Utah State Football To Visit National Power Nebraska
Complete release on PDF or on USU website at www.UtahStateAggies.com
September 1, 2002
Game 2 at #9 Nebraska Sat., Sept. 7, 5 p.m. (Mountain) Memorial Stadium (73,918) Lincoln, Neb.
Weekly Press Conference Mondays, 11:30 a.m. at Coppermill Restaurant (exceptions are Aug. 26 at Stan Laub Indoor Training Center and Sept. 2 at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (third floor)
* * * * *
Interviews All Utah State player and coach interview requests should be made through Mike Strauss at least one day in advance. Player interviews should be completed no later than Wednesday on game week. Coach Dennehy is usually available weekdays between 10 a.m. and noon mountain time.
* * * * *
USU On The Air * Game Broadcasts Play-by-Play - Al Lewis Analyst - Craig Hislop 610 AM (Logan) 94.5 FM (Logan) 98.3 FM (Salt Lake City) 106.3 FM (Ogden) 104.7 FM (Utah County) 102.3 FM (Bear Lake) 105.5 FM (Randolph) www.UtahStateAggies.com * Mick Dennehy Radio Show Thursdays, 6 p.m. * Aggie Weekly Radio Show Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. * Mick Dennehy on KFNZ Tuesdays, 6:05 p.m. * * * * *QUICKLY - After opening the season with a 23-3 loss against Utah, the Aggies (0-1) will travel to Nebraska (2-0) on Saturday... The Huskers are ranked ninth in the AP and eighth in the USA Today poll as of August 26... USU is making its fifth visit to a Big XII school in the last seven years... USU will play on artificial turf for the first time in 14 games (13 straight on natural grass)... USU is 2-10 in night games in the Mick Dennehy era... USU is 3-9 on the road in the Dennehy era and has lost two straight away from Logan since winning at Connecticut on Nov. 10, 2001... USU's first six opponents this year are a combined 7-0 through games of August 31, while the final five opponents are a combined 1-5.
ON THE AIR -- All Utah State football games are carried on the Aggie Radio Network with Al "Mr. Omaha Steaks" Lewis handling the play-by-play duties and Craig "Steak Fries" Hislop providing analysis. Saturday's game will not be televised.
TRAVEL PLANS -- Utah State will charter a flight from the Salt Lake City Airport and arrive in Lincoln for a 1:30 p.m. practice in Memorial Stadium. Coach Dennehy will be available for the media prior to practice and the first 15 minutes of practice will be open to the media. USU will headquarter at the Omaha Marriot Hotel. Mike Strauss and Doug Hoffman will represent the Media Relations Department on the trip.
LAST TIME OUT -- A closely contested game for three quarters turned into a 23-3 victory for Utah as the Utes scored 16 points in the game's final quarter. Utah State limited Utah to 240 yards of total offense through three quarters before the Utes ran up 207 yards and scored on their first three possessions of the final quarter. Utah State could not get its offense untracked as the Aggies punted 10 times in the game and could only manage a field goal on a 60-yard drive at the end of the first half. Utah held the ball 37:03, including 13:42 in the final quarter to go on to its fifth straight win in the series. Kevin Curtis led the USU offensive effort with six receptions for 98 yards, while Chris Stallworth pulled in six balls for 31 yards. LB Jesse Busta was credited with 12 tackles andS Jamar Glasper added 11 stops. USU rushed for minus nine yards, the first time the Aggies did not record positive rushing yards since rushing for minus seven against Kansas State in 1999.
GAME TIME CHANGE -- Utah State's game at Iowa on Sept. 21 has been moved to a 1:40 p.m. mountain time kickoff.
OPPONENTS IN THE POLLS -- USU will face six different opponents that are receiving votes in the preseason polls: Nebraska (10 AP/8 USA Today), Brigham Young (40/31), Utah (40/38), Boise State (44/51), Middle Tennessee (50/--), Iowa (--/49). Four of USU's first six games are against teams that played in bowl games last year.
UP NEXT -- Utah State will return to Logan to host Idaho State on Sept. 14 at 7:05 p.m. in the Aggies' only home game in the month of September. USU is 10-2 all-time against the Bengals and rallied from a 27-0 deficit midway through the third quarter last year to win 28-27.
