MEMPHIS -- With two of the nation's top offensive teams slated to play in the 43rd annual Liberty Bowl, a game that was billed as an offensive shootout and a high-scoring affair, who would have thought the game would net just 38 total points and 562 yards between the two teams.
On this day, the Louisville defense held BYU to just three points in the second half, while MVP Dave Ragone and the Cardinals scored 14 unanswered points over the last two quarters to give the banged-up Cougars their second loss of the season.
"Louisville is a very good team," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "We knew coming in they would play hard, play tough and present one of the toughest games for us this season. They have an excellent coaching staff and did a better job of preparing for this game than we did. I thought we did a good job of preparing. We had some great practices, but they were a little better than we were today."
The loss dropped BYU to 12-2 on the season and marked their third straight bowl defeat. The victory improved Louisville to 11-2 on the year and marked the team's first Liberty Bowl victory under head coach John L. Smith.
The Cougars held tough through the first half, trailing 14-7 at the break. BYU was without Doak Walker winner and consensus All-American Luke Staley, who missed the game with a broken leg. Staley averaged over 145 yards rushing and 15 points per game. All-Conference performer Reno Mahe, who had averaged over 90 yards receiving per game and had scored nine TDs during the season, saw limited action in the first half and did not play in the second half after having surgery on his knee just two weeks prior. In addition, two defensive standouts were slowed with injuries that would require surgery following the bowl game.
"We were definitely not at full strength out there today," Crowton said. "We could have used a few more healthy players, but that's part of the game. I don't want that to be an excuse for why we didn't win this game. We played well and we had some young guys really step it up.
"I can say enough about this team and the way they have performed on and off the field all season long. They are a great bunch of guys and no one can take away their many accomplishments. 12-2 isn't bad at all. We wanted to win this one, but 12-2 isn't a bad year."
After Louisville's Zek Parker returned the opening kick 70 yards to set up a Henry Miller one-yard run, just five plays later, the BYU defense managed to shut down the high-powered Cardinal offense, holding them scoreless until late in the second quarter. In fact, the oft-criticized BYU defense again silenced its critics, holding Louisville to just 25 yards rushing in the first half and only 102 yards passing. For the game, the Cougar defense gave up just 58 yards rushing and 228 yards passing.
The Cougars tied things up at 7-7 when Brandon Doman lateraled to Dustin Rykert for a 10-yard run on a little tackle-eligible trick-o-ration. For the play, Rykert, a 6-foot-7, 305 pound left tackle was named BYU's Offensive Player of the Game.
"I still think that play should be illegal," Crowton joked. "But as long as it's not, we're going to use it."
Faced with a fourth-and-five on their own 40 yard line, Crowton looked to catch Louisville off guard with a fake punt. Senior Ned Stearns took the snap and was stopped at the line of scrimmage. The play proved costly as the Cardinals took over on downs and made BYU pay. Nine plays later Chip Mattingly scored on a one-yard pass from Ragone to go up 14-7 with :14 remaining in the first half.
"I made the decision to go for it," Crowton said. "I felt like we could catch them by surprise, get the first down and with the momentum, score right before the half. I felt it would give us all the momentum in the world coming out for the second half. I'm not sure I would make the same call. In fact, knowing how it turned out, I know I wouldn't make the same call. You know what they say about hindsight. But, that's all part of the game. You have to take chances every now and then. Under the circumstances, I felt like we had to take that chance. Sometimes you have to do that."
BYU's Matt Payne connected on a 29-yard field goal with 7:58 remaining in the third quarter, cutting the U of L lead to 14-10. The Cardinals answered with an eight-play 71-yard drive to go up 21-10. The Louisville defense, led by Curry Burns and his 12 tackles, stiffened and shut the BYU offense down for the remainder of the game.
Louisville struck again early in the fourth quarter, posting a 27-yard pass from Ragone to Ronnie Ghent to give the Cardinals a 28-10 lead.
After the two teams traded possessions, the Cougars looked to be putting a scoring drive together. Senior quarterback Brandon Doman engineered a 12-play drive that covered 42 yards, but was stopped short after Dewayne White sacked Doman for an 11-yard loss. The sack forced a fourth-and-27 situation. Doman's fourth-down attempt to Toby Christensen fell incomplete, ending any chance of a scoring situation.
The BYU defense stopped Louisville on its next possession, forcing the Cardinals to punt. The punt was downed at the BYU 22 yard line. The Cougars had one last chance to make the game interesting, but Doman's pass on first-and-10 from the BYU 36 was intercepted by Chris Johnson at the U of L 47. Ragone took a knee on three straight plays as time ran out.
