Weekly Football Release vs. Texas Tech
Aug. 27, 2000
August 27, 2000
Game #1 at Texas Tech
Sat., Sept. 2, 5 p.m. (MST)
Jones Stadium (50,500)
Radio: KVNU (610 AM), Logan KVFX (94.5 FM), Logan KWLW (700 AM), SLC Internet: www.utahstateaggies.com
USU Tickets: 1-888-U-STATE-1 or (435) 797-0305
USU SID: Mike Strauss (435) 797-1361
TT SID: Chris Cook (806) 742-2770
* * * * *
2000 Utah State (0-0, 0-0)
Sept. 2 at Texas Tech 5:00
Sept. 9 SO. UTAH 7:05
Sept. 23 at Arizona State 8:00
Sept. 30 UTAH 3:05
Oct. 6 (Fri) at Brigham Young 7:05
Oct. 14 at North Texas* 1:35
Oct. 21 IDAHO* 3:05
Oct. 28 ARKANSAS ST.* 3:05
Nov. 4 at N.M. State* 6:00
Nov. 11 at Boise State* 1:05
Nov. 18 IDAHO STATE 3:05
(All times are Mountain)
2000 Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0)
W 24-3 NEW MEXICO
Sept. 2 UTAH STATE
Sept. 9 NORTH TEXAS
Sept. 16 UL-LAFAYETTE
Sept. 30 at Texas A&M
Oct. 7 BAYLOR
Oct. 14 NEBRASKA
Oct. 21 at Kansas State
Oct. 28 at Kansas
Nov. 4 TEXAS
Nov. 11 OKLAHOMA STATE
Nov. 18 at Oklahoma
Weekly Press Conferences
Logan -- Mondays, 11:30 a.m. at the Coppermill Restaurant
Salt Lake City (Big Five Huddle) Tues., Green Street, 11:30 a.m. * * * * *
USU On The Air
Play-by-Play - Al Lewis Analysis - Chris Tunis KVNU (610 AM) Logan KVFX (94.5 FM), Logan KWLW (700 AM), Salt Lake City Web: www.utahstateaggies.com * Mick Dennehy Radio Show (KVNU), Thursday, 6 p.m. Web: www.utahstateaggies.com * Aggie Update Radio Show (KVNU), Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. Web: www.utahstateaggies.com * * * * *
USU On The Web
www.UtahStateAggies.com * * * * *
Preseason Big West Polls
Big West Coaches Poll 1. Boise State 25 (5) 2. Idaho 18 (1) 3. New Mexico State 18 4. Arkansas State 15 5. North Texas 8 6. UTAH STATE 6
Big West Media Poll 1. Boise State 169 (26) 2. New Mexico State 131 (2) 3. Idaho 124 (1) 4. UTAH STATE 66 5. Arkansas State 63 6. North Texas 53 * * * * *
2000 Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl Big West Champion vs. Western Athletic Conf. selection Boise, Idaho, Dec. 28, 1 p.m.
QUICKLY -- Utah State will open its 103rd season of collegiate football with the debut of new head coach Mick Dennehy when the Aggies travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Big 12 opponent Texas Tech... No Aggie head coach has won his first game at USU since Phil Krueger led the Aggies to a 10-3 win at Weber State in 1973 (Dennehy is the seventh coach since then)... USU has lost each of its last two season openers (lost to Utah in 1998 and at Georgia in 1999) after opening the year with victories in 1996 (vs. Utah) and 1997 (at Utah)... The game against Texas Tech marks just the third time in the last seven years the Aggies have not opened the year against Utah (lost at Arkansas State in 1995 and at Georgia in 1999)... Utah State will be playing a team with a winning record at game time for the 19th time in its last 24 games... USU is 0-1 in known games on Sept. 2 in its history (L 21-17 at Arkansas State in 1995) and has played just five games in its history prior to Sept. 3.
ON THE AIR -- All Utah State football games are carried on the Aggie Radio Network with Al "Lubbock or lose it" Lewis handling the play-by-play chores and Chris "Two-Step" Tunis providing analysis. The games are carried on KVNU (610 AM) and KVFX (94.5 FM) in Logan and KWLW (700 AM) in Salt Lake City as well as through USU's web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com. There is no television scheduled for the Texas Tech game.
MEDIA SERVICES -- All Utah State player and coach interview requests should be made through the Athletic Media Relations Office by calling Mike Strauss at (435) 797-1361. Interviews should be completed by Wednesday each week. Information about Utah State football can be obtained in several ways, including the internet (www.UtahStateAggies.com), Fax-on-Demand, e-mail, fax, or simply by calling us. Information will be updated as quickly as possible on all of the systems each week. See the left column on page two for information on USU's weekly press conferences.
