The Cougars will open the 2007 season on Saturday against Arizona. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Coming off a Mountain West Conference Championship season with an 11-2 record in 2006, including a dominating 38-8 victory over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Cougars are set to open the 2007 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Arizona. A battle of old Western Athletic Conference rivals, the game will mark the first time the two teams have met in Provo since the 1977 season. The two team opened the 2006 campaign in Tucson, with the Wildcats winning, 16-13. Arizona finished the 2006 season with a record of 6-6, including a stunning victory over eighth-ranked California.
THE BYU-ARIZONA SERIES
The two teams first met in 1936 in Tucson with the Wildcats running to a 32-6 victory. Saturday?s contest will mark the 21st meeting between the two teams. Arizona owns an 11-8-1 record in the series, including a 16-13 victory in Tucson to open the 2006 season. As members of the Western Athletic Conference, the two teams met every year from 1962 through 1977. During that time, Arizona won nine of the 16 games. The Cougars won the first meeting between the two teams in Provo during the 1967 season, 17-14. Saturday?s game will mark the first time the two teams have played in Provo since the 1977 season. When last they met in Provo, the Cougars posted a 34-14 victory. BYU holds a 3-2 record over the Wildcats in Provo.
ON THE TUBE
Saturday?s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on VERSUS. Joe Beninati will call the action, Glenn Parker will lend analysis and Tim Neverett will report from the sidelines. Beninati has worked for over a decade as the play-by-play announcer for the Washington Capitals. The Capital Region Emmy Award winning broadcaster has also called action for the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and college football. Parker is a former NFL offensive lineman who, in his 12-year career, played for the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills. Parker has been an analyst for the NFL Network show PLAYBOOK and the main college football analyst for CSTV. Neverett, a 22-year sports broadcaster, can be heard on ESPN radio in Denver and covers the Colorado Rockies as well as other sports in the Rocky Mountain region. He has covered three Olympics, and worked with both ESPN and ESPN2 covering various events. He has also worked in Las Vegas, covering UNLV football and baseball and hosting the Tim Neverett Show on SportsRadio 1460 and ESPN Radio 920 and in New England as host of the nationally distributed The Sports Final radio program. Neverett is also one of the top play-by-play announcers on The mtn.VERSUS will televise 19 college football games this fall with a schedule that includes nine games in the Mountain West Conference as well as five games from each the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences.
BYU vs. THE PAC-10
Over the years, BYU has played at least two games against each member of the Pac-10. The Cougars have posted an overall record of 28-55-1 against Pac-10 competition. For the fifth time since 1999, BYU will play at least two teams from the Pac-10 during the season. Following the season-opener against Arizona, the Cougars will travel to the Rose Bowl to take on UCLA on September 8. Of the 10 members of the Pac-10, BYU owns a winning record against California (2-1), Washington State (2-1) and has a 3-3 record against Oregon. Of all the teams in the Pac-10, the Cougars have more wins (8) against Arizona than any other team.
2007 BROADCAST PLANS
For the second straight season, the Cougars have game times and television programming plans completed for each of their 12 games well before the start of the season. Each of BYU?s first three games will be televised nationally, including a season-opening rematch Sept. 1 against Arizona (VERSUS), a Sept. 8 trip to UCLA (VERSUS) and a Sept. 15 trip to Tulsa (CSTV). The Cougars will play a total of six nationally televised games with the annual rivalry game against Utah being simulcast on CSTV, VERSUS and The mtn.
REMEMBER WHEN ...
The last time BYU and Arizona last met in Provo, current associate head coach and running backs coach, Lance Reynolds was a standout offensive lineman for the Cougars. The 6-foot-3, 256-pound senior helped provide protection for Marc Wilson who passed for 334 yards on 23-of-43 attempts. The BYU offense also put up 214 yards rushing during the 34-14 homecoming victory over Arizona on October 29, 1977. Reynolds went on to earn All-America honorable mention honors in 1977 and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1978 NFL Draft. Ironically, Reynolds has two sons on this year?s team, including starting left tackle Dallas Reynolds and redshirt offensive lineman Matt Reynolds. Reynolds is in his 25th season as an assistant coach at BYU. Reynolds? oldest son, Lance Jr., was the starting center for the Cougars in 2004 and 2005. His youngest son, Houston, recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Cougars after returning from his church mission in Germany.
RETIRING No. 14
Two of college football?s all-time greatest quarterbacks, Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer, will be honored together on Saturday, Sept. 1 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The No. 14 jersey, worn by both Nielsen and Detmer, will be retired during halftime of the Cougars? season-opener against Arizona.
Throughout the history of BYU football, dating back to 1922, only three jerseys have ever been retired. Eldon ?The Phantom? Fortie?s No. 40 jersey, along with Marion Probert?s No. 81 jersey and Steve Young?s No. 8 jersey all hang from the pressbox at Edwards Stadium.
