PROVO -- With last season's 28-19 loss to Georgia Tech still fresh on the minds of many Cougars, BYU will play host to the Ramblin' Wreck in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (MT). The Cougars' season-opener will be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN2. At Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, the Ramblin Wreck scored 14-unanswered points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 19-14 deficit and claim the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
BYU vs. THE ACC
Thursday's game will mark only the sixth game against a current Atlantic Coast Conference team. In previous meetings against teams from the ACC, BYU has posted a 1-4 record, including a 38-35 come-from-behind, overtime victory at Virginia in 2000. The Cougars lost at Georgia Tech last season, lost against Virginia in 1999 and have twice fallen to Florida State (1991, 2000). Thursday's game will mark only the second time an ACC school has played BYU in Provo.
KEEPING TRACK OF TIME
With the exception of a neutral game at the 2001 Seattle Bowl (vs. Stanford), Thursday's game will mark the first time Georgia Tech has left the Eastern Time Zone to compete in a regular-season game since Sept. 7, 1995 -- a 19-20 loss at Arizona. In fact, since the 1983 season, the Ramblin' Wreck has left the Eastern Time Zone only six times, posting a 1-5 record. However, over the past 30 seasons, dating back to 1973, Georgia Tech has recorded a mark of 8-12 when playing outside the Eastern Time Zone. Interestingly, the Tech has played in the Mountain Time Zone only twice in its entire history -- a 19-20 loss at Arizona in 1995 and a 42-21 victory at Air Force in 1978. All totaled, Georgia Tech is 4-4 overall when playing in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, dating back to the 1929 Rose Bowl--an 8-7 victory over Cal.
THE LAST TIME (vs. GEORGIA TECH)
Last season, Georgia Tech defeated BYU at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, 28-19. Quarterback Bret Engemann struggled in the first half, completing 11-of-18 attempts for 92 yards. He was sacked twice, threw two interceptions and fumbled--all in the first quarter. Lance Pendleton came in after the first drive of the second quarter, recording 17-of-39 attempts for 274 yards passing, 44 yards rushing and 12 carries, two touchdowns and one interception. BYU got on the scoreboard after linebacker Mike Tanner grabbed the first interception of his career in the second quarter. It led to a Matt Payne field goal and brought the score to 7-3. On the next offensive drive, Pendleton drove the Cougars 59 yards in nine plays and finished it off by taking the ball in himself from one yard out to give BYU the halftime lead, 10-7. On its first possession of the second half, Georgia Tech drove 62 yards in 10 plays capped by a one-yard run by freshman Ajenivi Eziemefe to give the the Ramblin' Wreck the lead, 14-10. BYU went up 19-14 after a 39-yard Payne field goal and a 17-yard touchdown pass from Pendelteon to Mahe. The Cougars would not score again as the Rambin' Wreck recorded two more touchdowns. BYU had one last chance to score, but Pendleton threw his only interception of the game in the closing minutes of the game, sealing Tech's victory.
CATCH THE COUGARS -- COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
Thursday's game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN2, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (MT). Mark Malone will call the action, with Mike Gottfried lending color analysis. Alex Flanigan will report from the sidelines. Fans can also tune to KSL 1160-AM with Greg Wrubell calling the action and Marc Lyons lending expert analysis. Bill Riley will report from the sidelines. CBS Radio, in connection with Westwood One, will also broadcast the game from Edwards Stadium to a national radio audience.
Thursday's game will be rebroadcast on KBYU-TV, beginning at 10 p.m. on Aug. 29 and on BYU-TV at 9 p.m. on Aug. 29. Fans with access to the Dish Network (Ch. 9403) or Direct TV Plus (Ch. 374) home satellite systems will be able to view BYU-TV's rebroadcast. Some cable services in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and Washington also provide BYU-TV.
