BYU will kickoff the 2001 season, under the direction of new head coach Gary Crowton, on Saturday, Aug. 25 in the Black Coaches Association Classic. The Cougars will play host to Tulane, which will be making its first-ever trip to Provo. Tulane and BYU last met in the 1998 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. The Cougars will look to settle that score, as the Green Wave upended BYU, 41-27, to claim a perfect, 12-0, season.
Black Coaches Association Classic
The BCA Classic first kicked off in 1997 and has now become one of the most anticipated games to open the college football season. Over its first four years, the event has featured teams from the Big East, Big 10, the Big XII, the ACC and the WAC. This year, the game expands to the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA. In the Classic's first game, Ohio State knocked off Wyoming, 24-10, in Columbus. In 1998, Colorado State claimed its first-ever win over a Big-10 opponent, surprising Michigan State, 23-16, in East Lansing. In 1999, N.C. State upset 17th ranked Texas, 23-20, in Austin. The 2000 BCA Classic was cancelled when lightning struck as Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech were lined up for the opening kickoff.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN2. Mark Jones will call the action, while former BYU player and former NFL Pro-Bowler Todd Christensen will lend expert analysis. (Christensen's son, Toby, is a sophomore receiver for the Cougars.) Saturday's game will mark the first of two scheduled appearances for the Cougars on ESPN2.
Tulane will kick off the 2001 season after finishing the 2000 campaign with a 6-5 record, including a 3-4 record in Conference USA action. The Green Wave posted a 4-1 mark at home (Louisiana Superdome), but did not fare as well away from home, posting just a 2-4 mark on the road. TU recorded just its third winning season in the past 20 years, winning their last three games of the season. Tulane returns 12 starters this season, including five offensive and five defensive players. Entering his third season at Tulane, head coach Chris Scelfo (10-13; .435) will look to senior quarterback Patrick Ramsey to lead the Green Wave. Ramsey, who was recruited by current BYU head coach Gary Crowton, while at Louisiana Tech, threw for 2,833 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, completing 229 of 389 attempts (.590). The Ruston, La., native finished the 2000 season with four straight 300-yard games, guiding Tulane to three of four wins to close out the season. In 21 career starts, Ramsey has 13 total 300-yards games and has three 400-yard outings. The Green Wave will also look to kicker Seth Marler to put points on the board. The Lilburn, Ga., native made 16-of-21 field goals last years and was a perfect 10-for-10 from inside the 40-yard line.
Liberty Bowl Rematch
Saturday's game will mark only the second time these two team have met. Tulane and BYU last faced off in the 1998 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. Tulane preserved its perfect season by upending the Cougars, 41-27. The game marked TU head coach Chris Scelfo's first game at Tulane, after former coach Tommy Bowden left the team following the regular season to take the head coaching job at Clemson. Scelfo is 1-0 against BYU, while first-year head coach Gary Crowton is 0-1 against the Green Wave. During Tulane's undefeated season, Crowton and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs fell to the Shaun King-led Green Wave, 63-30, in the Superdome. In the Cougars' first-ever Liberty Bowl appearance, BYU struck first on an 11-yard pass from Kevin Geterik to receiver Ben Horton. Before the first half ended, King and Tulane scored 20 unanswered points. Things didn't get much better in the second half, as the Green Wave scored its third touchdown of the game on the opening drive of the half. King connected on four straight passes to cover 82 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kerwin Cook. On its very next possession, Tulane would strike again on a 13-yard pass from King to Jamaican Dartez, giving the Green Wave 34-6 lead. On its first drive of the final period, BYU would score for the first time since the 8:49 mark in the first half on an Aaron Cupp three-yard run. Tulane immediately answered on a six-play, 76-yard scoring drive. The Cougars would score 14 unanswered points in the final period, but it was too little, too late as the Green Wave ended the Cougars' hopes for a bowl victory, 41-27.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
Saturday's game (vs. Tulane) will mark the second earliest start in BYU football history. The Cougars' earliest start was an Aug. 24th matchup against Texas A&M in the 1996 Pigskin Classic. Combined, BYU has played in just three games in the month of August, including last season's Aug. 26th game in Jacksonville, Fla., against defending national champion Florida State in the Pigskin Classic. Saturday's game will mark only the second time BYU has opened at home in the month of August. The Cougars are 1-2 all time when playing in August.