AGGIE TRAVEL PLANS (our travel agent said it would be nice there this time of year) -- Utah State will leave Logan at 1:30 p.m. and bus to Salt Lake City to fly a charter plane to Lubbock on Friday. The Aggies will arrive in Lubbock at 5 p.m. and head to the stadium for a light workout. The Friday practice session is closed, but media can meet with Mick Dennehy prior to the workout. USU will make its Lubbock home at the Four Points Sheraton at (806) 747-0171 on Friday night.
UP NEXT -- Utah State will return to Logan to host its home opener when the Aggies meet Southern Utah for the first time in history. It will be the only night home game for USU this season (7:05 p.m.) as the Aggies will kickoff at 3:05 p.m. in each of its other four home games. The game is designated as Aggie Family Day. Season tickets are available by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-U-STATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Mick Dennehy coached against three division I schools while at I-AA Montana, defeating Oregon State 35-14 in 1996, losing 28-13 at Wyoming in 1997 and losing 33-30 against Idaho in 1999.
COACH MICK DENNEHY -- In his first year at Utah State is Mick Dennehy (Montana, 1973), who was hired on Dec. 3, 1999. He compiled a 39-12 record in four years at Montana and his 76.5 winning percentage is the best at the school for coaches with more than two years. Dennehy played safety at Montana in 1971 and 1972. Prior to assuming the head coaching role at Montana, he served as the school's offensive coordinator for five seasons, producing one of the nation's top offenses. Before going to Montana, Dennehy revived the program at Western Montana, which had dropped football in 1987. In three years he improved the team from a 1-6 record to a 5-3 mark.
Year School Overall Pct. Conf. Pct. Notes 1988 West. Montana 1-6 .143 1-5/5th .167 Revived Program 1989 West. Montana 4-4 .500 2-4/4th .333 1990 West. Montana 5-3 .625 3-3/3rd .500 1996 Montana 14-1 .933 8-0/1st 1.00 3-1 (2nd in I-AA) 1997 Montana 8-4 .667 6-2/2nd .750 0-1 in playoffs 1998 Montana 8-4 .667 6-2/1st .750 0-1 in playoffs 1999 Montana 9-3 .750 7-1/1st 1.00 0-1 in playoffs 2000 Utah State 0-0 .000 0-0 .000 24th head coach Western Montana (3 yrs.) 10-13 .435 6-12 .333 Revived Program Montana (4 yrs.) 39-12 .765 27-5 .844 Four playoffs Utah State (1st yr.) 0-0 .000 0-0 .000 Division I debut Totals (8th year) 49-25 .662 33-17 .660 3-4 in playoffs
THE USU-TT SERIES -- Utah State and Texas Tech will be meeting for the second time in history as the Red Raiders claimed a 58-20 win at Lubbock in the 1996 season. Utah State is 9-36-1 all-time against current members of the Big 12 Conference and has met every league school except Texas A&M. In the last 10 years USU has played against Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Colorado. USU's last win against a member of that conference was a 28-16 win against Kansas State in 1992 (0-5 since then). Mick Dennehy has never coached against Texas Tech or a member of the Big 12 Conference.
USU-TT IN 1996 -- Utah State pulled within 28-20 and had the ball in the third quarter before Texas Tech erupted for 30 points in the next 10 minutes to blast the Aggies 58-20 in the teams' only previous meeting in 1996. Both teams ran up 434 yards of total offense, but six USU turnovers were costly. USU's Abu Wilson rushed for 104 yards against the then 12th-best rushing defense in the country, but Tech's Byron Hanspard bolted his way to 224 yards rushing. Two Aggies caught passes for more than 100 yards as Nakia Jenkins had 114 yards and Steve Smith added 109 yards in receptions. Current Aggies that were on that USU team include QB Brian Benza, PK Brad Bohn, LB Blake Eagal, OC Matt Jenkins, DB Aminifu Johnson, WR Aaron Jones, and LB Brent Passey. All of those players redshirted that season as true freshmen.