PARKING/SECURITY POLICIES AT EDWARDS STADIUM
Due to increased security at LaVell Edwards Stadium, fans attending games will not be able to enter the stadium with the following items: backpacks, large bags, food or drink, cans, containers, coolers, artificial noisemakers, large signs or banners, flags, sticks, poles, umbrellas, laser pointers, video cameras, or weapons of any kind. In addition, the following parking restrictions will be implemented for the 2003 season: All reserved parking lots will be held for specific parking pass holders until halftime of each game, including media parking. Fans may park only in an an assigned lot. Parking passes are assigned and prioritized based on Cougar Club membership levels. Public, non-reserved parking lots will be available at the Marriott Center, Monte Bean Museum, and the BYU administration building.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 350 GAMES AND COUNTING
With Matt Payne's 30-yard field goal in the first quartr at Utah on Nov. 23, 2002, BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 350 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) The Cougars don't have a single person on their 2003 roster that was alive the last time BYU was shut out.
Entering the Fall season, the BYU roster boasts 49 players with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better, including 15 student-athletes with a 3.5 GPA or better. (Todd Mortensen leads the team with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.) Additionally, five players on the 2003 roster have graduated and will be pursuing graduate degrees at BYU, including Toby Christensen, Ifo Pili, Justin Jory, Todd Mortensen and Daniel Marquardt. Jory and Mortensen are currently enrolled in law school at BYU. Defensive specialists Jernaro Gilford and Joshua Brandon participated in summer graduation ceremonies, but won't receive their diplomas until after fall semester.
Since 1980, BYU has had 62 different opportunities to repay an opponent for a previous loss. When the Cougars face an opponent, having lost in the previous meeting, they have recorded a 41-22 (.651) record. Since Nov. 7, 1998, BYU has lost only one game to an opponent in a payback situation, posting a 15-1 record. BYU knocked off Syracuse on Aug. 29, 2002 and held off Hawaii on Sept. 6, 2002 for two straight payback opportunities last season. In 2003, the Cougars will have six different payback opportunities. Of the six payback opportunities, the Cougars will face four opponents in Provo.
ONCE IN BLUE MOON
A loss against Utah in the 2002 season-finale marked the first losing season at BYU since the Cougars posted a 5-6 record in 1973. Like Crowton in 2002, it was also LaVell Edwards' second season at the helm. Following a 63-33 win over Air Force on Oct. 20, 2001, the Cougars claimed their 28th straight non-losing season. The Cougars' streak of 28 straight non-losing seasons ranked 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and was the third longest streak in the nation. Nebraska currently ranks first with 41 straight seasons without a losing campaign. After the Cougars posted a losing season in 1973, they went on to win a National Championship in 1984, 21 league titles and made 23 bowl appearances, including 17 straight bowl trips from 1978-1994.
Since the NCAA instituted overtime in 1996, the Cougars have played four overtime games, posting a perfect 4-0 record. Of the over 30 teams which have played four or more overtime games, the Cougars are the only team to post a perfect 4-0 record. Interestingly, the Cougars have never played an overtime game in Provo.
UP OR DOWN
The following BYU coaches will be working from the sidelines this season: Gary Crowton (head coach), Bronco Mendenhall (defensive coordinator/safeties), Steve Kaufusi (defensive line), Robbie Bosco (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Lance Reynolds (offensive line), Paul Tidwell (special teams coordinator/running backs).The remaining assistant coaches, including Barry Lamb (linebackers), Brian Mitchell (cornerbacks), Todd Bradford (co-offensive coordinator/receivers) and Mike Empey (recruiting coordinator/tight ends).
LAST TIME OUT
It's been over nine months since the Cougars' last game -- a game that BYU dropped to its biggest rival. After 28 straight non-losing seasons, college football's third longest non-losing streak came to an end with a 13-6 loss at Utah. With the loss, the Cougars dropped to 5-7, marking their first losing season since 1973. The Cougar offense struggled to move the ball. Quarterback Matt Berry completed 12-of-21 passes for 159 yards and no touchdowns. On the Cougars' first offensive play of the game, Berry connected with receiver Rodney Wilkerson on a 47-yard receptions, setting up the Cougars' first field goal of the afternoon. After a Utah missed field goal, BYU drove down the field and added three more points on a 48-yard Matt Payne field goal. Utah got on the board with a 31-yard field goal following the first drive of the second half. The Utes scored again on a Brandon Warfield touchdown run, and added three more for good measure with 7:09 left in the game. The Cougars had one more chance, but Quarterback Bret Engemann was sacked on fourth down. The Utes took over on downs and ran out the clock to secure the game.