Doman finished the night with 18-of-37 attempts for 192 yards, while Ragone completed 19-of-28 attempts for a game-high 228 yards. Senior Paul Peterson, who had earned his first career start at BYU in his final game, led all rushers with 73 yards on 15 carries. BYU defensive end Ryan Denney was named BYU's most valuable defensive player after recording eight tackles, including three for a combined loss of 11 yards.
No. 17 BYU (12-1) will travel to Memphis, Tenn., on Monday, Dec. 31, to take on No. 22 Louisville (10-2) in the 43rd annual Liberty Bowl. The game, which will be played at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (62,380), will be televised on ESPN, beginning at 3 p.m. (CST). While this game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools, the Cougars have posted a 5-3 record against current teams from Conference USA, including a 70-35 victory over Tulane earlier this season. The Cardinals are 1-3 against current teams from the Mountain West Conference, including their first-ever victory over a MWC team earlier this season - a 7-2 win over Colorado State. BYU is 1-0 against teams from the state of Kentucky, including a 43-9 win over Murray State in 1998, while Louisville is 0-2 against teams from the state of Utah. BYU will be playing its 23rd bowl game, while Louisville will be making its ninth appearance, including its fourth straight trip to a bowl game under head coach John L. Smith. The Cougars will be making their second appearance in the Liberty Bowl, while the Cardinals are making their third showing, including their second straight appearance in Memphis.
The Liberty Bowl will be broadcast live to a national television audience, beginning at 3 p.m. (CST) on Monday, Dec. 31. Mark Jones will call the action with Chris Spielman lending analysis from the booth. Utah's Holly Rowe will report from the sidelines. While BYU has made six nationally-televised appearances this season, Monday's game will mark the first appearance on ESPN this season.
The Cougars will depart Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 27 at approximately 12:15 p.m. (MST) aboard Omni International charter air service. (Times are subject to change.) The team is expected to arrive in Memphis around 5 p.m. (CST). Thursday evening, the team will attend the official welcome party and dinner at 7 p.m., which will be held at Julian's Peabody Place. Following the awards luncheon at noon on Friday at the Adam's Mark Hotel, BYU is scheduled to practice at 2 p.m. (CST) at Memphis University High School. The team will practice again on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. (CST). The team will return to Provo immediately following the game.
All-American to Miss Liberty Bowl
BYU running back and Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley will undergo surgery on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to repair damaged ligaments in his ankle. Due to the surgery, the consensus All-American will not play against Louisville in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31. Stress x-rays taken on Dec. 14 showed that while the fractured fibula was healing well, the ligament damage in his ankle, sustained as a result of the broken fibula, would need to be repaired to help stabilize the ankle joint. Staley sustained a broken fibula against Mississippi State on Dec. 1 in the Cougars' 41-38 come-from-behind victory. Staley was injured on the final drive of the game after racking up 30 of his game-high 149 yards.
Cougars Claim MWC Title
BYU captured its second MWC championship in the past three years after a thrilling come-from-behind 24-21 win over Utah on Saturday, Nov. 17. The win marked the first outright title for the Cougars since the 1996 season and became the first-ever MWC team to win the league title with a perfect 7-0 record. Since winning its first conference title in 1965, BYU has won a total of 21 league titles, including 10 straight championships from 1976-1985. Of the 21 conference titles, BYU has won the championship outright 13 times.
Cougars Set Single-Season Scoring Record
Through 13 regular-season games, BYU produced 608 points, averaging a nation's best 46.7 points per game and the best regular-season scoring average in BYU football history. The 2001 Cougars broke the 21-year-old record by just .1 point per game. The 1980 Cougars averaged 46.6 over 12 games. Army holds the NCAA scoring average record, posting 56.0 points per game during the 1944 season. Nebraska holds the NCAA record for most points scored in a single season with 624 over 12 games, set during the 1983 season.
The Dynamic Duo; Staley-Doman Lead the Nation
On the season, consensus All-American Luke Staley racked up 1,596 yards rushing, while Heisman Trophy candidate Brandon Doman turned in 3,542 yards passing. With those numbers, the Cougars were one of just five teams in the nation with a 1,000-yard rusher and 3,000-yard passer. Interestingly, Staley and Doman were the only 3,500-1,500 quarterback-running back duo in the country. Staley and Doman are only the second quarterback and running back in school history to record a 3,000-1,000-yard season. Prior to this season, Jamal Willis and John Walsh were the only QB-RB combo in BYU history to post a 3,000-1,000-yard campaign.