USU-TT CONNECTIONS -- Utah State has two players on its roster from the state of Texas in WR Adam Colbert (Dallas) and DB Desmond Watson (Richardson). Current USU director of academic services Brian Evans worked at Texas Tech for three years prior to coming to Utah State. In addition USU SID Mike Strauss worked with several Texas Tech employees at Oklahoma State including Steve Uryasz and Matt Pickering. Tech head coach Mike Leach is familiar with the state of Utah having graduated from Brigham Young in 1983. Offensive line coach Robert Anae is a BYU graduate, defensive line coach Ron Harris coached at Utah in 1990 and 1991 and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Greg McMackin coached at Utah from 1990-92 and coached current USU secondary coach Derrick Odum there.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Utah State has won four straight games against schools from the state of Texas, beating North Texas and Stephen F. Austin last year and North Texas and Sam Houston State in 1998.
IN THE POLLS -- Here is a look at where USU's 2000 opponents have been ranked in the Associated Press polls this year:
Texas Tech 43
Arizona State 47
Brigham Young 41
FAKE STUFF (and we aren't talking about professional wrestling) -- Utah State will play on the artificial turf at Texas Tech marking the first of three games this year on the fake stuff (also at North Texas and Boise State). Utah State won its last game on artificial turf beating North Texas 34-7 in the final game of 1999. That snapped a seven-game losing streak on astro turf.
FIRST PLAY EXPERIENCE (or don't be so nervous you throw up on the football) -- Utah State lists 16 players on its active roster that have ever started a game at the Logan school. Only seven of those players have started at least 10 games in their careers, including LB Blake Eagal, who has started a team-high 23 games. Only three Aggies enter the contest with more than two consecutive starts in LB Brent Passey (22), QB Jeff Crosbie (15) and OG Jess Schuck (11). (A complete list of starts can be found later in this release).
A DEEPER LOOK AT DEPTH (or the horrified onlookers looked on in horror) -- Based on the depth chart heading into this week's season opener, Utah State could start: * Just seven returning starters from a year ago. * 11 players that have ever started at Utah State. * 12 players that could make their Utah State starting debut. * Eight seniors, 10 juniors, four sophomores, two freshmen (depending on alignment).
BUT IT IS A DRY HEAT (and other lies) -- Last year Utah State opened the season in the heat and humidity of Athens, Ga. as the kickoff temperature was 92 degrees in that game against Georgia. That matched the highest kickoff temperature for an Aggie game in the 1990s (92 at Utah in 1997 and 92 at Baylor in 1992). The highest known kickoff temperature for a USU game was 103 degrees at Arizona State in 1983. By the way, USU will play at Arizona State on Sept. 23.
WHAT DOES A WIN MEAN? -- A Utah State victory in its season opener has set the tone for successful seasons in the past. The last three times USU has won its season lid-lifter (I only get to work that term in once a year) the Aggies have gone on to win at least six games. Utah State opened the 1993 season with a win at then-called Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana Lafayette) and went 7-5, defeated Utah in 1996 and went 6-5 and beat Utah again in 1997 and went 6-6. Each of the last six times USU has opened the year with a loss, the Aggies have posted a losing record. USU lost its 1990 opener but still went 5-5-1.
ON THE OTHER HAND -- Unlike groundhogs seeing their shadows on Feb. 2, a season-opening loss does not necessarily forecast doom for the entire season for Utah State. When losing the season opener USU has still bounced back to post a .500 or better conference record in eight of the last 10 such situations.
GRAND CENTRAL -- Utah State will play the first of two games this season in the Central time zone (at North Texas on Oct. 14). The Aggies are 1-6 in that time zone since winning 7-3 at Louisiana Tech in 1994, including a win in their last visit into the nation's third-favorite time zone (defeated North Texas in last year's finale).
BIG WEST GETTING UNDERWAY -- All six Big West schools will be in action this week, including North Texas hosting Big 12 opponent Baylor on Thursday, August 31. Other league action includes Arkansas State at North Carolina State, New Mexico State at South Carolina, Boise State at New Mexico, and Idaho at Washington, all on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE NOTES -- Utah State returns five starters on offense... USU averaged 176.5 yards per game rushing last year for the best mark since 1975 (184.4)... USU's 196.2 yards per game passing last year were the fewest since 1989... USU scored 30-plus points in each of its final two games last year to record at least 30 points in consecutive games for the first time since the end of 1997.
DEFENSIVE NOTES -- Utah State returns just three starters as Tony Newson will redshirt the year due to shoulder problems... USU allowed the opponent only 14 rushing touchdowns last year and the last time the opponents scored fewer rushing touchdowns was 1986 (12)... USU allowed North Texas just seven points in the season finale, the fewest points the Aggies had allowed since Oct. 18, 1997 (beat New Mexico State 38-7).