Nielsen, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and recipient of the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, passed for over 5,800 yards and collected 55 touchdowns throughout his career. Earning All-America honors in 1976, Nielsen led the NCAA in touchdown completions, ranked second in total offense and helped the Cougars to their first-ever national ranking. After what appeared to be a career-ending injury during his senior season, Nielsen went on to play six years for the Houston Oilers and remains the last quarterback to lead the team to the AFC finals. Nielsen and his wife, Wendy, are the parents of six children and reside in Houston.
Detmer, the winner of the 1990 Heisman Trophy, set nearly every passing record ever imagined during his time in Provo. A two-time Davey O?Brien Award winner, Detmer set 62 records during his career at BYU, including the NCAA record for career passing yards with 15,031. He was a consensus All-American in 1990 as the nation?s leading passer and earned his second consensus All-American title in 1991 after leading the nation in total offense. He still holds the NCAA record for career touchdown completions with 121. Detmer played 14 seasons in the NFL and currently resides with his wife, Kim, and four daughters in Austin, Texas.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Currently BYU has four former players and a head coach enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, located in South Bend, Ind. Legendary coach LaVell Edwards was inducted in 2004 after serving 29 seasons as head coach, posting an amazing record of 257-101-3. Steve Young was inducted in 2001 with Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson and Gifford Neilsen earning Hall of Fame status in 1998, 1996 and 1994, respectively. With a long history of successful quarterbacks making their way to the College Football Hall of Fame, it seems only a matter of time before Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer receives an invitation to South Bend. BYU has produced more than just top-ranked quarterbacks over the years. Defensive lineman Jason Buck, offensive lineman Mo Elewonibi, offensive lineman Nick Eyre, running back Eldon Fortie, defensive back Kyle Morrell, punter Pat Thompson and tight ends Chris Smith and Gordon Hudson are also candidates for the Hall of Fame.
FOLLOWING A BOWL VICTORY...
In seasons following a BYU bowl victory, the Cougars have compiled a combined record of 66-21 (.758), averaging 9.4 wins per season. Of BYU?s seven previous post-bowl victory teams, all but two teams have returned to a bowl game the following season.
END A SEASON; START THE NEXT VS. PAC-10
For the second straight season, BYU will start its season against a Pac-10 opponent after finishing the previous season against a Pac-10 foe in a bowl game. In 2005, the Cougars fell to California, 35-28, in the Las Vegas Bowl. Eight months later, BYU started its 2006 season with a 16-13 defeat at Arizona. The Cougars finished the 2006 campaign with a 38-8 drubbing of Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl and will now face Arizona in their opening game of 2007 on Sept. 1. Prior to the 2005-2006 seasons, the Cougars had never finished one season and started another against Pac-10 opponents. Since 1978, the first year of the expanded Pac-10, BYU holds a 2-2 record in season-openers against Pac-10 opponents. Interestingly, the Cougars also hold a 2-2 record in bowl games facing Pac-10 teams.
OTHER NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
UCLA - On Sept. 8, BYU will travel to Pac-10 country to take on UCLA for the first time since the 1995 season. The Cougars will be looking to improve upon their 1-6 all-time record against the Bruins. BYU has dropped six in a row to UCLA. The Cougars only win against the Bruins was at the Rose Bowl in 1983.
TULSA - The following week, Sept. 15, the Cougars will travel to former WAC foe Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane finished the 2006 season with an 8-5 overall record, including a trip to the Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl game marked Tulsa?s third post-season appearance over the past four seasons. The Cougars are 6-0 against the Golden Hurricane, dating back to the 1971 season.
EASTERN WASHINGTON - After three straight Mountain West Conference games, the Cougars will wrap up non-conference play when they play host to Eastern Washington. It will be the first meeting between the two schools. The Cougars have never lost to a Division I-AA opponent.
LOOKING FOR A QUICK START
The Cougars will be looking to start their season with a win for the first time since the 2004 season when BYU edged Notre Dame, 20-17, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars lost at home to Boston College to start the 2005 campaign before dropping a 16-13 decision to Arizona on a last-second fieldgoal to start the 2006 season. BYU won four straight season-openers from 2001-2004. Overall, the Cougars have won four of their last five home-openers.
Since 1922, the Cougars have posted a 45-35-2 record in season-opening games.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME TO START THE SEASON
Dating back to the Cougars first season in 1922, BYU has posted a record of 28-11-1 when opening the season in Provo -- that?s a winning percentage of 71.3 percent! In overall home-openers, the Cougars are 51-29-1 (64 percent) since 1922. Interestingly, BYU?s longest home-opening win streak is 10 seasons, dating from 1930 through 1939. Since 1998, the Cougars have posted a record of 7-2 (.777) in home-opening games.