CAUTION: Falling Team Records Ahead
During the 2001 season, the Cougars broke as many as five offensive team records. In addition to clipping the single-season scoring average, the Cougars racked up 7,118 yards of total offense, surpassing the 11-year old record of 6,790 yards by 328 yards. During the 2001 season, the Cougars recorded 351 first downs, passing the old record of 348, set in 1990. BYU also turned in a record 2,893 yards rushing, passing the old single-season mark of 2,549 set in 1996. Finally, in 1981, BYU set what was thought to be an unapproachable record, posting an interception percentage of just 2.2. In 2001, Doman and company threw 486 balls with just nine interceptions, totaling an amazing 1.8 interception percentage.
BYU Bowl Facts
* The Cougars will be making their 23rd bowl appearance.
* BYU has posted a 7-14-1 all-time record in bowl games.
* BYU has not won a bowl game since beating Kansas State in the
Cotton Bowl at the conclusion of the 1996 season.
* The Cougars are 2-2 in their last four bowl appearances.
* BYU has made more bowl appearances than any other team in the MWC.
* This year's trip to Memphis will mark the sixth time in BYU
football history the Cougars have traveled east of the
Mississippi River to play in a bowl game.
* The Cougars are 0-5 in bowl games played east of the Mississippi River.
* BYU has played 13 of its 22 previous bowl games in California, two
games in Florida and Arizona and one game each in Tennessee, Texas,
Hawaii, Alabama and Michigan.
* The 2001 Liberty Bowl will mark BYU head coach Gary Crowton's
first-ever bowl appearance.
* BYU has not had back-to-back seasons without a bowl appearance
since the Cougars' first bowl game in 1974.
* BYU participated in 17 straight bowl games from 1978-1994.
* Since 1974, BYU has played in 11 different bowl games.
* With both teams ranked in the AP top-25, BYU will be playing in its
first bowl game, featuring two ranked opponents, since the 1996
* The 2001 Liberty Bowl will mark the first time BYU has played in a
bowl game with both teams being ranked in the Associated Press
Top-25 since 1996.
* BYU has played six ranked opponents in its last eight bowl
appearances, including its fourth straight top-25 opponent.
* Louisville will be the fourth BYU bowl opponent with 10 or more
wins entering a bowl game, including its third straight opponent
with 10 wins.
Renewing a Winning Tradition
During the 1980s, BYU ranked as one of the winningest programs in the country, posting a combined record of 102-27, including seven WAC titles and 10 straight bowl appearances. After posting a record of 32-17-2 from 1990-1993 (including four straight WAC titles), BYU has gone on to post a record of 72-29 since the 1994 season, ranking as the 10th winningest program in the country. The Cougars are making their second bowl appearance in the past three seasons.
Cougars Boast Eight First-Team All-MWC Performers
For only the sixth time since 1980, eight different players were selected for first-team all-league honors in 2001. The Cougars were honored with five All-Mountain West first-team offensive performers, and three first-team defensive players. Luke Staley headlined the group, earning not only All-MWC first-team honors, but was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The BYU first-teamers include, Brandon Doman, Reno Mahe, Luke Staley, Doug Jolley, Jason Scukanec, Ryan Denney, Justin Ena and Jernaro Gilford. BYU lead all MWC teams with eight first-team performers. Offensive lineman Ben Archibald received second-team recognition, while another 11 BYU players earned All-MWC honorable mention honors, as selected by the league's head coaches.
Denney Named BYU's 20th Academic ALl-American
For the 20th time in BYU football history, a player has been named as an Academic All-American. Senior defensive end Ryan Denney, who sports an impressive 3.7 grade-point average in finance, was named to the 2001 Verizon Academic All-America team. Denney, who was recently engaged to be married, is the second straight defensive player to earn Academic All-America honors, after Jared Lee earned the honor in 2000. A native of Thornton, Colo., Denney produced 68 tackles on the season, including 45 solo takedowns. Denney recorded a team-leading 19 tackles for a combined loss of 75 yards, including seven sacks for 50 yards. He tallied eight pass deflections, one interception and scored his first career touchdown after picking up a blocked field goal attempt for an 82-yard touchdown at San Diego State.
Crowton: Coach of the Year
After leading BYU to its fourth 12-win season in the program's 79-year history, including its first since 1996, head coach Gary Crowton was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year by his peers, as well as the league's sports writers. Crowton also finished third in the Associated Press balloting for National Coach-of the-Year honors. Crowton finished behind Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen and Miami head coach Larry Coker. The Orem, Utah native was also a finalist for the prestigious Walter Camp Football Foundation National Coach-of-the-Year honor. Crowton and the Cougars finished 12-1 on the season, including a perfect 7-0 record in league play. In four years as a college head coach, Crowton has posted a 33-14 (.702) career coaching record. Including this season at BYU and three seasons at Louisiana Tech, Crowton has never had a losing season.
