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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Sibling rivalry

By Liz Frome

Utah senior defensive tackle Kenape Eliapo will go head-to-head with his younger brother Saturday when the Utes take on San Jose State in their second game of the season.

“I never thought ever in my life this was going to happen and now it’s here,” Eliapo said.

“My whole family, they’re all stoked and everyone is excited for this game.”

Ailao Eliapo, a junior offensive guard for the Spartans, is two years younger than Kenape, but is the bigger of the two. At 6 feet 2 inches, he stands 2 inches taller than Kenape and weighs in at 320 pounds; 20 more than his brother.

Ailao originally joined San Jose State as a defensive lineman and also played as a running back when the Spartans took on Fresno State in October 2007. He moved to his current position midway through the 2007 season and is now a solid starter at right guard for San Jose State. He was the only lineman to start in all 12 games last year.

“I know he’s going to bring his A game,” Kenape said. “He’s a respected player, he’s a good player. I’ll have to step up my game for his game, especially in front of the family.”

Kenape Eliapo had an unfortunate injury last year that cost him a lot of playing time. He started in the Utes’ first game of the season against Michigan, but broke his foot and was out for the next seven games. He came back and played a little in the remaining four games, increasing his play time in each. He was back to his starting position for the Sugar Bowl against Alabama. He was credited with three tackles and an 11-yard sack that stopped Alabama from converting on a third down deep in Utah territory. He was named Utah’s Defensive Comeback Player of the Year for the 2008 season.

Ailao Eliapo is a justice studies major at San Jose State, and Kenape is studying economics at the U. The two graduated from South San Francisco High School in California, where they grew up. Even though the two brothers will be playing against each other, they will have their own personal cheering section.

“We’ve got over 300 people that will be over at the game,” Kenape said. “It’s going to be a blast.”

Kenape Eliapo and the Utes will be looking to extend the nation’s longest winning streak a little further Saturday, this time to 16. The Utes beat Utah State 35-17 in their season-opener at home.

San Jose State had a rough first game of the season, losing by a crushing 56-3 against USC. Saturday’s game against the Utes will be the Spartans’ first home game of 2009. They will undoubtedly be looking to bounce back from their big loss and give the Utes a run for their money.

Regardless of the outcome, the fans can expect to see exciting things when the brothers line up across from each other.

“It’s just amazing to get right down on him,” Kenape said. “You rarely see that8212;where two linemen go at it the whole game, so we’ll have to give them a show.”
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPNU.

Tyler Cobb

The Utes? Kenape Eliapo and the Spartans? Ailao Eliapo will be in each other?s faces all night on Saturday in San Jose.

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