Cougars Open Season Against Huskies
Thursday's game will mark the fifth meeting between the two schools. Washington holds a 4-1 record in the growing rivalry, which some say actually dates back to the 1984 season, even though the two teams didn't play until the following season. Despite posting an 11-1 record in 1984, including an impressive 28-17 win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, the Huskies finished second to BYU in the national polls , creating a debate that still exists in the rivalry to this day. BYU temporarily resolved the matter in 1985, dominating the Huskies 31-1. Since then, Washington has reeled off three straight wins, including a 20-10 win in Seattle last season. Though this season ends the current home-and-home agreement, administrators at both schools have worked out a new contract that would pit the two teams in the near future. Thursday's game will mark just the third game between the two schools in Provo.
The Butler Did It
UW's Toure Butler returned a fumble 35 yards in the second quarter and his 98-yard kickoff return accounted for the 12 of the Huskies 20 points to down the Cougars, 20-10, in Seattle last season. After a punt-a-thon broke out in the first quarter, Chris Juergens slipped behind Cougar defenders for a 52-yard scoring strike from QB Brock Huard to go up 6-0. The Cougar offense was shut out in the first half, but Washington native Owen Pochman kept BYU's NCAA record consecutive games without a shutout intact with a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter. UW placed the final nail in the coffin on the ensuing kickoff, when Butler rumbled for 98 yards with 12:30 left in the third quarter. Cougar defensive back Jason Walker snapped Huard's string of 90 passes without an interception when he hauled in a pair of picks. The Cougar defense stifled the preseason Heisman candidate, limiting him to 178 yards on 16-of-33 passing attempts. Despite six sacks, BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik posted like numbers, registering 169 yards on 16-of-33. With 4:24 remaining in the third quarter, Feterik mounted a 58-yard scoring drive, capped by a one-yard plunge through the middle. It was a case of too little, too late as the Huskies went on to a 20-10 win.
Pregame/Travel Information (Subject to Change)
Washington will arrive on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. The team will be staying at the Provo Marriott and will not hold practice on Wednesday. Access to players and coaches has been restricted. BYU will practice between 2:30 p.m. and 3 pm. at Cougar Stadium for approximately 30-45 minutes on Wednesday. Media and public access to coaches and players will be restricted until after Thursday's game.
Meet the Coaches
LaVell Edwards (28th season): BYU head coach LaVell Edwards enters his 28th season at the helm of the Cougar program. Edwards has produced all but one winning season since taking over the program in 1972, posting a 243-91-3 record during his tenure. Edwards' teams have passed for over 55 miles during his 27-year career, chalked up a National Championship in 1984 and was named college football's Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1984. He has coached two Outland Trophy winners, four Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 31 All-Americans, 11 conference Player of the Year recipients, 21 Academic All-Americans and has led the Cougars to seven NCAA single-season passing titles. Since 1972, Edwards has guided BYU to 21 postseason bowl appearances, including a string of 17 straight. Only Michigan, Alabama and Nebraska have laced together a string of more consecutive appearances. This week's game will mark the 155th home game for Edwards since becoming head coach in 1972. In 27 seasons, Edwards is 126-28 (.818) in Cougar Stadium. The former Utah State lineman ranks seventh in total victories on the NCAA's all-time list. Edwards needs 12 more wins to tie Nebraska's Tom Osborne for sixth. Among active coaches, Edwards ranks eighth with a 72.5 career winning percentage.
Rick Neuheisel (First season): Entering his first season at the helm of the Husky program, Rick Neuheisel makes his first-ever trip to Provo. Prior to taking over the Washington position, Neuheisel spent four seasons at Colorado where he posted a 33-14 record. Neuheisel is the 23rd head football coah at Washington and just the fourth Husky head coach in 42 seasons. Prior to the head coaching job at Colorado, Neuheisel spent six years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UCLA. He then moved to Boulder, serving as an assistant for one season under Bill McCartney. While at CU, the 38-year-old head coach posted a 3-0 record in postseason bowl games, all against PAC-10 opponents. Neuheisel is only the fourth coach in NCAA history to guide his first two teams to a pair of 10-win seasons.