COACH MICK DENNEHY - In his third 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 that school for coaches with more than two years. His five wins in his first year at Utah State tied for the best mark by a first-year Aggie coach since Phil Krueger won seven games in 1973 (Dennehy is the seventh coach since then). In 2001 he guided the Aggies in their first independent schedule since 1977. The Aggies played four top-25 teams and five bowl teams in 2001. Realizing the improvement USU was making on and off the field, Dennehy was rewarded with a two-year contract extension on Nov. 30, 2001 which will keep him in Logan through 2005. 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. In Dennehy's nine years overall at Montana, the Grizzlies ranked in the top four in the country in passing offense every year and in the top five in scoring and total offense in five of his last seven seasons. 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 Nat'l Runners-up 1997 Montana 8-4 .667 6-2/2nd .750 0-1 in playoffs 1998 Montana 8-4 .667 6-2/1st .750 Big Sky Champ. 1999 Montana 9-3 .750 7-1/1st .875 Big Sky Champ. 2000 Utah State 5-6 .455 4-1/2nd .800 1 win from bowl 2001 Utah State 4-7 .364 N/A N/A Played 4 top 25 2002 Utah State 0-1 .000 N/A N/A Western Montana (3 yrs.) 10-13 .435 6-12 .333 Revived Program Montana (4 years) 39-12 .765 27-5 .844 Four playoffs Utah State (3rd year) 9-14 .391 4-1 .800 50th career win Totals (10th year) 58-39 .598 37-18 .673 3-4 in playoffsUSU UNDER DENNEHY * USU is 9-8 vs. unranked teams in Dennehy's two years. * In his two years at USU, the Aggies have recorded the school's all-time attendance average record (21,784 in 2001) and fourth-best average (19,910 in 2000). The record in 2001 came without the benefit of playing Utah or BYU at home. * USU has produced four of the top 10 all-time total offense games in school history in his two years, including a school-record tying 684 yards against Weber State in 2001. * USU has also produced three of the top five best passing games in school history in Dennehy's two years. * USU has produced two Associated Press third-team All-Americans in his two years as all-purpose runner Emmett White earned the honor in 2000 and wide receiver Kevin Curtis was named in 2001. The last time USU had an AP All-America selection was 1988 when Kendal Smith also earned third team honors. * USU has had two NCAA individual statistical champions in his tenure as White led the country in all-purpose yardage in 2000 (238.9) and Curtis led the nation in receptions in 2001 (9.1 per game). Previously USU's last national statistical leader was Louie Giammona, who led the country in all-purpose yardage (185.9) in 1975. * The football team's grade-point average has improved steadily.
THE USU-NEBRASKA SERIES -- Yipes... Nebraska leads 6-0 with all six meetings coming in Lincoln... The Aggies last visited Nebraska's capital city in 1991 and lost 59-28... Nebraska has outscored Utah State 283-80 (47.2-13.3) in the previous six games... USU is 9-37-1 all-time against current members of the Big XII Conference and has played every team with the exception of Texas A&M... In the last six years USU has played at Oklahoma State (1996), at Colorado (1998), at Kansas State (1999), and at Texas Tech (2000)... Mick Dennehy has never coached against Nebraska in his career.
USU-NEBRASKA LAST TIME -- Utah State put some numbers up statistically, but they were not enough to overcome the 14th-ranked Huskers as Nebraska won 59-28 at Lincoln on Sept. 7, 1991. In that game USU's Ron Lopez threw for 373 yards for the fourth most passing yards allowed by the Huskers in school history, while Rod Moore's 220 receiving yards were the second most ever against NU As a team, USU piled up 421 yards of total offense. The Huskers jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Aggies scored in the first quarter to trail 17-7. A third quarter rally cut the Nebraska margin to 31-20 before the Huskers powered to the victory. The game was suspended in the fourth quarter for 19 minutes due to a lightning delay.
USU-NEBRASKA NOTE-ABLE -- This year will mark the seventh time in seven meetings that Nebraska has been ranked when the Aggies have met the Huskers... NU was ranked first in 1971, second in 1987 and 1988 and fourth in 1966 for its top marks in the poll at game time... Utah State's basketball team played in the Bob Devaney Center in the 1988 NCAA Tournament, losing to Vanderbilt in the first round... OT Jim Newton was born in Omaha, Neb., but went to high school in California... USU Assistant AD/Student Services Brian Evans grew up in North Platte, Neb... His assistant Leslie Barnes is also from Nebraska... Nebraska play-by-play announcer Jim Rose teamed with USU SID Mike Strauss for an Oklahoma State basketball radio broadcast in 1989 when Strauss was at OSU.