Margin of Victory
Throughout the season, the Cougars tallied 608 points, averaging a nation's best 46.8 points per game. BYU has allowed 396 points, giving up an average 30.5 points per contest. Overall, the Cougars have tallied a +16.3-point margin of victory. The Cougars have won four games on the season by 30 or more points, including a season-high 45-point win over Nevada on Sept. 1. BYU has won its last three games by an average 4.3 points.
What Comes Around, Goes Around
On Oct. 20, BYU handed Air Force its worst-ever loss, scoring a record 63 points against the Falcons. The Cougars were handed a bit of their own medicine on Dec. 8, losing to Hawai'i by 27 points. The Warriors scored a record 72 points against BYU, marking the most points ever allowed by the Cougars.
On the season, BYU and Louisville have played just two common opponents. The Cougars have posted a 2-0 record against those teams, while UofL has also recorded a mark of 2-0.
Common Opponent BYU Result UL Result Advantage
Tulane W, 70-35 W, 52-7 UofL +10
Colorado State W, 56-34 W, 7-2 BYU +17
Cougars Record 28th Straight Non-Losing Season
Following a 63-33 win over Air Force on Oct. 20, the Cougars improved to 7-0, ensuring their 28th straight non-losing season. 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 28 straight seasons ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and is currently the third longest non-losing streak in the nation. (Nebraska ranks No. 1 with 40 straight seasons without a losing campaign.)
2002 Schedule Taking Shape
As the Cougars wrap up the 2001 season, BYU administrators are putting the finishing touches on next year's schedule. The 2002 schedule will feature six home games, including home games against Syracuse and Hawai'i. BYU will also play host to Wyoming, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV.
Opponent Location Opponent Location
Syracuse Provo, Utah Air Force Colorado Springs, Colo.
Hawai'i Provo, Utah Colorado State Fort Collins, Colo.
Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga. Utah Salt Lake City
Nevada Reno, Nev. Wyoming Provo, Utah
Utah State Logan, Utah New Mexico Provo, Utah
San Diego State Provo, Utah
UNLV Provo, Utah
Scoring Defense Busters
Through 12 games, the Cougars have paid little attention to their opponents scoring defense average. On the season, BYU has surpassed its opponent's previous scoring defense average by 24.14 points per game. The Cougars' largest point differential came against Air Force, putting up 43.8 points more than the Falcons had previously allowed. Against San Diego State, BYU posted 33.6 points over the Aztecs' previous scoring defense mark of 25.4 points per game. The potent BYU offense continued its scoring ways against Colorado State, cruising past the Rams' scoring defense average of just 20 points per game, racking up 56 points. The Cougars posted 24 points against a Ute defense that had allowed a league-leading 15.8 points per game. At Mississippi State, the Cougars posted more points than any non-conference opponent had in Starkville since the 1993 season. The Bulldogs entered the game allowing just 24.8 points per game as BYU dissected the physical MSU defense for 41 points - 16.3 above the Bulldogs' scoring defense average.
Scoring by Quarters
BYU racked up 21 points in the first quarter against Colorado State, marking the third time on the season the Cougars have scored 21 points in a single quarter, and the ninth time the Cougars have scored 21 or more points in a single quarter. The Cougars have enjoyed their highest point production during the second quarter, scoring an average 15.1 points during the second quarter.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Brigham Young 134 181 162 131 608
Average 10.3 13.9 12.5 10.1 46.7
Opponent 111 115 92 78 396
Average 8.5 8.8 7.1 6.0 30.5
Three teams from the Mountain West Conference have been selected to play in post-season bowl games. While BYU will travel to Memphis to take on Louisville in the Liberty Bowl, Colorado State will take on North Texas in the first-ever New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18. Utah will take on USC in the Las Vegas Bowl on Christmas Day.
The Crowton File
Gary Crowton, a native of Orem, Utah, takes 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 a 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. NOTEABLE: Crowton is the first coach in BYU history to start his career 7-0 with the Cougars ... In only his fourth year as a Division-IA coach, Crowton recorded his 25th career victory - a 35-31 victory over future Hall of Fame coach John Robinson and the UNLV Rebels.
Winning Streak Ends
Suffering a 72-45 loss at Hawaii on Dec. 8, the Cougars ended a 14 game win streak, which ranked second in the nation. Dating back to last season, BYU won two games at the end of the 2000 season and 12 straight in 2001. Miami (Fla.) leads the nation with 21 straight wins. Nebraska held a one-game lead over BYU until losing to Colorado on Nov. 23, ending the nation's second longest win streak at 13. With 12 wins this season, BYU still has more victories than any team in the country.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 337 Games And Counting
With Matt Payne's 24-yard field goal in the first quarter at Hawaii, BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 337 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) The Cougars have only one player on its 2001 roster who was alive the last time BYU was shutout. Offensive lineman Aaron McCubbins was just two days old.