Some Things Never Change
According to a recent survey of each Division-I program, BYU has one of the most experienced and stable coaching staffs in the nation. 1999 is the fifth year without a staff change for BYU, making it the most cohesive unit in the nation. Entering its fourth year as a unit, Penn State ranks second to the Cougars. BYU coaches have an average tenure of 15.5 years at BYU, the third-highest average in the nation behind Penn State (19.9) and Florida State (15.7).
ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week - The Talent
Thursday night's ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week telecast from Cougar Stadium will feature the network's first-ever three-man college football commentator team as studio analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will join Mike Tirico in the booth. Tirico, a 1988 Syracuse graduate, has handled Thursday Night Game of the Week duties for the past two seasons. One of TV's most versatile - and busiest - game and studio commentators, he's also a key part of ESPN's NFL Studio team, hosting Monday Night Countdown and co-hosting Sunday NFL Countdown with Chris Berman. Corso joined ESPN in 1987 as a game analyst, and moved into the studio in 1989. Known for his candid opinions, he has the knowledge of 28 years of coaching experience at the college and pro levels, including head coaching jobs at Louisville, Indiana, Northern Illinois and the Orlando Renegades of the USFL. Corso is a 1957 graduate of Florida State and is a member of the Seminole Hall of Fame. Herbstreit came to ESPN in 1995 as a college football sideline analyst and Arena League game analyst. A 1993 graduate of Ohio State, Herbstreit was a standout QB for the Buckeyes. The crew will be joined by Dr. Jerry Punch, who will be working the sidelines.
Cougars on National TV
Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 37-22-2 record while playing in front of a national audience, including a 22-13-2 mark on ESPN. BYU has been a regular on ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week in recent history, compiling a 7-2 overall record and a current three-game winning streak. Current assistant coach, Robbie Bosco, led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pitt in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast. 11years and one day from Thursday's ESPN broadcast, the Cougars recorded their largest margin of victory while playing on national television, defeating Texas, 72-6, on Sept. 8, 1988. Following is a breakdown of the Cougars record on a few of the national/regional networks:
ABC -- 20-14
CBS -- 3-1
NBC -- 2-2
ESPN -- 22-13-2
ESPN2 -- 2-2
Fox Sports -- 1-0
TBS -- 1-0
USA -- 0-1
In addition to being broadcast live on ESPN, Thursday's game can be heard over the radio waves both locally and across the nation. KSL, with veteran play-by-play announcer Paul James, Marc Lyons and Greg Wrubell, will broadcast the action throughout Utah, Idaho and southern Nevada, beginning at 5 p.m. (MDT). The Westwood One radio network will broadcast the game to a national radio audience with Joel Myers and former NFL star, James Lofton, calling the action. A real-time, play-by-play account of the game can also be viewed on the internet by clicking on www.byucougars.com. Finally, fans in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska can catch Fox Sports Northwest's re-broadcast of the game on Sunday. (Be sure to check local listings.)
A Winning Tradition
BYU posted its 24th straight winning season, following a 9-5 record in 1998. The Cougars have not had a losing season since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973 - LaVell Edwards' second season as head coach. The Cougars' streak of 24 straight winning seasons ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and is currently the second longest streak in the nation. Nebraska leads with an impressive 37 straight winning seasons. Thursday's opponent, Washington, ranks tied for third (Florida State) with a current streak of 22 straight winning season.
Home Field Advantage
BYU finished the 1998 season with a perfect 6-0 mark at Cougar Stadium. The Cougars outscored their opponents by a combined score of 212-93 at home last season, including a 13-0 shutout against San Diego State. BYU averaged 35.3 points at Cougar Stadium last season, while the Cougar defense held opponents to an average 15.5 points per contest. Since becoming head coach in 1972, LaVell Edwards' teams have posted 126 wins over 154 games (.818) in Provo. Since 1964, the year Cougar Stadium opened, BYU has had just two losing home seasons (0-5, 1968; 1-3, 1971). BYU is 149-44 (.772). Next season, BYU will host Mississippi State for hits home opener. That game will mark the 200th game played by BYU in Cougar Stadium.
The Streak Continues
BYU will look to extend its NCAA record 300 straight games without being shutout. The Cougars were last blanked in 1977 when Arizona State defeated BYU, 20-0. That loss still marks BYU head coach LaVell Edwards' only shutout in 27 seasons (337 games).