HAVE BAGS; WILL TRAVEL
Interestingly, Hall of Fame Coach LaVell Edwards opened the season in Provo only nine times during his 29-year career. From 1978 to 1995, BYU opened the season on the road in 16 of 18 seasons. He was 5-4 in season-openers at Cougar Stadium.
COUGARS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
Each of BYU?s first three games will be broadcast nationally. The Cougars will have at least six nationally televised games (bowl game pending). The season opener against Arizona will be the first of two consecutive weeks that the Cougars appear on VERSUS. Sept. 8 will match BYU against UCLA on VERSUS while the Cougars will play on CSTV at Tulsa Sept. 15. BYU will play three Mountain West Conference opponents in front of a national audience: at New Mexico (Sept. 29, CSTV), TCU (Nov. 8, VERSUS) and Utah (Nov. 24, simulcast on CSTV and The mtn.)
Over 350,000 (363,146) fans attended six different home games at Edwards Stadium during the 2006 season, averaging 60,542 fans per game. BYU finished ranked fourth overall in the west behind USC (91,480), UCLA (64,955), California (64,318). Since the inception of the BCS, BYU has annually been the top school in average attendance for teams from conferences that do not receive automatic BCS bowl bids. BYU, which boasts the largest on-campus home stadium in the Mountain West Conference, has led the MWC in home attendance in all eight years of the league?s existence. In fact, Edwards Stadium has been the site of the league?s all-time top-10 crowds.
LaVell Edwards Stadium, with its 64,045-seat capacity, is home to BYU football. Originally Cougar Stadium, it was built in 1964 and seated 45,000. It was expanded in 1982 to seat 65,000 in permanent seats.
Record: 184-61 (.751)
Stadium Record (since 1982 expansion): 115-39 (.746)
Stadium Record (since renaming in 2000): 24-13 (.648)
Last Six Home Games: 6-0 (.500) - 2006
Last 12 Home Games: 9-3 (.750) - 2005-2006
Last 18 Home Games: 12-6 (.667) - 2004-2006
Last 24 Home Games: 13-11 (.542) - 2003-2006
HOME FIELD DOMINANCE
Since it was built in 1964, the Cougars have fielded several dominating teams. Last season, BYU averaged 47.16 points per game at home while limiting its opponents to just 12. The margin of difference had the Cougars beating their opponents by an average of 35.16 points. The 35.16-point differential is a BYU record in scoring margin in the stadium?s 42-year history and the program?s 84-year history.
BEST HOME TEAM IN THE COUNTRY
The Cougars finished the 2006 regular season as the most dominant home team in the nation. LSU finished second behind the Cougars, posting a +31.9 home-field scoring margin.
For the first time since 1997, BYU will kick off the season ranked among the nation?s top-25 programs. According to The Sporting News College Football Yearbook, the Cougars will enter the 2007 campaign ranked 25th. In the preseason Associated Press Top-25 poll, the Cougars are ranked 37th, while BYU is ranked 34th in the USA Today Top-25. BYU finished the 2006 season ranked as high as No. 15 with an 11-2 record, including a 38-8 victory over Oregon in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU?s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 318.4 pounds and average 6-feet-5. The front five will be going up against an Arizona defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-3, 282 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars? front three average 6-feet-2, 270 pounds, while the Arizona offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-4, 300.2 pounds per man.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Sophomore quarterback Max Hall will make his collegiate debut on Saturday against Arizona. Hall was named the Cougars? starting quarterback shortly after the conclusion of Spring Camp. Saturday?s season-opener will mark Hall?s first game in over four seasons. Hall is the first BYU quarterback to start the season without any previous experience since Steve Sarkisian started in 1995. While Hall has some big shoes to fill, there is one trend he will look to change. Since Steve Sarkisian started his first game in 1995, no first-year starting quarterback has led the Cougars to a bowl game in his first season.
Seniors Bryan Kehl, Kelly Poppinga, Matt Allen and Sete Aulai have been selected by their teammates to serve as captains for the 2007 football season. Kehl and Poppinga are top linebackers for the Cougars, while Allen is a veteran wide receiver and Aulai is the team?s starting center.
Collectively, the group has racked up 91 games of experience, including Kehl who has played in 35 career games and Allen who has played in 31. Aulai started and played in 12 games during the 2006 season, while Poppinga saw action in all 13 games for the Cougars last season.
Aulai is a 2006 Mountain West Conference second-team performer and has been tapped as an honors candidate for the 2007 season. Aulai allowed just one sack as a junior and did not allow a single sack against MWC opponents last season. Allen is an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer who graduated with a degree in exercise science earlier this month. Allen racked up 420 yards receiving, averaging 32 yards per game. Kehl is also an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer. He ranked third on the BYU roster last season with 70 tackles, including eight tackles for a combined loss of 33 yards. Poppinga, also an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer and recent BYU graduate, totaled 36 tackles during his junior season, posting two sacks and two interceptions.