Cougars In Preseason Action
Saturday's game will mark a record fifth appearance in preseason games for the Cougars, including their second-straight preseason contest. BYU has made more preseason appearances than any other team in the country, including a record three invitations to participate in the Pigskin Classic. Last year the Cougars opened the season in Jacksonville, Fla., against top-ranked Florida State in the Pigskin Classic.
ITS ALIVE ... 324 Games And Counting
With its 34-27 win over Utah to end the 2000 regular season, BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 324 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State). To put the streak in perspective, their is only one current player on the BYU roster who was alive. Aaron McCubbins was just two days old, born Sept. 25, 1975 in Anchorage.
Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average three times per season, including last year's single-season record six national television appearances. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 42-28-2 (.600) while playing on national television, including a 22-15 mark on ABC and a 26-16-2 mark on ESPN. Current assistant coach Robbie Bosco led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pittsburgh in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast in 1984. Over 12 years ago, the Cougars recorded their largest margin of victory while playing on national television, defeating Texas, 72-6, on Sept. 8, 1988.
Ramage Set To Retire After 30th Season
Entering his 30th season at BYU, defensive line coach Tom Ramage announced he will retire following the 2001 season. Ramage came to BYU after a successful playing career at Utah State, where he also served as a graduate assistant coach from 1958-60 and the d-line coach from 1962-65. He left USU to serve as the defensive coordinator at Weber State for seven seasons and was named the head coach at Dixie College in 1971. He coached at Dixie for two seasons before coming to BYU under second-year head coach LaVell Edwards. Ramage has coached over 34 players who have gone on to the NFL.
Season Openers In Provo
Saturday's game will mark only the ninth time since 1972 the Cougars have opened the season in Provo. During that span, BYU has posted a 5-4 record, including a 35-28 win over Washington in 1999. From 1978 to 1985, BYU began eight straight seasons on the road, including an appearance in the Kickoff Classic--a 28-14 win over Boston College. History again repeated itself from 1988 to 1995, when the Cougars hit the road for eight straight season-opening games. In the 76-year history of the program, BYU has won their home openers by an average of just over six points. Saturday's game will mark the first season-opener in the newly re-named LaVell Edwards Stadium, however the game will mark only the sixth time BYU has opened the season at home since the Stadium was expanded in 1982. The Cougars are 3-2 in home openers since the expansion.
Looking ahead to next week's opponent, the Cougars will play host to Nevada in Provo. In their second year as a member the Western Athletic Conference, the Wolfpack will be making their first trip to Provo since the 1940 season. BYU has posted a 3-0-2 record over Nevada, dating back to the first-ever meeting between the two schools on Sept. 28, 1929. The game will mark only the third time the two teams have met in Provo and the first time in LaVell Edwards Stadium. While BYU will have a game under its belt, Nevada will begin the 2001 campaign with all 10 offensive starters and eight defensive starters returning from a 2000 squad that posted a 2-10 record. The Wolfpack will look to leading passer, David Neill, to restore the offensive firepower at Nevada. Neill ranks as the Wolfpack's career leader in passing yards, attempts and total offense. The honorable mention All-WAC performer led Nevada to a 26th-place ranking in total offense last season. He will look to an experienced group of receivers, including Nate Burleson, who ranked 36th in the nation in receiving yards and Mike Crawford who had 42 receptions for 508 yards over nine games last season. Burleson also returns as the Wolfpack's leading scorer and all-purpose man from a year ago. The junior receiver posted eight touchdowns Jorge Cordova returns for the Nevada defense after recording a team-leading 91 tackles last season, along with Ronnie Hardiman who posted 86 takedowns. Nevada is under the direction of second year head coach Chris Tormey. Tormey has posted a 35-33 record over six seasons as a head coach, including a record of 33-23 in five seasons as the head coach at the University of Idaho.