BIG CROWD AGAIN -- As Utah State heads to Lincoln to play in the 250th consecutive sellout at Nebraska (capacity 73,918), here is a look at the largest crowds USU has played in front of:
1. 87,756 at LSU, 2001 2. 86,117 at Georgia, 1999 3. 76,233 at Nebraska, 1988 4. 76,115 at Nebraska, 1991 5. 75,953 at Nebraska, 1979CROWDED AT HOME AS WELL -- Last Saturday's home game against Utah drew 30,757 fans to Romney Stadium, 500 more than capacity, for the fourth largest crowd in school history.
ANOTHER RANKED OPPONENT -- Last year Utah State played a school record four opponents that were ranked at game time in #13 LSU, #6 Oregon, #18 Brigham Young and #21 Fresno State. Utah State is 1-35 all-time against teams ranked in the top 25 with its lone win a 20-19 win against Fresno State in 1991. The Aggies have lost 10 straight against top 25 teams since that victory. All-time USU is 0-16 against teams in the top 10, including 0-8 against teams in the top five.
DID YOU KNOW? - Nebraska's first six games are all against schools with "State" in their name.
ALL-AMERICA CANDIDATES -- Utah State boasts two legitimate All-America candidates in wide receiver Kevin Curtis and punter Steve Mullins. Last year Curtis led the nation every week of the season in receptions and finished the year with 100 catches (9.1 per game) for 1,531 yards. Mullins, who was fourth in the country with a school record average of 44.1 yards per punt, is the top returnee in the country. Last year Curtis earned third-team All-America honors by the Associated Press, while The Football News named Mullins an honorable mention selection.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES -- Here is a look at several national publications' All-America and all-Independent teams:
The Sporting News All-America -- Steve Mullins (2nd)
Athlon All-America -- Kevin Curtis (3rd)
Lindy's Receiver Rankings -- Kevin Curtis (18th)
Street & Smith's Kevin Curtis Independent Player of the Year
Phil Steele's Receiver Rankings -- Kevin Curtis (20th) Punter Rankings -- Steve Mullins (15th) Inside Linebackers -- Jesse Busta (28th) All-Independent -- 1st - Jose Fuentes, Kevin Curtis, Jim Newton, Jesse Busta, Steve Mullins; 2nd - Trevor Hutton, Nate Putnam; 3rd - Mark Estelle, Jamar Glasper, Roger (Fernandez) Robinson
FUENTES SETTING RECORDS -- Here is a look at QB Jose Fuentes' USU records:
USU Records Already Established
Season Pass Completions Per Game - 23.6 in 2001
Season Consecutive Pass Attempts Without An Interception - 184 in 2000
Season 200-Yard Passing Games - 11 in 2001
Career 200-Yard Passing Games - 18, 1999-present
Season 400-Yard Passing Games - 2 in 2000 (tied with Tony Adams, 1972)
Career 400-Yard Passing Games - 3, 1999-present
Season Touchdown Passes - 23 in 2001
Season Touchdown Passes Per Game - 2.2 in 2001
Records Added This Year
Career Completions - 476
DID YOU KNOW? -- Last season Kevin Curtis produced the 16th best receiving yardage total in NCAA history (1,531) with the 19th most receptions (100) in history.
DID YOU KNOW? -- According to research done by the Louisville SID office, Jose Fuentes (5,900 yards) ranked fifth and Jeff Crosbie (3,315) 18th among active players for career passing yards entering the season. Fuentes is also eighth in touchdown passes (40) and Crosbie 21st (20).
STARTING THEM YOUNG -- In last week's game against Utah DE John Chick became the freshman to start a season opener for USU since 1993 when Pratt Lyons started at defensive tackle against Louisiana-Lafayette. Chick is not alone as a freshman starter on the defensive line as NG Jorge Tapia started eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2000 and DT Ronald Tupea started seven games as a true freshman last year.