STREAKING INTO 2007
Heading into the 2007 season, BYU owns the second longest winning streak among Division-IA teams. The Cougars have won 10 consecutive games, one behind Boise State?s 13 consecutive victories. BYU?s current 10-game winning streak is its longest since the 2001 season.
The Cougars are expecting a capacity crowd (64,045) for the season-opener against Arizona. The BYU Ticket Office has reported that while distribution of student tickets will continue through the week, all public tickets have been sold out. Saturday?s game will mark the first home-opening sellout since the 2004 season when the Cougars opened in Provo against Notre Dame. Prior to Saturday?s game, BYU has had 10 opening-day sell-outs, dating back to 1982 -- the first year of the expanded stadium. Saturday?s game would mark the first opening-day sell out during the Bronco Mendenhall era. It would also be the first sell out since November 19, 2005 when the Cougars played host to Utah. Since 1985, the Cougars are 7-3 (.700) when playing in Provo for the home-opener in front of a sold-out stadium.
Senior linebacker Chris Bolden has the claim of being the only member of the BYU football team who has served on active duty in the U.S. Military. Bolden, who is also the oldest player on the team, served in the U.S. Navy. For most of his career in the Navy, Bolden was stationed out of Yokosuka, Japan and served as a radio operator on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. Bolden is a veteran of the Iraq War. Not including the service academies, Bolden is one of nine players to serve in the military.
ON THE AIR
The exclusive 50,000-watt, clear-channel radio home of BYU Football and flagship of the Cougar Sports Network is KSL Newsradio--1160 AM and 102.7 FM in Salt Lake City. The ?Voice of the Cougars? is Greg Wrubell, now in his 7th season as play-by-play commentator. A BYU alum, Wrubell is in his 16th year on the broadcast crew, having served as the sideline/lockerroom reporter before stepping into the booth.
Wrubell?s on-air partner and game analyst is former Cougar quarterback Marc Lyons, a 26-year veteran of BYU Football broadcasts. Recently-graduated Cougar receiver and punt returner Nate Meikle makes his debut reporting from the sidelines and lockerroom, while Jeff Austin enters his second season as studio host. The following is a rundown of KSL?s weekly programming and broadcast details:
8:45am-?Coach?s Corner? with Greg Wrubell and Bronco Mendenhall
10:00am-Bronco Mendenhall Press Conference (live on ksl.com ?X-Stream? channel)
7:00pm-?Bronco Mendenhall Show? with Greg Wrubell and Marc Lyons
8:15am-?Cougar Matchup? (game preview with Greg Wrubell)
8:45am-?Coach?s Corner? with Greg Wrubell and Bronco Mendenhall
2 hours before kickoff: ?Cougar Countdown Show?
1 hour before kickoff: ?Cougar Pregame Scoreboard Show?
35 minutes before kickoff: ?Cougar Pregame Coach?s Show?
25 minutes before kickoff: ?Cougar Kickoff Show?
Halftime: ?Cougar Halftime Scoreboard Show?
Postgame: ?Cougar Postgame Scoreboard Show,? ?Cougar Lockerroom Show,? ?Cougar Postgame Coach?s Show,? ?Cougar Call-In Show,? ?Cougar Replay.?
All BYU Football programming is streamed live on ksl.com and available for download and podcast. All game broadcasts are archived online. KSL?s gameday broadcast is also streamed online at byuradio.org, and can be heard on Dish Network Channel 980.
Stations on the Cougar Sports Network include:
KMXU 105.1 FM, KMGR 95.9 FM
KUNF 1210 AM
St. George, UT
KDOX 1280 AM
Las Vegas, NV
KTHK 105.5 FM, KBLI 690 AM, KBLY 1260 AM
Pocatello, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, ID
KART 1400 AM
COACHES SHOWS ON KSL (Radio and Television)
RADIO - The weekly ?Bronco Mendenhall Show? on KSL Newsradio has a new home this season. The Utah County Ken Garff Dealers will be hosting the show Wednesday nights from 7-8 p.m., with Coach Mendenhall joining Greg Wrubell and Marc Lyons, while listeners are encouraged to attend the live broadcast. Cougar fans can also participate via call-ins and e-mail. This week?s show will be broadcast from Ken Garff Porsche/Audi/Volkswagen, located at 195 East University Parkway in Orem.
TELEVISION - The weekly ?BYU Football with Coach Bronco Mendenhall? show can be seen every Sunday night during the season. The halfhour show will have highlights of the latest game, insights from head coach Bronco
Mendenhall on that game, a look ahead to the next BYU Football game,
features on Cougar players and Bronco responds to viewers email questions. The show will be broadcast each Sunday at 11 p.m. (MT) on KSL-TV.