BYU's Reno Mahe will make his much-anticipated return to the Cougar lineup after a two-year absence. Mahe's last game as a Cougar was on Dec. 31, 1998 against Tulane in the Liberty Bowl. Last season, Mahe earned Junior College All-America honors after recording 57 receptions for 1,387 yards and 19 touchdowns for Dixie College. As a freshman at BYU (in 1998), Mahe registered 481 yards rushing on 98 carries, scored six rushing touchdowns and one TD reception. Mahe missed the last week of Fall Camp this season after sustaining a pair of hairline fractures in his foot. After extensive treatments, Mahe is expected to see playing time on Saturday.
Including BYU's overtime win against Virginia on Sept. 2, 2000, the Cougars have posted a perfect 4-0 record in overtime games. In fact, BYU has never lost an overtime coin toss. Each of the four games have been won by a field goal, including two game-winners by BYU's all-time leading scorer Owen Pochman (New England Patriots). All four games have been played on the road, including a neutral-site game in 1996 against Wyoming at the WAC Championship game in Las Vegas.
Natural Born Winners
After a magical fourth-quarter, come-from behind victory over Utah, 34-27, to end the 2000 season, BYU posted a 6-6 record, marking the 27th straight season without a losing record for the Cougars. BYU has not had a losing season since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973--former head coach LaVell Edward's second season as head coach. The Cougars' streak of 27 straight seasons ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and is currently the second longest non-losing streak in the nation. (Nebraska leads with an impressive 39 straight seasons without a losing record.)
LaVell Edwards Stadium
On November 18, 2001, Cougar Stadium was forever changed, honoring the man who built BYU's football tradition from the ground up. LDS Church President, Gordon B. Hinckley announced the historic name change prior to Edwards' final home game (vs. New Mexico). Now known as LaVell Edwards Stadium; Home of the BYU Cougars, the stadium has been home to more than 110 games since it was expanded to 65,000 seats in 1982. BYU has produced a 90-22 record in the Stadium since the 1982 season, including a 37-13 victory over New Mexico in Edwards' final game in the stadium. Fittingly, Edwards retired with a perfect record (1-0) in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Since 1972, BYU has posted an impressive 132-22 (.857) record in Provo, including an 80.4 winning percentage since the stadium expansion in 1982.
In The Trenches
The experienced BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two juniors--all of which started last season, weighs in at a beefy 1,479 pounds, averaging 295.8 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a Tulane defensive line (one senior, two juniors and a sophomore) that tips the scales at an average 263 pounds per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore) weighs in at 279.5 pounds per man, while the Tulane offensive line (three seniors, a sophomore and a freshman) average 277 pounds per man. Four of the Cougars' five starting offensive lineman received All-Conference honors last season, including Aaron McCubbins, Dustin Rykert, Jason Scukanec and Ben Archibald.
The Crowton File
Gary Crowton, a native of Orem, Utah, will take over a BYU program that has been under the direction of college football's sixth all-time winningest coach, LaVell Edwards. Edwards took over the program in 1972, coaching the Cougars to a 257-101-3 (.716) record. Crowton, 44, comes to BYU with a long and proven list of coaching accomplishments. Prior to serving the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the NFL's Chicago Bears, where his offense ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage during the 1999 season, Crowton was head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1996-1998. There he guided the Bulldogs to a 21-13 (.618) record over three seasons, including a 9-2 mark in 1997. Competing as an independent for three straight years, Louisiana Tech recorded wins over the likes of Mississippi State, Cal and Alabama. Using its Crowton-designed, high-powered offense, the program also recorded impressive wins by scoring 50-or-more points against eight different opponents, including games of 60-or-more points in five different games. Crowton's offense ranked third in the nation, both in passing and total offense, while the Bulldogs racked up 12,746 yards passing in three years, an average of 4,249 yards per season. The prolific Tech offense also produced 115 touchdown receptions, averaging 38.3 TDs per season. Under Crowton, Louisiana Tech engineered 22 different 300-yard passing games, including school-record 10, 300-yard outings during the 1998 season. In 1998, Crowton's final season at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs combined for a school-record 4,943 yards passing. Crowton's coaching career actually began in 1982 as a student assistant under Edwards at BYU. While at BYU he worked with current Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren and future NFL Hall of Famer, Steve Young. From BYU, Crowton moved on to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he coached from 1983-86. While at Snow College, Crowton moved from defensive backs coach to offensive coordinator. Under his offensive leadership, the Badgers won the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship in 1985. From Snow College, Crowton moved to Western Illinois for one season, before taking over as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire. In 1991, Crowton was hired as the quarterbacks coach at Boston College under head coach Tom Coughlin. There he helped develop quarterback Glenn Foley as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. After three successful seasons with the Eagles, Crowton was hired as the co-offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where his offense led the Yellow Jackets to a No. 21 national ranking in his first and only season in Atlanta. In 1995, Crowton was hired as the offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, where he would become the head coach the following season. Crowton, who is the first-ever head football coach at BYU to serve an LDS Church mission, is married to the former Maren Peterson of Bountiful, Utah. The couple was married on August 3, 1985. The Crowtons have six children.