STARTING OVER -- Five Aggies made their first career starts against Utah, including four players who had never played a down for USU in DE John Chick, OC Aric Galliano, OG Greg Vandermade and OT Grant Calverley. DE Jeremy Guenter, who played for USU last year, made his first start as well.
OFFENSIVE NOTES - USU boasted the nation's 32nd ranked total offense last year, including the 13th-ranked passing offense, but managed just 162 yards against Utah with 174 passing yards and minus nine yards rushing... USU failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing 31-3 at Idaho in 1999... USU's three points against Utah were its fewest in a game since that same Idaho contest... USU's three points were its fewest in a season opener since losing 49-3 at Arizona in 1992... USU had negative rushing yards for the first time since 1999 when the Aggies rushed 18 times for negative seven yards against Kansas State... USU started three linemen who had never played a down before the opener in OC Aric Galliano, RG Greg Vandermade and RT Grant Calverley... USU's lone scoring drive against Utah was an eight-play, 60-yard drive in just :31 and resulted in a 22-yard field goal on the last play of the first half... USU's 13 drives included one field goal, 10 punts, one interception and one ended on downs... USU had only two possessions in the fourth quarter against Utah and went three and out both times with a combined possession time of 1:18... USU's two turnovers against Utah were its fewest in a season opener since committing just one against Utah in the 1998 lid-lifter.
DEFENSIVE NOTES -- USU's defense, which was ranked 105th nationally a year ago, held Utah to 240 yards of offense and just seven points through three quarters before allowing 207 yards and 16 points in the final quarter... USU forced Utah into four three and out situations in their first six possessions... The Aggies had both defensive ends (freshmen John Chick and sophomore Jeremy Guenter) make their first career starts ... USU played four freshmen on the defensive line in the game, including Chick, Ryan DeQuillettes, Michael Gates, and Jake Stewart... USU held Utah to three-of-12 on third down conversion attempts through the first three quarters before the Utes made six-of-seven in the fourth quarter when they possessed the ball for 13:42... USU recorded two sacks in the game against Utah, including one solo by Robert Watts and one combined sack by Jesse Busta and Jake Stewart.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES -- USU averaged 11.0 yards on two punt returns against Utah, both by Roger Robinson, as well as 20.8 on four kickoff returns (three by Robinson and one by David Fiefia)... USU punted 10 times against Utah, its most punts in a game since punting 11 times at Kansas State in 1999... USU covered punts well as only three punts were returned for a total of six yards... Utah missed two field goal attempts against the Aggies and USU blocked an Utah extra point attempt.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Utah State is one of only 25 schools in the country with a football graduation rate of 70 percent or better according to a report by the American Football Coaches Association. The Aggies graduated 79 percent of their players in the study's time frame.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Against Utah, Utah State had more players rush the ball (six) than catch a pass (five) in a game for the first time since the second game of 2000 when six players had a rush and five had a reception against Southern Utah.
USU NOTE-ABLE -- For the third straight year, Utah State's first points of the season were a field goal (second straight year the kicker was Dane Kidman)... USU played 55 players in the opener against Utah, including 19 who were seeing their first action for the Aggies. Among those 19 were 11 freshmen... USU's last win at a Big XII opponent's field was a 10-7 win at Kansas State in 1971, while USU's win against a current member of the league was a 28-16 victory against Kansas State in Logan in 1992... After losing to Utah, the Aggies fell to 6-22 all-time against teams receiving votes in the polls... USU will play on artificial turf for just the fourth time in the Mick Dennehy era and is 1-2 on the fake stuff entering this week.
USU STARTER NOTE-ABLE Offense
LT - Jim Newton... Has started team-best 23 games in his career... At 6-10 is tallest player in USU history.
LG - Luis Trujillo... Started five of the last six games in 2001.
OC - Aric Galliano... Made his first start against Utah.
RG - Greg Vandermade... Junior College transfer won starting spot this year.
RT - Grant Calverley... Projected as a starter in 2001, but ended up redshirting.
TE - Casey Poppinga... A two-year starter, who caught three passes last year after pulling in 15 in 2000... Caught two passes in season opener against Utah.
TE/FB - Chris Cooley... First catch as an Aggie was a touchdown at LSU last year.