Fast Times at BYU
On the season, BYU has produced 14 scoring drives of under 1:00 or less. The Cougars began the 2001 campaign with a season-high four scoring drives under 1:00 against Tulane. The quickest drive came at San Diego State, when Brandon Doman connected with Gabe Reid for a four-yard touchdown pass, completing the scoring drive in just one play. Equally impressive, the Cougars have 38 scoring drives of under 2:00. Against Tulane, BYU produced a season-high six scoring drives under 2:00. BYU closed out the second quarter (against the Green Wave) with four straight scoring drives of :55, :47, :46 and :33. A week later, the Cougars posted five scoring drives of 1:58 or less. Against Cal, the Cougars recorded five scoring drives of 1:50 or less, including two scoring drives under 1:00. On the Cougars' six scoring drives against Cal, two totaled three plays or less. On the season, BYU has totaled 34 scoring drives of five plays or less, including two against Utah and three at Mississippi State. Against Air Force, the Cougars racked up four scoring drives of under 2:00 and added three more scoring drives under 2:20. All totaled, all nine scoring drives were produced under 3:48. All three of BYU's touchdown drives against Utah were scored in 2:25 or less.
12 Wins and Counting
BYU's win against Mississippi State on Dec. 1 marked the Cougars' 12th straight win of the season. Including this season, BYU has posted just four 12-win seasons, dating back to 1980. Under LaVell Edwards, the Cougars racked up 12-win seasons in 1980 (12-1), 1984 (13-0) and 1996 (14-1). The 1996 team is credited with posting the most single-season wins in NCAA history. With 12 wins, BYU currently has more wins than any other team in the country. The Cougars need just one more win to record 13 wins for only the second time in BYU football history.
After picking up its seventh victory of the season (vs. Air Force), BYU became the first team in the Mountain West Conference to become eligible for post-season bowl consideration.
Bowl Game Bound
The Cougars' invitation to play in the 43rd annual Liberty Bowl will mark the team's 23rd bowl appearance since the 1974 season. BYU last went bowling during the 1999 season - a 21-3 loss against undefeated Marshall in the Motor City Bowl. This year's bowl contest will mark the third post-season bowl appearance for the Cougars in the past four seasons and the first-ever for head coach Gary Crowton. The Cougars lead the Mountain West Conference with 22 current bowl appearances, while Air Force ranks second with 16, Wyoming third with 10, Utah fourth with eight and Colorado State fifth with seven. Of the eight teams in the Mountain West, BYU, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado State are all bowl eligible. The MWC is contracted to send its champion to the Liberty Bowl (BYU vs. Louisville), the second selection goes to the Las Vegas Bowl (Utah vs. USC) and a third team will be sent to the New Orleans Bowl (Colorado State vs. North Texas). The fourth MWC will have to hope for an at-large selection.
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 UofL defensive line (on junior, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman) that tips the scales at an average 275 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 Cardinals' offensive line (three seniors, one junior and one sophomore) average 298.0 pounds per man. All five of the Cougars' starting offensive lineman received All-Conference honors this season, including Aaron McCubbins, Dustin Rykert, Jason Scukanec, Teag Whiting and Ben Archibald.
Cougars Record 12th Perfect Home Season
Since BYU's football stadium was renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 18, 2001, the Cougars have never lost a game in Provo. BYU has posted seven straight wins in Edwards Stadium and eight straight over the past two seasons in Provo. With the 2001 home schedule now complete, the Cougars have recorded their 12th undefeated home season since the 1967 campaign. In fact, since the stadium was expanded to 65,000, the Cougars have posted eight seasons without losing a game in Provo. This year's perfect home season marks the first since 1998.