Ena Your Face
The BYU defense will be anchored by one of the most physical and athletic group of starting linebackers in recent history. Led by senior middle linebacker, Justin Ena, the Cougars return all three starting linebackers from last season. Ena, Isaac Kelley and Paul Walkenhorst accounted for 217 total tackles, including Ena's team-leading 107 takedowns. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound All-Conference first-team selection, has been recognized as one of college football's elite defensive performers, earning a spot on both the Butkus and Lombardi Award watch lists.
Not Just Your Average Punter
Senior All-America candidate, Aaron Edmonds, will begin his senior season at BYU as one of the most accurate and dangerous punters in the nation. Edmonds recorded 67 punts as a junior, averaging 43.6 yards per punt. The 6-foot-11, 192-pound Milpitas, Calif., native registered an impressive 17 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line last season. He produced 19 punts of 50 yards or more, including a season-long 61 yarder against Mississippi State. Edmonds did not have a single punt blocked all season. Off the field, his stats are just as impressive. Edmonds, a marketing communications major spends each Wednesday at a local-area school, reading, tutoring and helping out int he classroom. He is a popular speaker at elementary school assemblies and is a regular visitor to a local hospital, spending time with sick children.
The Last Frontier
BYU senior offensive lineman Aaron McCubbins is the only player from Alaska playing college football in the Mountain West Conference. Non-conference foe Nevada has four players from the "Last Frontier."
Doman Set To Start Senior Season
After leading the Cougars to two straight wins to close out the 2000 season, quarterback Brandon Doman will start at QB in his final season. In his first collegiate start at quarterback (Nov. 18, 2000), the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Salt Lake City native, led BYU to a 37-13 win over New Mexico in the Cougars' final home game of the season. Against the Lobos, Doman became the first BYU quarterback to rush for over 50 yards and throw for 300 yards since Steve Young accomplished the feat in 1983. A week later, Doman followed that performance with a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory over in-state rival Utah, securing LaVell Edwards' 257th and final career victory. Against the Utes, Doman connected on 16-of-29 attempts for 284 yards. Facing 4th-and-13 with 1:04 remaining in the game, and trailing 26-27, Doman engineered an impressive drive of 83 yards, including two straight completions to receiver Jonathan Pittman. Doman, fittingly, capped the drive with a four-yard plunge in to the endzone to seal the victory.
Super Staley Quick Facts
Returning for his junior season, running back Luke Staley is injury free and poised to rack up even more yards, and a few more touchdowns along the way.
Has produced at least one touchdown in 12 of the 19 games he has played.
Has scored multiple touchdowns in six games throughout his career.
Produced a career-high 167 yards rushing on 28 carries against UNLV in 2000.
Totaled a team-leading 479 yards rushing as a junior.
Totaled 75 yards and three touchdowns against Utah State last season.
Has produced 20 career touchdowns, including 17 rushing TDs.
Earned Freshman All-American honors in 1999, scoring 13 TDs on the season.
Accounted for 806 all-purpose yards as a sophomore.
The Cougars lay claim to yet another interesting distinction this season. Not only do the Cougars have the most married players and the most Eagle Scouts, but BYU is also among the nation's leaders when it comes to making BYU football a family affair. The Cougars have three sets of brothers this season, including Luke and Dustin Staley, Ryan and John Denney and Daniel and Michael Marquardt.