The BYU defense hopes to pick up where it left off last season. The 1998 Cougars ranked fifth nationally, allowing just 273.9 total yards per game. Last year's "D" also ranked fifth in run defense, giving up just 90.7 yards per game. Prior to last season, the best ranking for the Cougars came in 1986 when BYU finished the season ranked 10th nationally.
Pound by Pound
The BYU offensive line totals a whopping 1,490 pounds - that's the equivalent of over 5,960 quarter-pound hamburgers. The BYU offensive line averages 298 pounds, while the Husky defensive line averages 290 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars' front four averages nearly 274 pounds, while the Washington offensive line weighs in at a husky (no pun intended) 307 pounds.
Home, Season-Openers - A Rare Occurrence
Thursday's game will mark only the eighth time during the LaVell Edwards' era BYU has opened the season at home. During that span, BYU has posted a 4-4 record. 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-openers. In the 74-year history of the program, the Cougars have won their home, season-openers by an average of 5.9 points. While opening the season on the road, BYU has lost by an average 0.7 points. Note: BYU will take to the road again in 2000 to open the season. The Cougars will travel to Richmond to face Virginia.
For Whom the Whistle Blows - Get On Board!
During the summer, BYU athletic media relations' personnel distributed some 300 wooden train whistles to various media throughout the country, touting Rob "Freight Train" Morris for the prestigious Butkus Award - an honor given annually to college football's top linebacker. The whistles, which state, "It's Time to Toot His Horn", are a play off an interview between Morris and ABC's Dan Fouts. During the interview Morris told Fouts when he sacked a quarterback, it could be compared to "a freight train hitting a Yugo." The BYU season ticket campaign, "Get on Board", and several other promotions have centered around Morris' candidacy for the Butkus Award. During each home game, some 33,000 wooden train whistles will be blown every time BYU makes a good play or when Morris makes a tackle.
Feterik Named to Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award "Watch List"
Sixteen senior quarterbacks have been selected as candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation's top senior collegiate quarterback. The award is selected by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. Included among the elite list of candidates for the award are BYU's Kevin Feterik, who completed 202 of 336 passes as a junior for 2,718 yards and 16 touchdowns. Other candidates include, NC State's Jamie Barnette, Michigan's Tom Brady, West Virginia's Marc Bulger, Michigan State's Bill Burke and Jarious Jackson of Notre Dame, Giovanni Carmazzi (Hofstra), Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech), Todd Husack (Stanford), Doug Johnson (Florida), Tee Martin (Tennessee), Chad Pennington (Marshall), Tim Rattay (Louisiana Tech), Chris Redman (Louisville), Clint Stoerner (Arkansas) and Billy Volek (Fresno State). The 1999 winner will be announced on Nov. 24 with the award presentation to be made in Louisville on December 10. UCLA's Cade McNown won the award last season.
Brian Gray Named to Jim Thorpe Award "Watch List"
BYU senior Brian Gray has been named by the Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City, Okla., as a candidate for the 1999 Jim Thorpe Award. The Jim Thorpe Award is presented annually to the best defensive back in college football. Gray, a 6-2, 215-pound defensive back, is one of 37 names to appear on the "watch list". Other key players that will appear on the BYU schedule this season include, Rico Curtis of San Diego State, Al Rich of Wyoming and Brian Urlacher of New Mexico.
Men in Blue
The August 16th announcement of a uniform change at BYU means the first major change in Cougar football attire for nearly 30 years. Perhaps the most notable change in the BYU uniform is the re-introduction of the blue helmet, marking the first time since 1968 the Cougars have worn a blue helmet. Following is a year-by-year breakdown of the evolution of the BYU helmet:
1950-1954 -- Solid white helmet with a single blue stripe running down the center.
1955-1960 -- White helmet replaced with a plain, silver helmet.
1961-1963 -- Blue player numbers are added to the silver helmet.
1964-1965 - Silver helmet is replaced with solid blue helmet.
1966-1968 -- A blue "Y", surrounded by a white oval is placed on the helmet
1969 -- Traditional white helmet with blue and white decals is used for the next 30 years.
1970 -- "Cage loops", a Floyd Johnson invention, are added to the helmet.
1978 -- The oval was dropped and a solid blue "Y" was used on the helmet.
1978 -- Little blue stickers (Cougar heads) are used by players to designated top plays.