A LITTLE KNOWN FACT
While Georgia Tech is just one of four Division-IA institutions that does not use the word "University" in its official title, BYU is just one of only 12 Division I-A institutions that is named after an individual.
1. Ball State: named after the Ball brothers.
2. Baylor: named after a Texas judge R.E.B. Baylor.
3. BYU: named after Utah's first governor and LDS Church President, Brigham Young.
4. Clemson: named after Thomas Green Clemson the university's founder.
5. Duke: named after Washington Duke and the Duke family, early benefactors of the university.
6. Marshall: named after former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall.
7. Purdue: named after John Purdue, principal benefactor.
8. Rice: named after William Marsh Rice, who left money in his will to start an educational institution.
9. Rutgers: named after Col. Henry Rutgers, revolutionary war veteran and former university trustee.
10. Stanford: named for Leland Stanford, who died at the age of 15.
11. Tulane: named after Paul Tulane, university benefactor who provided an endowment.
12. Vanderbilt: named after Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt who provided the university with an endowment
IN THE TRENCHES
The BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two freshmen, weighs in at a beefy 1,528 pounds, averaging 306 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a Georgia Tech defensive line (three sophomores and a freshman) that tips the scales at an average 267.5 pounds per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two sniors and a junior) weighs in at 280.3 pounds per man, while the Tech offensive line (one senior, three juniors an a sophomore) average 308 pounds per man.
BYU TO RETIRE YOUNG JERSEY
BYU will honor former BYU All-American and NFL great Steve Young by retiring his No. 8 jersey during halftime ceremonies of the Cougars' season-opener (vs. Georgia Tech) on Aug. 28. During the ceremony, a banner with Young's name and jersey number will be unveiled and permanently displayed on the press box at LaVell Edwards Stadium. While two football numbers have previously been retired, (Eldon "The Phantom" Fortie [1960-62], who wore No. 40; and Marion Probert [1951-54], who wore No. 81) Young will become the first BYU football player to have his jersey retired. Banners honoring Probert, who was tragically killed in 1965 and Fortie, BYU's first All-American, will be unveiled later during the season. Young's jersey, not his number, will be retired. Future players may still have the option to wear No. 8. The criteria considered to retire a jersey includes the following:
- First team All-American
- Recipient of major national award
- University graduate
- Minimum 15-year waiting period
- Significant accomplishments after BYU graduation (athletics, community, church)
- Faithful member of LDS Church or other religious affiliation
One of the greatest collegiate quarterbacks of all time, Young was consistently at the top of all the nation's statistical categories for quarterbacks. As a junior, he averaged 318.8 yards per game of total offense, earning All-WAC recognition and Conference Player-of-the-Year honors. One year later, he repeated as a first-team All-WAC selection, completed 306-of-429 pass attempts for an amazing 71.3 completion percentage. As a senior, Young led the nation in total yards passing (3,802), total offense (4,246) and touchdowns (33). Few rival Young's career totals. He completed 592-of-907 attempts for 7,733 yards and 56 touchdowns. He recorded five miles of total offense in only 31 games (8,817 yards), ranking as one of college football's most impressive career performances. Following his senior season, Young was selected as a consensus All-American, won the Davey O'Brien and Sammy Baugh quarterback awards, and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. In addition, Young was recognized by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as one of the nation's top scholar-athletes, and received an NCAA post-graduate scholarship in recognition of his academic success at BYU.
After graduating from BYU in 1983, Young became the first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Express in the USFL. He later played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 1987. Throughout his 15-year professional career, he won three Super Bowl titles, including two as a back-up and one as a starter. He led the 49ers to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Charges in Super Bowl XXIX with a record six touchdowns to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. When his professional career was all said and done, he left the game as the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history, two league MVP Awards (1992-1994) and was the only quarterback in the league's history to win four straight passing titles. Since retiring from the NFL, Young has been inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame (2001), as well as the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame (1994). Earlier this year, he was inducted in to the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
To many however, Young will be remembered for much more than just his on-field heroics and incredible athletic accomplishments. He founded and chairs the Forever Young Foundation, which is actively involved in children's charities nationwide. Recently, the Forever Young Foundation has focused on a project in two Children's Hospitals. Both The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University and Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City are the recipients of new, state-of-the-art, interactive recreational-therapy rooms called Forever Young Zones. These Forever Young Zones are equipped with computers and servers through a generous contribution from Sun Microsystems and will allow computer access and training for the children in these communities as well as the adults. These rooms are created with the intent to provide tools for exercising the imagination of children who find themselves away from home, facing the emotional and physical challenges that serious illness brings. Additionally, Young's foundation has teamed up with NFL Charities to provide state-of-the-art technology rooms for the Youth Education Towns across the country.