Staley Named All-American; Doak Walker Award Winner
A Doak Walker Award winner ... Working on consensus All- America honors ... Leads the Nation in scoring, averaging 15.45 points per game ... Leads the Nation in yards per carry, averaging 8.1 yards per touch ... Ranks third in the Nation in yards per game, averaging 143.8 yards per contest ... Has recorded more yards rushing by any back in the Nation with less than 170 carries ... Only one of seven BYU running backs in Cougar Football history to run for over 1,000 yards in a single season ... Has scored more touchdowns than any other player in the Nation ... Set the BYU single-game yards-per carry record, averaging 14.2 yards per carry against Tulane ... Broke the 29-year-old BYU single-season rushing record, recording 1,433 yards in just 10 games ... Set the single-season touchdown scoring record with 28 TDs on the season ... Tied a BYU single-season record with 30 points against Utah State and Colorado State ... Set the BYU career touchdown scoring record during the season, having recorded 48 touchdowns in just three seasons ... Has produced eight multi-touchdown performances on the season, including five games with three or more touchdowns ... Twice scored a career-high five touchdowns on the season, including games against Utah State and Colorado State ... Has chalked up 100-or-more yards rushing in eight different games this season, including five games with 150-or-more yards ... Has put together six straight games with over 100 yards rushing, including four straight games with 150- or-more ... Set a MWC record with his fourth Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor after knocking off Utah ... On Oct. 8, was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week after a a career-high 207 yard rushing performance against Utah State, scoring four rushing and one touchdown reception ... Earned player-of-the-week honors on Nov. 5 after scoring five touchdowns against a stingy Colorado State defense, recording 196 yards on 22 carries ... Also named player of the week after racking up another 172 yards on 31 carries, scoring four touchdowns against Wyoming ... earned MWC Offensive Player-of-the-Week and CNN.SI National Player-of-the- Week recognition after scoring two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final 3:22 of the Cougars' come-from-behind win over Utah ... Averaging 11.1 yards per reception ... Has scored four touchdown receptions on the season and 24 rushing TDs ... Owns the BYU and MWC single-season and career scoring records (including kickers) with 170/290 points ... Needs just 722 yards to become BYU's all-time leading career rusher.
STALEY QUICK FACTS
* Leads the nation in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game.
* Leads the nation in rushing yards per carry, averaging 8.1
yards per touch.
* Ranks 3rd nationally in yards per game, averaging 143.8
yards per contest.
* Has tallied 14 multiple-scoring games over his career.
* Has produced at least one touchdown in 22-of-30 career games.
* Named MWC Player of the Week after posting 207 yards and five
TDs against USU.
* Named MWC Player of the Week after posting 196 yards and five
TDs against CSU.
* Named MWC Player of the Week after posting 172 yards and four
TDs against Wyoming.
* Named Sporting News Nissan Frontier National
Player of the Week (Nov. 11).
* Named Football News, Sporting News, Football Writers, CNN.SI
First Team All-American.
* Has 2,493 career rushing yards.
* Has 1,582 yards rushing this season - a career high.
* Has produced 290 career points.
* Tied BYU single-game record with 30 points
(vs. Utah State; vs. Colorado State).
* Tied a school record with five touchdowns
(vs. Utah State; vs. Colorado State).
* Set BYU single-season touchdown record with 28 TDs (2001).
* Set BYU single-game record with 14.2 yards per carry
(vs. Tulane; 10-for-142).
* Set BYU single-season scoring record with 170 points scored.
* On pace to set single-season yards per carry record,
averaging 8.1 y/c.
* Needs just 294 yards to become BYU's single-season
* Set BYU's single-season rushing record with 1,582 yards.
* Set BYU career touchdown scoring record (48).
* Needs just 477 to become all-time leading rusher.
* Became BYU's first 1,000-yd rusher since 1998 (Jenkins; 1,411).
* Needs 43 points to become BYU's all-time leading scorer.
* Became BYU's all-time (non-kicker) leading scorer (288).
Best in the Mountain West
In the three-year history of the Mountain West Conference, the Cougars have posted a 16-5 record against league opponents. The Cougars are tied with Colorado State for the best league record in the history of the MWC, however BYU has posted a 2-1 mark against Colorado State over the past three seasons, including a 56-34 win earlier this season.
All That Scoring
On the season, BYU has produced 608 points, including 81 touchdowns. The Cougars are averaging a nation's best 46.7 points per game and 6.2 touchdowns per contest. Luke Staley leads the team with 170 points on 28 touchdowns and one two-point conversion. Staley became the single-season scoring leader in BYU and MWC history this season and needs just 44 points to become BYU's all-time leading point producer. Interestingly, BYU has scored more touchdowns this season than the 1999 and 2000 seasons combined. BYU scored 40 touchdowns in 1999 and only 32 during the 2000 season.
Red Zone Review
The Cougars have scored on an amazing 61-of-70 trips to the Red Zone (.871), including a season-high nine-of-nine trips inside the Red Zone against Air Force. Including a six-for-six performance against Colorado State and Wyoming, the Cougars have scored at least six times inside the Red Zone in six different games this season. Prior to a BYU fumble on the eight-yard line against UNLV, the Cougars were a perfect 20- for-20 inside the Red Zone. 53 of the Cougars'61 Red Zone scoring drives have been touchdowns, while just eight have been field goals. The BYU defense has held its opponents to 42-of-57 Red Zone scores on the season, including an impressive 1-for-4 against SDSU. The Cougar defense forced two missed field goals (including one blocked attempt) and an interception to prevent the Aztecs from scoring on three of their four trips inside the Red Zone. BYU also forced an interception and a fumble, halting two CSU Red-Zone drives. The Cougars have scored 53 Red Zone touchdowns, which is more TDs than BYU scored during the entire 2000 season (32).