WR - Kevin Curtis... All-America candidate who led the nation in receptions every week of the season in 2001 as a walkon... Was USU's receiving yardage leader (98 yards) and tied for rushing leader (five yards) against Utah.
WR - Gary Coleman... Had 36 receptions (third on team) for 440 yards (second) last year... Caught four passes for 39 yards against Utah.
WR - Derek Jeffrey... Earned starting spot after spring practice... Caught one pass last year... Matched his last year reception total in the season opener against Utah with one.
WR - Chris Stallworth... Emerged into a solid receiver last year and caught 33 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns... Tied for team lead in receptions with six against Utah.
QB Jose Fuentes... Has started 21 consecutive games... Had thrown for 200 yards and at least one touchdown in 16 straight games before throwing for 174 and no scores against Utah... Needs just 153 passing yards (has 6,074) for first on the USU career charts... Entered the year ranked fifth among all active NCAA quarterbacks in career passing yards (5,900).
TB - David Fiefia... Started three games as a wide receiver as a freshman, but did not start at tailback last year... Rushed for 116 yards in season finale against Fresno State last year.
TB - Roger (Fernandez) Robinson - Changed last name to match the last name of the father that raised him... First time he touched the ball as a collegian he returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown against Utah last season... Rushed only eight times for 30 yards a year ago.
LE - Jeremy Guenter... Had first career start against Utah.
DT - Ronald Tupea... Started final seven games of the season... Shared team's freshman of the year honor... Four tackles against Utah.
NG - Jorge Tapia... Has started 20 career games.
RE - John Chick... First USU freshman to start a season opener since 1993... Had a defensive-line leading five tackles against Utah.
LB - Robert Watts... Started four games a year ago... Shared team's freshman of the year honor... Had one sack against Utah in the opener.
LB - Jess Busta... Has recorded 100 or more tackles in each of the last two years... Had 110 tackles coming off the bench as a sophomore... Has had at least 10 tackles in 14 different games in his career, including team-best 12 stops against Utah in the opener... Had a sack against the Utes.
LC - Mark Estelle... Started two games last year... Had six stops, including a TFL against Utah.
S - Derek Shank... Has started 11 games in his career... Had six tackles against Utah.
S - Jamar Glasper... Second on the team with 17 consecutive starts and 21 overall... Second on team in tackles last year (77) and earned the team's Golden Helmet award as the team's hardest hitter... Was involved in five turnovers a year ago (all fumbles)... Recorded 11 tackles in opener against Utah,
RC - Ade Jimoh... Has started 21 games in his career... Has two career interceptions... Made four tackles against Utah
NB - Bryan Jackson... Saw a lot of action last year and made four starts... Had two stops against Utah.
P - Steve Mullins... The nation's leading returning punter (44.8 average)... Averaged 42.3 yards against Utah... His 70-yard punt against Utah matched his career-long and tied for the 11th longest punt in school history.
PK - Dane Kidman... Hit 7-13 FG after making seven of first 10 last year... Drilled his only attempt this season, a 22-yard attempt against Utah.
NON-STARTER NOTES -- DE Jake Stewart, a true freshman recorded half a sack in his first collegiate game against Utah... Two Aggie running backs played their first games at USU as Richard Watson rushed three times for four yards and James Samuel rushed three times for three yards.... DB Ross Luna came off the bench to record six tackles against Utah.
NCAA RECORD BOOK LOOK -- Here is a look at some NCAA record book lists that USU players found their way onto during 2001:
Season Receptions Per Game -- Kevin Curtis (9.1) tied for 20th.
Season Receptions -- Kevin Curtis (100) tied for 19th.
Season Rec. Yards -- Kevin Curtis (1531) 16th.
Career All-Purpose Yards -- Emmett White (5872) 20th.
* USU became one of 21 teams to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in the same year. * Emmett White tied NCAA record for most season with 2,000 all-purpose yards with two (shared by nine others).
Utah State Depth Chart (as of September 1)
Pos. No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr. Exp. LT 79 Jim Newton 6-10 298 Sr. 3L 72 Donald Penn 6-4 287 Fr. RS 69 Barry McLaughlin 6-5 278 Sr. 1L1L = one varsity letter, HS= High School experience, JC=Junior College, RS= Redshirt, SQ=Squad (did not letter), TR=Transfer