the remainder of the season. A former East High star, Taliauli suffered the injury against Mississippi State on Oct. 14 and did not play against Boise State.

Tuiloma missed three games after suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in last December's bowl game, and finishes his final season with four tackles and a sack. Taliauli made seven tackles, including one for a loss.

"It's a big loss for us," linebacker Fred Warner said. "But we just got to keep our heads down and keep working and move forward."

Pau'u on the mend

Linebacker Butch Pau'u, the team's leading tackler with 60 takedowns, said Tuesday he is close to 100 percent and shouldn't be limited in Saturday's game at Cincinnati (1:30 p.m. MDT, CBSSN) like he was the past few games.

Pau'u tried to practice without the brace on his sprained left knee on Monday, but wore it on Tuesday at the request of trainers.

"It's going to be this way the rest of the year. I am going to have to play sore," Pau'u said. "After the season is done, we will get better and give it a few weeks off. … But right now, I feel fine."

Oh, Canada

It figured that Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill would lead the Cougars in rushing this season, but many believed Algernon Brown would be third on the list after the senior rushed for 731 yards on 127 carries last year.

Instead, sophomore Squally Canada has been the primary ball-carrier when Williams is hurt or needs a break. He's behind Williams (942) and Hill (372) with 212 yards on 45 carries, and had a career-high 88 yards on 21 carries while filling in for Williams against Boise State.

"The timing was a little odd because I think everyone assumed that Jamaal was going to be ready to go," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. "When we told [Canada] he was going to be the guy, he had a lot of confidence because Jamaal was there with him. So, I think he performed well, but it worked out in our favor, the way it happened. He didn't have a lot of time to think about it. … I thought he ran the ball hard and he found some open holes, even when there weren't some. He went against a great defense, but I thought he did a pretty good job."

Bye week fun

Senior linebacker Harvey Langi spent part of the bye week deer hunting with teammate Kesni Tausinga and Tausinga's cousins in Blanding. The hunting party bagged four bucks, Langi reported.

"I tried to be Ty Detmer for the weekend," Langi said. "Just a Tongan acting like I knew what to do in jeans and cowboy boots. Nah, I didn't really have cowboy boots."

Meanwhile, fellow Bingham High product Tuni Kanuch also enjoyed the bye week.

"Every day is fun with me, so I'm good," he said.

An offensive lineman, Kanuch wasn't finished describing the bye week.

"All the single players go look for girlfriends and stuff," he said. "It's a good time to kind of look at the bigger picture. Football is everything while we're playing it, but when we have time off, there is more to life."

Twitter: @drewjay —

BYU at Cincinnati

P Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT