(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Game 1: BYU Cougars at Ole Miss Rebels
BYU will play at Ole Miss on Saturday, Sept. 3 in the Cougars' season opener. Kickoff is set for 3:46 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss., on ESPN, ESPN3.com and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.
BYU (0-0) at Ole Miss (0-0)
Sept. 3, 2011
3:46 p.m. CT
For the complete BYU at Ole Miss game notes, see the attached PDF file below.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- After 918 games and and 86 seasons as a football program, BYU begins its first year as an independent program at Ole Miss on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011.
- Dating back to 1972 when LaVell Edwards became head coach, BYU is 24-15 in season openers, including a 12-4 mark at home, 10-8 on the road and 2-3 at netural sites. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is 4-2 all-time in season openers.
- BYU and Ole Miss have never played each other. The Cougars are 2-2 all-time against teams from Mississippi and 1-3 against SEC teams, earning their only win in 2001 at Mississippi State.
- The BYU offense has scored in 22-straight quarters dating back to the second quarter against Wyoming last season.
- Two members of the BYU coaching staff will be coaching their first games as Cougar assistants - running backs coach Joe DuPaix and receivers coach Ben Cahoon. DuPaix comes over after coaching at Navy while Cahoon will experience his first game ever as a coach. In addition, outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga will begin his first year on the staff after taking over as an interim coach midway through last season.
- Sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps will start a season opener for the first time in his career against the Rebels. Though he did not start, Heaps played in last year’s opener against his hometown school of Washington in Provo, throwing for 131 yards in BYU’s 23-17 victory.
The Cougars have played three SEC teams (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State). The lone victory came in a 41-38 last-second win over Mississippi State in 2001. Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley rushed for 149 yards but suffered a devastating broken leg in the last minute of play. Kicker Matt Payne came to the rescue, kicking a game-winning 25-yard field goal with the scored tied at 38 on the last play of the game.
Selected by their peers, offensive tackle Matt Reynolds and running back Bryan Kariya will serve as offensive captains, while outside linebacker Jameson Frazier and free safety Travis Uale will be defensive captains. All four captains are seniors in 2011. Reynolds will serve for the second time after being selected as a captain last season. The four captains also represent their positions on the team’s leadership council. Members of the team selected the following additional players from each position to serve on the team’s leadership council: senior Terence Brown (offensive line), senior Matt Edwards (tight ends), seniors McKay Jacobson and Spencer Hafoka (receivers), juniors Romney Fuga and Eathyn Manumaleuna (defensive line) and junior Brandon Ogletree (inside linebackers).
WATCH OUT HERE I COME
With the start of the 2011 season bringing fresh optimisim to the squad, the nation is taking notice with several players being named to watch list and preseason honors:
• Matt Reynolds
- Preseason All-American by ESPN.com, USA Today, CBSSports.com, Athlon, Lindy’s, Sporting News and Phil Steele, among others
- Outland Trophy Watch List
- Lombardi Award Watch List
- Lowe’s Senior Class Award List
• Braden Hansen
- Outland Trophy Watch List
• Jake Heaps
- Davey O’Brien Watch List
• Jameson Frazier
- Lott Trophy Watch List
• JJ Di Luigi
- Doak Walker Award Watch List
• Terence Brown
- Rimington Trophy Watch List
Due to its first year of independence, BYU has a number of scheduling quirks this year:
- After two games on the road, the Cougars host four-straight home games for the first time since 1991. BYU went 4-0 during that span.
- In all, the Cougars play only four road games, not including the neutral site matchup against TCU. The last time this occured was in 1954 when BYU just played three away games vs. Colorado A&M, Utah State and Idaho.
- BYU has seven total home games for the first time since 1996. That year, the Cougars posted a 7-0 record at home and finished 14-1 overall.
INDEPENDENCE AND BEYOND
Entering its first year as an independent, the Cougars are able to play several new opponents and administration has already lined up several opponents for years into the future. BYU has announced games with the following opponents and bowl games (if eligible and not selected to a BCS bowl) in upcoming seasons:
• Notre Dame (Six-game series from 2012-2020)
• Texas (2013-14)
• Boise State (2012-15)
• West Virginia (2016)
• Georgia Tech (2012-14,’17)
• Oregon State (2012)
• UCF (2011,’14)
• Southern Miss (2014-15)
• Hawaii (annually through 2020)
• Houston (2013-14)
• Utah State (2012-15)
• New Mexico State (2012)
• San Jose State (2012)
• Weber State (2012)
• Utah (2012)
• Armed Forces Bowl (2011)
• Poinsettia Bowl (2012)
• Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2013)
INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN
Competing in its first season as an independent for the 2011 season, BYU will be traveling outside the state of Utah five different times and will cover nearly 14,000 miles of distance going back and forth to games in Mississippi, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii. Last year, the Cougars traveled less than half of that total at just under 7,000 total miles. The trip to Hawaii will be the longest with the team traveling to the southwest about 3,000 miles one way. Heading into future independent seasons, as of now BYU will make various treks to Idaho, Texas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Indiana, Georgia and Washington D.C.
BYU has scored in 22 straight quarters, dating back to the second quarter of the 2010 Wyoming game. During that span the Cougars have outscored their opponents 221-68.
SEEN IT A HUNDRED TIMES
Among the 10 returning starters, four of them return to the offensive line. Seniors Terence Brown and Matt Reynolds lead the way and juniors Braden Brown and Braden Hansen also return to bring a talented and experienced line to highlight the offensive attack. Between the four returning starters there are 106 career starts (No. 6 among FBS schools), with Reynolds having the most at 39.