Compare The Stats
STATS BYU UofL
Scoring 608 366
Points Per Game 46.8 30.5
First Downs 351 231
Rushing yardage 2,867 1,465
Average Per Game 220.5 122.1
Rushing TDs 41 19
Passing Yardage 4,225 3,119
Att-Comp-Int 486-315-9 393-234-7
Average Per Game 325.0 259.9
Passing TDs 39 23
Total Offense 7,057 4,584
Total Plays 992 827
Average Per Game 542.8 382.0
Kick Returns: #-yards 49-1,082 27-585
Punt Returns: #-yards 40-349 35-420
INT Returns: #-yards 21-329 17-153
Kick Return Average 22.1 21.7
Punt Return Average 8.7 12.0
INT Return Average 15.7 9.0
Fumbles-lost 42-18 23-16
Penalties-yards 93-828 105-905
Punts-yards 47-1876 66-2,620
Time of possession/game 29:44 29:42
3rd-down Conversions 78/170 75/175
4th-down Conversions 16/21 7/13
Sacks by-yards 25-179 41-264
Touchdowns 82 46
Field Goals-Attempts 12-17 13-18
PAT-Attempts 76-80 39-40
Attendance 580,761 452,488
Average Attendance 44,674 37,707
Pick A Receiver; Any Receiver
Throughout the 2001 season, the Cougars have used a single-season record 20 different receivers, including a season-high 12 different receivers against Nevada. The BYU receiving corps has accounted for 4,225 of the Cougars'7,118 (59.4 percent) total yards on the season, including a season high 515 yards against Hawaii. Reno Mahe ranks nationally with 91 receptions for 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns. Mahe is the first BYUreceiver to rack up 1,000 yards on the season since Margin Hooks posted 1,067 yards in 1999. Mahe and tight end Doug Jolley hold the league's top three single-game receiving marks, with Mahe holding the lead after racking up 189 yards at Mississippi State. (Mahe also had 181 yards against Hawaii, while Jolley posted 177 against Air Force.) The Cougars rank seventh in the nation in passing offense, averaging 325.0 yards per game. 11 different receivers have over 100 yards on the season, including seven receivers with 200 or more yards. 11 receivers have 10 or more receptions. Mahe leads all receivers with nine touchdown receptions, while Jolley has seven. All totaled 11 different receivers have scored at least one touchdown.
BYU tight ends Doug Jolley and Spencer Nead scored two of the Cougars'second-half touchdown against Mississippi State, setting up the come-from-behind victory. Nead and Jolley have combined for 758 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. Jolley and Nead also accounted for 226 of the Cougars'408 receiving yards against the Air Force, including Jolley's 10-for-177 yard, three touchdown performance. Jolley became the first BYU receiver to score three touchdowns in a single game since Eric Drage picked up three TDs during the 1992 season. Jolley also set a MWC single-game record with 177 yards receiving. For his performance, Jolley was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the first tight end to earn the weekly honor.
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 47-29-2 (.615) while playing on national television, including a 23- 15 mark on ABC and a 27-16-2 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. BYU is 5-0 this season when playing on national television. Including its post-season bowl game and Saturday's game at Hawai'i, the Cougars have two more nationally televised appearances.
Cougars Lead MWC in Home Attendance
BYU, which boasts the largest on-campus home stadium in the Mountain West Conference, has led the MWC in home attendance in all three years of the league's existence, averaging 62,085 fans per game since the 1999 season. In fact, Edwards Stadium has been the site of the league's all-time top-seven crowds.
BYU began the season using a new hi-tech video-editing system to help coaches break down film and prepare for upcoming opponents. Since switching over to the Knowledge Inc., Interactive Play Book, the Cougars are 12-1. In fact, of the two other schools in the country that use the system, the teams have compiled a combined record of 31-3 on the season and won three league titles.
Following the announcement that Gary Crowton would replace LaVell Edwards as the head coach at BYU, Crowton went to work on filling some holes in the coaching staff. Paul Tidwell was hired from Louisiana Tech as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, along with Mike Borich, from the Chicago Bears, as the offensive coordinator. Borich, 33, ranks as one of the 10 youngest coordinators in I-Acollege football.
MWC Player-of-the-Week Honors
Matt Payne (Dec. 2, 2001) - Matt Payne became the fifth BYU player to earn MWC Player-of-the-Week honors after nailing a 25-yard field goal as time expired to give BYU a 41-38 victory at Mississippi State. Payne also made good on a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter to pull the Cougars to within a touchdown.