1979 -- After losing four games in 1978, blue oval with white "Y" returned to the helmet.
1993 -- Black is added as a third color on the helmet.
1994 -- Players vote to discontinue the use of the cougar-head stickers.
1998 -- Two black stripes, separated by a blue stripe is added to the crown of the helmet.
1999 -- (August 16) BYU unveils its new logo and colors, complete with new football uniforms and helmets. A darker shade of blue and white become the official colors of the University, with tan serving as the primary accent color. The re-birth of the blue helmet in 1999 is the first time BYU has worn a different color, other than white, for over 30 years. The new logo on the side of the helmet, similar to the traditional side decal, is the first new design used on a BYU helmet since 1978. The new uniforms represent a new and flashy look, never before used on the collegiate playing field. The new-look uniforms and helmets represent the first major uniform change under the LaVell Edwards era.
Averaging 62,702 fans per game during the 1998 season, the Cougars ranked 22nd nationally. (Michigan led the nation with 110, 965 fans per game.) 376,210 fans passed through the gates at Cougar Stadium last season, ranking tops among Conference opponents. Of all the Division I-A schools in the west, BYU finished behind only Washington (71,356) and UCLA (73,709) in average, per-game attendance. Listed as the "greatest home schedule ever", attendance is expected to be especially high. BYU is 27-6 in Cougar Stadium in sellouts vs. conference opponents and 10-5 at home in sellouts vs. non-conference foes. From Nov. 11, 1989 to Oct. 31, 1992, BYU posted 19 straight sell-outs. Since Cougar Stadium was expanded to 65,000 in 1982, BYU has recorded 46 sellouts over 101 game. With less than 2,000 seats available one week prior to the game, Thursday's contest against Washington is expected to be a sellout.
On This Day (September 9)
Since 1922, BYU has played just twice on September 9th. The Cougars are 1-1 on this date, including a 10-6 win over Oregon State in 1978. The only other game played on September 9th was a 23-9 loss to UCLA in 1995. Interestingly enough, the only two games played on September 9th have been against PAC-10 opponents. Thursday's game against Washington will mark the third September 9th game played against a PAC-10 opponent.
Better Late than Never
Thursday's game marks the latest start for BYU since 1983 when the Cougars lost their season opener, 40-36, at Baylor on Sept. 10. Thursday's game also marks the latest season-opener at Cougar Stadium since the 1977 season when BYU handed Kansas State a 39-0 defeat on Sept. 10. In 1996, BYU had already posted a 2-0 record before Sept. 9th ever rolled around. The latest start in BYU football history came in 1925, when the Cougars opened the season at Colorado A&M on October 10.
All in the Family
There are four sets of brothers listed on the 1999 BYU football roster. They include Brandon (QB) and Cliff (WR) Doman, Rob (DB) and Justin (DB) Warcup, Luke (RB) and Dustin (DB) Staley and Kalani (FB) and TJ (DL) Sitake. The family tradition continues with freshman receiver Chris Hale and his father, athletics director Val Hale. Defensive line coach Tom Ramage is joined by his son, offensive lineman Corey Ramage.
Out With the Old, In With the New
After some 36 years in the Western Athletic Conference, the Cougars joined seven other former members of the WAC and created the new Mountain West Conference, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Cougars, along with Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State, Utah, UNLV, New Mexico and Wyoming became founding members of the Mountain West Conference, which began operation on July 1, 1999. Shortly after the league began operations, Commissioner Craig Thompson announced a multi-year television package with the nation's sports leader, ESPN. In addition, the Conference has announced two guaranteed bowl bids. The league champion will take on Conference USA champion at the AXA/Equitable Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. The MWC runner-up will travel to Las Vegas to take on a WAC opponent at the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl.
Cougars Picked to Win First-Ever MWC Title
In a vote of selected media and Mountain West head coaches, BYU has been tapped the preseason favorite to claim the league's first football championship. BYU received five of the eight first-place votes in the coaches' poll, while the Cougars tallied 35 of 49 first-place votes in the media poll.
In the Future
Following is a look at some of BYU's future non-conference opponents: Virginia -- Georgia Tech -- Mississippi State -- Stanford -- Syracuse -- USC -- California -- Notre Dame -- UCLA -- Nevada -- North Carolina -- Utah State -- Florida State -- Washington
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