Sept. 20, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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Below are a few notes for this week's Utah football game vs. Air Force. For the complete release, please download the PDF.
No. 14 Utah (3-0, 0-0 MWC) plays Air Force (2-1, 1-0 MWC) in Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1:00 p.m. MDT. The game will be to a regional television audience on ESPN+Plus, which is shown on KJZZ locally.
Saturday's game is Homecoming at Utah. The Utes are 50-28-4 all-time in Homecoming games but 0-2 vs. Air Force (2000 and 2002).
Utah is No. 14 in both polls this week, moving up one position in the Associated Press rankings and holding steady in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.
Utah Head Coach Urban Meyer picked up career win No. 30 against Utah State last Saturday.
Utah is trying for its first 4-0 start since 1994. The 1994 Utes first broke into the rankings at 4-0 and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the A.P. and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll. Utah has started the season 4-0 15 times.
Utah's starters blasted out to a 41-0 halftime lead and a lineup of mostly reserves played the rest of the way in a 48-6 win over Utah State in Logan. It was the most points Utah has ever scored against the Aggies. Alex Smith completed 9-12 passes for 163 yards and 1 TD and rushed for 44 yards and 1 TD in one half of work. True freshman Brian Johnson played most of the second half at quarterback, while junior Fano Tagovailoa played several series at quarterback and receiver. Johnson completed 5-8 passes for 53 yards and his first collegiate touchdown--a 6-yard third-quarter pass to John Madsen. Madsen (4 catches, 69 yards, 1 TD) and Paris Warren (3 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD) led the Ute receivers. Marty Johnson rushed 11 times for 76 yards (6.9 yards per rush) and 1 TD in less than three quarters. Utah held USU to 48 rushing yards (9 in the first half) and the first string defense did not allow a point. Defensive end Jonathan Fanene picked up his first career interception and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown.
Utah snapped a three-game Air Force win streak last year in Colorado Springs in triple overtime. Air Force has a 13-7 series lead. Air Force leads 6-4 in Salt Lake City, where Utah has not won since 1995.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Utah won the first triple overtime game in MWC history on Nov. 1, 2003, beating Air Force 45-43. It was a wild finish to a game that Utah led 23-7 through three quarters only to see AFA tie it up at 23 with 3:09 left in regulation. The Falcons had a chance to win it in regulation, but Spencer Toone blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt to send the game into overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns in all three overtime periods. Utah won it on a two-point conversion pass from tight end Ben Moa to fellow tight end Matt Hansen. Moa was the star of the day, catching 5 passes for 68 yards and rushing 9 times for 26 yards and 3 touchdowns. Alex Smith passed for 297 yards and 1 TD and rushed for 89 yards.
UTAH VS. THE MWC
Utah's record against Mountain West Conference schools is 198-122-10. Air Force is the only MWC school that has a winning record against the Utes. Utah's series marks against the MWC: Air Force 7-13, Brigham Young 50-31-4, Colorado State 49-21-2, New Mexico 28-15-2, San Diego State 11-11-1, UNLV 8-1, Wyoming 45-30-1.
Urban Meyer is 13-2 in his second season at Utah and 30-8 in three years as a head coach. He is 1-0 against Air Force. After concluding the best season in Utah history in 2003, Meyer was named the MWC Coach of the Year and The Sporting News' National Coach of the Year. In July, he received the prestigious Victor Award as the 2003 College Coach of the Year. Utah finished the season ranked No. 21 in both the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Widely considered one of the up-and-comers in the college coaching ranks, his career record against BCS teams is 9-1 (4-1 at Utah). Meyer, 40, was hired by Utah on Dec. 12, 2002 after leading Bowling Green to a two-year record of 17-6 from 2001-02. Under Meyer, BGSU cracked the AP Top 20 after starting the 2002 season with eight straight wins. Named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year as a first-year head coach in 2001, Meyer went 8-3 and 9-3 in his two years at BG. His previous coaching stops included assistantships at Ohio State (graduate assistant), Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame.
HAIL TO THE CHAMPIONS
More than 40 members of Utah's 1964 Liberty Bowl championship team will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game. A dinner will be held Friday for the team that went 9-2 and beat West Virginia in the 1964 Liberty Bowl
Utah was ranked once previously when playing Air Force. The No. 12 (A.P.)/No. 14 (Coaches) Utes lost to Air Force, 33-40, in Colorado Springs in 1994 ... Utah has opened league play four times against Air Force and is 1-3 in those games. The years Utah kicked off its conference season vs. the Falcons follow: 2002 (L), 2000 (L), 1991 (L), 1984 (W) ... Utah's record in games televised by ESPN+Plus is 11-6 ... The Utes are 341-168-16 at home, 23-11 in Rice-Eccles Stadium (1998-on), 196-221-13 in road games and 12-14-2 in games played at neutral sites.
IN THE ZONE
Utah is scoring 100% of the time in the red zone (13-13) and 92% of those have been touchdowns (12). Opponents have scored on 5-12 trips inside the 20 (42%) and only 25% have been touchdowns (3).
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Utah has the MWC's most productive offense and defense in this week's MWC rankings. The Utes lead the conference in scoring offense (37.33 ppg), scoring defense (11.0 ppg), total offense (449.7 ypg) and total defense (348.0 ypg). Utah also leads the league in passing efficiency (181.0), turnover margin (+2.0) and kickoff return average (27.25). For Utah's national rankings, please see page 4 of this release.