Luke Staley (Nov. 12, 2001) - Staley earned his third MWC Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor after racking up 172 yards and scoring four more touchdowns, leading BYU to a 41-34 win at Wyoming. His performance also marks his 13th career multiple-scoring game of his career.
Luke Staley (Nov. 5, 2001) - Staley finished the game (vs. Colorado State) with five touchdown carries, marking the second time this season he has equaled the BYU single-game touchdown scoring record. Staley also became BYU's all-time leading scorer (non-kicker), having chalked up 252 career points. Staley racked up 196 yards rushing on 22 carries against the Rams, averaging an astounding 8.9 yards per touch. Staley surpassed passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark on Thursday, marking only the seventh 1,000 yard rushing performance in a single season at BYU. Staley has amassed 1,092 yards on the season, averaging a nation's best 9.1 yards per carry.
Doug Jolley (Oct. 22, 2001) - Doug Jolley recorded 177 yards on 10 receptions and scored three touchdowns to lead BYU to a 63-33 win over Air Force.
Luke Staley (Oct. 8, 2001) - Staley earned weekly POW honors after chalking up 207 yards rushing and five touchdowns against Utah State.
Brandon Doman ( Sept. 10, 2001) - Against Cal, Doman totaled 318 all-purpose yards, including 272 yards passing on 16-of-24 attempts, 29 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving. He chalked up three rushing touchdowns against the Golden Bears and threw for three more. Doman became the first BYU player responsible for six touchdowns since Steve Sarkisian threw for six TDs during the 1996 season.
Ryan Denney (Sept. 10, 2001) -Denney led the defense against Cal with two of the team's five sacks against the Bears. He tallied seven tackles, including six solo takedowns, forced one fumble that led to a BYU TD and was credited with one pass deflection.
Fourth-And-Go For It!
After a successful fake punt at Wyoming, that totaled 42 yards on a fourth-and-six situation, the Cougars improved to 13-of-18 (.720) on fourth down conversions this season. (BYU did not have a fourth-down attempt against Utah or Miss. State.) Three of the fourth-down conversions have gone for touchdowns, including Luke Staley's 37- yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-three in the third quarter against Utah State. Against New Mexico, Brandon Doman converted a crucial fourth-and-11 situation that led to an eventual go-ahead, game-winning touchdown.
Game Situation Result - Touchdown/Turnover
Tulane 4th and 2; McDonald 12-yd rush. Touchdown; five plays later.
Nevada 4th and 3; Staley 44-yd rush. Touchdown.
Nevada 4th and 5; Mortensen pass Inc. Turnover on downs.
Cal 4th and 1; Stearns 23-yd rush. Touchdown; four plays later.
UNLV 4th and 1; Staley 6-yd rush. Touchdown; four plays later.
UNLV 4th and 4; Rigell 42-yd reception. Touchdown; one play later.
Utah State 4th and 1; Staley 5-yd rush. Touchdown; one play later.
Utah State 4th and 1; * Staley 15-yd rush. Touchdown; seven plays later.
Utah State 4th and 3; * Staley 37-yd rush. Touchdown.
New Mexico 4th and 1; * Stearns 3-yard rush. Touchdown; four plays later.
New Mexico 4th and 3; * Wilkerson 28-yd reception. Touchdown.
New Mexico 4th and 5; Ord 4-yd reception. Turnover on downs.
New Mexico 4th and 11; Doman 14-yard rush. Touchdown; two plays later.
Air Force 4th and 5; Mortensen rush (no gain). Turnover on downs.
San Diego St. 4th and 1; Staley 5-yd rush. Touchdown; one play later.
San Diego St. 4th and 2; Stevens 1-yd rush. Turnover on downs.
Colorado St. 4th and 4; Doman 2-yd rush. Turnover on downs.
Wyoming 4th and 6; Stearns 42-yd rush. Touchdown; three plays later.
Hawai'i 4th and 2; Stearns 2-yd rush Field goal; four plays later
Hawai'i 4th and 1; Mahe 1-yd rush Fumble, two plays later
Hawai'i 4th and 2; Stearns 5-yd reception Touchdown; three plays later
* occurred in the same drive.
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. President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 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 BYUCougars, the stadium has been home to 118 games since it was expanded to 65,000 seats in 1982. BYU has produced a 96-22 (.814) 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 138-22 (.863) record in Provo. The Cougars have won eight straight in Provo.
Ramage to Coach Final Game
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 sea - sons 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. The long-time defensive coach celebrated his 66th birthday (Aug. 25) with a 70-35 win over Tulane in th BCAClassic.