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES -- Utah State returns its kicker, punter and top return man... Last year Utah State was one of just four schools (Kentucky, Wisconsin and Oklahoma) in the country to rank in the top 25 in the three special teams statistical categories kept by the NCAA (22nd in net punting, 13th in punt returns and 24th in kickoff returns.).. The Aggies led the Big West in punt and kickoff returns and ranked third in net punting a year ago
USU NOTE-ABLE -- Utah State's 2000 schedule includes eight teams with winning records in 1999, as well as four schools, which went to bowl games (Arizona State, Brigham Young, Boise State and Utah)... The Aggies will meet teams from the Pac-10 (Arizona State), Big XII (Texas Tech) and Mountain West (Brigham Young and Utah) as well as Southern Utah and Idaho State in non-conference action... The 2000 opponents combined for a 68-57 (.544) record in 1999... USU will end its season with a non-conference game (Idaho State) for the first time since 1990 (Brigham Young)... Junior QB Jeff Crosbie enters the year ranked ninth in USU career passing yards (3,118), eighth in career completions (252) and one shy of 10th in career touchdown passes (18) heading into the season... Senior PK Brad Bohn is already first in career field goals made (45) and attempted (69) and fourth in scoring (214 and needs just 35 points for first), third in extra points made (79) and second in extra points attempted (88)... On the Big West career chart, Bohn is fourth with 45 field goals made... No USU first-year head coach has had a winning record in his first season at Logan since Phil Krueger went 7-4 in 1973 (six coaches since then)... For just the first time since 1990, Utah State will play a game without former assistant coach Nate Kaczor on the sideline as he is now coaching at Nebraska-Kearney. Kaczor, who also played at USU in 1988 and 1989, was an assistant at Missouri Western in 1990.
DID YOU KNOW? -- The Big West Conference schedule will include just five games and USU has won four league games in six of the seven years the Big West has had just six teams (1978, 79, 80, 81, 96 and 97).
DID YOU KNOW? -- Utah State will be opening the season against an opponent that has already played one game. That has not happened in at least 10 years at Utah State.
INDEPENDENCE DAY -- While this is the final year of the Big West Conference it is also the final year of Utah State's 22-year streak of playing in a conference as the Aggies will be an independent in 2000. It will not be the first time Utah State has not been affiliated with a conference in football as the Aggies were independent for a 16-year stretch from 1962-77 after a 23-year affiliation with with the Mountain States/Skyline Conference from 1938-61. In addition, USU was not a member of a conference from 1892-1937. Here is a closer look at USU's history since joining a conference in 1938:
Conf. Years Conference Seasons Record Champ Bowls 1938-1961 Mntn. States/Skyline 23 101-113 3 4 1962-1977 Independent 16 99-66 N/A 0 1978-pres. PCAA/Big West 22 103-138 5 2
MORE ON INDEPENDENTS -- In the year 2000, eight schools will play as independents. In 2001, Utah State will join Central Florida, Connecticut, Navy and Notre Dame as independents. Here is a look:
2000 Independents 2001 Affiliation
Central Florida Independent
Connecticut Independent (Big East in 2005)
Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt
Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt
Louisiana Tech Sun Belt
Middle Tennessee State Sun Belt
Notre Dame Independent
Utah State Quick Facts Basic Offense: One Back Basic Defense: 4-3 Returning Starters: 10 (5 offense, 3 defense, 2 special teams) Returning Lettermen: 36 (15 offense, 19 defense, 2 special teams) Lettermen Lost: 29 (17 offense, 12 defense, 0 special teams)
All-Big West Selections Lost 1st Team -- 3 (RB Demario Brown, OT Ben Holbrook, FS Donald Dicko) 2nd Team -- 4 (TE Bucky Orton, OG Mike Lindsay, DT Vaea Fiefia, CB Vashon Garmon) Hon. Men. -- 1 (DT Doug Madoski)
MORE AT USU -- In addition to Utah State football beginning the season on Saturday, several other Aggie athletic teams will be in action this weekend.
Thur., Aug. 31 -- WOMEN'S SOCCER VS. UNLV, 4 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Sept. 1-2 -- Volleyball at Washington State Tournament Sat., Sept. 2 -- Men's and Women's Cross Country at Idaho State Mon., Sept. 4 -- WOMEN'S SOCCER VS. IOWA, 11 a.m. (NOTE: UNLV and Iowa will play women's soccer at Logan on Sept. 2 at noon)
Utah State's 2000 Honors Candidates
PK Brad Bohn... Made 12-of-26 field goals in 1999, including a career-long 55-yarder against Brigham Young... In 1998 he was a first-team all-Big West kicker... Led the league and was second in the NCAA in field goals made per game as he set a Big West and school record for field goals in a season with 24 (on 28 attempts)... Those 24 field goals also tied for the ninth most in a season in NCAA history... His 85.7 percent was the second best in USU history... Was second in the league in scoring and 28th nationally.