Young has served as the international spokesperson and broadcast host for the Children's Miracle Network, which has raised over $1 billion dollars to benefit children's hospitals throughout the world. Young has been a corporate spokesperson for high-profile companies such as Toyota, Marriott, ICON Health & Fitness, Visa, Nike, Sprint, PowerBar, and Sun Microsystems. Currently, he is a Managing Director for Sorenson Capital, a new private equity investment firm, headquartered in Utah. Young is also a member of the Board of Directors of CRS Retail Systems, Inc., a board member for Foundry Networks, the former Chairman of the Board of Found, Inc., and is a partner in University Technology Ventures.
Young was also active with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, excelling as the Medals Plaza Volunteer Chairperson, and managing over 25,000 volunteers during the Olympics. Recently, he was appointed by President Bush as a member of the newly formed President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, designed to inspire Americans to volunteer and make a difference in their communities.
Young is also a member of the American Indian Services. He has also written a children's book entitled "Forever Young."
In addition to his many charitable and business ventures, Young has been the studio co-host of the Super Bowl XXXIV pre-game, half time and post-game show on ABC, as well as a popular studio analyst on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown TV series.
Young, a native of Greenwich, Conn., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983 and his Juris Doctorate degree in 1994 from Brigham Young University. Steve and his wife, Barbara, split their time between California, Utah, and Arizona. They are the proud parents of two sons, Braedon Steven, born on December 6, 2000 and Jackson Graham, born on March 2, 2003.
BYU IN SEASON-OPENERS
Thursday's game will mark the fourth time in the past five years the Cougars have opened the season in Provo, including a 1999 victory over Washington (35-38), a 2001 win over Tulane (70-35) and a 42-21 win over Syracuse in last year's season-opener in Provo. Overall the Cougars are 47-28-2 (.623) in season-openers, dating back to the 1922 season. When playing in the season-opener in Provo, BYU has posted a 26-10-1 (.716) all-time record. This year's season-opener against Georgia Tech will mark the 24th time the Cougars have started the season against a current BCS team. BYU is 11-11-1 all-time against teams from current BCS institutions. The Cougars have won four of their last five season-opening home games, including three straight victorieis (1999, 2001, 2002).
EARLY BIRD AND THE WORM
This year's season-opener, which will be played on Thursday, Aug. 29, will mark the seventh time the Cougars have opened the season during the month of August, including the fourth straight season. This year's game will mark the fourth time BYU has played a game on Aug. 29, posting a 2-1 record on this date, including last year's 42-21 victory over Syracuse. The earliest start in BYU football history came during the 1996 season when BYU defeated Texas A&M on Aug. 24. The 2001 season opener (vs. Tulane) marked the second earliest start in school history.
A LITTLE EXPERIENCE
Since the 1990 season, when BYU starts the year with a junior or senior at quarterback, the Cougars have posted a 72.8 winning percentage. In that same time frame, when BYU starts the season with an under-classman, the Cougars win just over 50 percent of their games. Since the 1990 campaign, BYU has only started an under classman in four different seasons, including 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2002. This season, the Cougars will start sophomore Matt Berry, who enters the season having started six games, marking the most starts by a BYU quarterback entering a season since Kevin Feterik in 1999.
HOME SWEET HOME
With a perfect 6-0 record in Provo during the 2001 season, the Cougars have recorded 12 undefeated home season since the 1967 campaign. In fact, since the stadium was expanded to 65,000, the Cougars have posted eight different seasons without losing a game in Provo. The 2001 perfect home season marked the first since 1998. BYU finished the 2002 season with a 4-2 home record, marking the team's 31st consecutive non-losing home season. The Cougars are 168-52 (.764) in Provo, dating back 40 years (1963), including a 10-4 (.714) home record against MWC opponents since 1999.