Aug. 27, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY--
> Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Northern Colorado (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) in the season opener for both teams on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 5:15 p.m. MT in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (in Utah, Comcast channel 757/HD and 37/SD). Radio is ESPN700 AM (espn700sports.com) and SIRIUS 128.
> Utah and Northern Colorado are playing in the first football game ever televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
> While a sellout is anticipated for Thursday's game, standing room only tickets are available and may be purchased on UtahUtes.com, at the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office and by calling 801-581-UTIX.
> Looking ahead, some bleacher seats and standing room tickets remain for home games against California, Washington State and Arizona, while the BYU and USC games are sold out. For the fifth-consecutive season, all 32,000 allotted season tickets were sold.
> Utah leads the series with Northern Colorado 2-0 in games played back in 1936 and 1937. See page 2 for complete series information.
> Utah is 34-0 all-time against current Big Sky Conference schools. The Utes opened the 2011 season with a 27-10 victory over Big Sky member Montana State.
> Utah was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the 2012 preseason media poll.
> Utah has made 10 bowl appearances since 2001, going 9-1 with a 2-0 record in BCS bowl games. Utah is one of just three teams in the country to win six bowl games in the last seven years (with Florida and TCU).
Utah finished 8-5 overall and 4-5 in its first year in the Pac-12 Conference, tying for third in the South Division. Utah won five of its last six games including four straight Pac-12 wins. The Utes, who were in the running for a berth in the first Pac-12 Championship game until the last week of the season, earned the league's first bowl win, beating Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime in the Sun Bowl. Earning first-team all-Pac-12 honors were offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom
, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei
and defensive end Derrick Shelby
. Lotulelei won the Morris Award as the league's top defensive lineman. Making second-team all-conference were offensive tackle John Cullen
and running back John White
IN THE HUDDLE
Quarterback Adam Schulz
and cornerback Tyler White
have been awarded scholarships. Both are redshirt freshmen ... In the final week of fall camp, redshirt freshman running back Jarrell Oliver
moved past JC transfer Kelvin York
for the backup job behind John White
. York is on the depth chart at No. 3 ... A freshman will start at rover linebacker where Jared Norris
and LT Filiaga
are in a dead heat for the job ... Others preparing for their first starts as Utes are offensive linemen Jeremiah Tofaeono
at left guard and Percy Taumoelau
at right tackle. Along with Norris and/or Filiaga, new starters on defense include Nate Fakahafua
at left end and V.J. Fehoko
at middle linebacker. Everyone else in the starting lineup has started in at least one game in his career.
TWO MINUTE DRILL
Utah returns 18 starters and 55 lettermen from last year's 8-5 Sun Bowl champion team ... Kyle Whittingham
is 66-25 entering his eighth season as Utah's head coach ... Quarterback Jordan Wynn
was granted an additional year from the NCAA after a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth game of 2011. Wynn, a junior, will start for his fourth season ... Senior preseason All-America defensive tackle Star Lotulelei
is viewed by many as the top interior defensive lineman in the country. Lotulelei made a number of preseason All-America teams including CBSSports.com, SportsIllustrated.com, Phil Steele and Athlon ... Senior John White
is coming off the best season ever by a Ute running back (1,519 yards) and is the top returning rusher in the Pac-12 (116.8 ypg) ... The only position without a starter returning is at offensive tackle where Utah must replace all-conference players Tony Bergstrom
(first team) and John Cullen
(second team) ... Brian Johnson
will call his first game as an offensive coordinator this Thursday. At age 25, Johnson is the youngest coordinator in the country ... For the second-straight year, there was a 98-percent renewal rate for Utah football season tickets. Every game in Rice-Eccles Stadium for the last two seasons has sold out and the average attendance for each the past four seasons has exceeded the 45,017 seating capacity. The Utes have sold out 12 consecutive home games.
By 2:45 p.m., fans should line up at the corner of Guardsman Way and 500 South for the traditional pre-game "Ute Walk" ... A skydiving Swoop will jump from an airplane while carrying a Utah and Pac-12 Network flag, which he will present to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott during the pre-game band performance ... The Utes will run out of a new tunnel for the pre-game intros ... 10,000 pom sticks will be handed out at the gates.
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The first Kyle Whittingham
radio coach's show of the season is Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. on ESPN700. The show will be broadcast live from Harmon's City Creek and is free to the public. Typically, the show runs on Wednesdays, with three Tuesday exceptions (Aug. 28, Oct. 2 and Nov. 20) ... At halftime, Utah native Trevor Lewis, a member of the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings, will be introduced ... During a first-quarter break, Utah women's tennis coach Mat Iandolo will be presented with the Don Reddish Award as the school's top coach for 2011-12 (award is for coaches other than those in the sports of basketball, football and gymnastics). Iandolo led the team to the second round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships.
The Crazy Lady will perform near the end of halftime (approximately the 4:00 mark) instead of at the third quarter break to get the fans on their feet as the Utes run out of the locker room ... The Utah marching band will play a taiko, a Japanese drum that is 72" in diameter and weighs more than 600 pounds, along with smaller accompanying drums, during the third quarter break. At the conclusion of the taiko performance, the ROTC cannon will sound four times to signify the start of the fourth quarter ... The Utes will unveil a black helmet with a red circle and feather logo for the annual blackout game on Oct. 27 vs. Cal. The team will wear the black helmet periodically throughout the season in a variety of different uniform combinations that could feature red, white or black jerseys and pants. Replica black helmets will be available for purchase at the University Campus store leading up to the blackout game
Utah has five alumni coaches: Jay Hill
, CB/ST; Brian Johnson
, OC/QB; Chad Kauha'aha'a
, DL; Morgan Scalley
, SAF and Sharrieff Shah
, CB #utes ... Four Utes are preparing to start for their fourth season: OL Tevita Stevens
, DT Dave Kruger
, WR Luke Matthews
and P Sean Sellwood