OLB Blake Eagal... Earned second-team all-Big West honors in 1999 and was named the league's defensive player-of-the-week for his efforts against North Texas... Against UNT he had 11 tackles... On the year he was second on the team with 109 tackles and his 9.9 tackles per game ranked sixth in the Big West... Had eight tackles for loss, including one sack... Scored a touchdown on a blocked punt against North Texas... Was an academic all-Big West and second-team academic all-district selection.
WR Aaron Jones... Finished the year 22nd in the nation in receptions with 54 catches... That total ranked second in the Big West, while his 653 receiving yards were third in the league... Had four touchdowns and a long of 87 on the year... Played in just nine games, missing the final two contests with an injury... Had three 100-yard receiving games in the first four contests of the year.
P Steve Mullins... Earned The Sporting News Freshman All-America team honors after averaging 42.3 yards per punt... That average was 29th in the NCAA... Had a long punt of 70 yards and dropped nine inside the 20 on the year... Had at least one 50-yard punt in eight-of-11 games on the year.
MLB Tony Newson (REDSHIRTING THIS SEASON)... Earned second-team all-Big West honors and first-team all-league honors by the Football News in 1999... His 10.6 tackles per game were third in the Big West... Was fourth on the team in tackles with 95, while playing in just nine games due to a shoulder injury... Had five stops for loss, including two sacks... Recorded 21 tackles against Idaho.
OLB Brent Passey... A two-time first-team all-Big West selection (1998 and 1999)... Led the Big West with a 12.9 tackles per game average in 1999... Had 142 stops on the year, including 10 for loss... Also had two interceptions, forced three fumbles and broke up five passes... Twice recorded at least 20 tackles in a game with 23 against New Mexico State and 22 at Kansas State... Recorded double-figure tackle totals in nine of 11 games on the season... In 1998 he was second on the team in tackles with 107.
OG Jess Schuck... Started all 11 games at left guard as just a sophomore in 1999.
CB Tony Walker... A second-team all-Big West selection as a return man in 1998... In 1999 he played cornerback, backup wide receiver and returned punts and kickoffs... Defensively he had 37 tackles, one interception and six passes broken up... Offensively he caught two passes, with one catch for 21 yards at Utah and one for eight yards against Arkansas State... As a return man he had six punt returns for a 4.8 average and 12 kickoff returns for a 23.3 average... In 1998 he led the team with two interceptions and recorded 28 tackles on the year... In 1998 he ranked 19th in the NCAA in kickoff returns.
Ret/RB/WR Emmett White... Saw action at both running back and wide receiver... Earned first-team all-Big West honors as a return man as he ranked ninth in the NCAA in punt returns (15.0 average) and 27th in kickoff returns (23.9)... He rushed nine times on the year for 53 yards and a 5.9 average... He caught three passes for 44 yards and a 14.7 average.
Utah State Depth Chart (as of August 27, 2000)
LT 79 Jim Newton (6-10, 294, So., 1L) 76 Eric Gwilliam (6-5, 257, Jr., JC)
LG 67 Jess Schuck (6-2, 305, Jr., 2L) 78 Luis Trujillo (6-2, 310, So., RS)
WR 9 Aaron Jones (5-11, 180, Sr., 3L) (X) 80 Michael Brignac (6-2, 190, Fr., HS)
Hero 44 Brent Passey (6-1, 227, Sr., 3L) 40 Justin Oswald (5-8, 206, Sr., 1L)
Mac 47 Blake Eagal (6-2, 231, Sr., 3L) 21 Nathan Barber (6-2, 220, Jr., JC)
LC 10 Adebolah Jimoh (6-1, 185, So., 1L) 22 Malcom Moore (5-10, 175, Jr., JC)
RC 1 Tony Walker (5-11, 183, Jr., 2L) 29 Shaun Healy (5-7, 167, Sr., 1L)
P 12 Steve Mullins (6-4, 226, So., 1L) 18 Brian Benza (6-2, 205, Sr., 1L)
PK 26 Brad Bohn (5-7, 178, Sr., 3L) 87 Dane Kidman (5-10, 178, So., SQ)
H 7 Jeff Crosbie (6-5, 198, Jr., 2L)
1L = one varsity letter, HS= High School experience, JC=Junior College, RS= Redshirt, SQ=Squad, TR=Transfer