Oct. 11, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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> No. 11/10 ranked Utah (5-0, 2-0 MWC) returns off a bye week to play North Carolina (3-3, 2-2 ACC), Saturday, Oct. 16 starting at 8:00 p.m. MDT in Rice-Eccles. The game will be televised by KJZZ. For tickets, visit the Ute box office at Rice-Eccles Stadium, call 801-581-UTIX or order online at www.utahtickets.com.
> Utah moved into the top 10 for the first time since 1994, checking in at No. 10 in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Utes remained No. 11 for a second straight week in the Associated Press poll.
> Utah's current top 10 ranking is its best since 1994. In 1994, Utah was ranked as high as No. 9 in the A.P. (Oct. 30) and No. 10 (final). The Utes shot as high as No. 8 in the coaches poll (Oct. 30 and final). For Utah's complete ranking history, please see page 11.
> Utah is aiming for its first 6-0 start since 1994. Utah has started the season 6-0 six times in its history.
UNC is the third Bowl Championship Series team Utah will face this season. The Utes are 2-0 against the BCS in 2004, beating Texas A&M (41-21) and Arizona (23-6). The Utes are 4-1 against BCS teams under Head Coach Urban Meyer
, counting a 2-1 mark last year. Utah beat California and Oregon and suffered a two-point loss at Texas A&M in 2003. With Alex Smith
as the starting quarterback, Utah is 4-0 vs. the BCS in the last two years.
FILL 'ER UP
Utah is averaging 44,731 to its first two home games of the season, which puts it on target to beat last year's school-record 41,478 average. Rice-Eccles Stadium seats 45,017 and the Utes oversold the stadium for their first home game on Sept 2 (45,419 vs. Texas A&M). A near sell-out crowd of 44,043 attended the Sept. 25 game vs. Air Force.
In a game billed as the league's best offense against its best defense, Utah's offense won. So did its defense--ranked second in scoring defense to New Mexico coming into their Oct. 1 game, but winning the upper hand in head-to-head competition, 28-7 in Albuquerque. Entering the game, UNM was only allowing 66.3 rushing yards per game--also best in the MWC. That was before Utah rolled up 278 rushing yards while holding the Lobos to just 74. The total offense numbers were just as lopsided, as Utah won that battle 466-157. The Lobos managed just eight first downs against Utah's stifling defense and punted 14 times, breaking a 55-year-old Utah record for most punts by an opponent. And New Mexico's only score did not come against the defense. It came on a questionable fumble return on what appeared to be an incomplete pass. Quinton Ganther
ran for a career-high 106 yards, Marty Johnson
rushed for 99 yards and Steve Savoy
had 150 receiving yards to lead the offense. Eric Weddle
led the defense with 7 tackles, while Morgan Scalley
had an interception, a sack and a pass breakup, and Tommy Hackenbruck
chipped in 6 tackles (3 for a loss).
Utah and North Carolina have never played in football. Next year, Utah will complete the home and away series by going to Chapel Hill for a game.
UTAH VS. THE ACC
Utah has played at least one team from every NCAA Division IA conference except the Atlantic Coast Conference.
is 15-2 in his second season at Utah and 32-8 in three years as a head coach. He is 0-0 against North Carolina. 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.
MEYER MAKES DODDS WATCH LIST
Utah Head Coach Urban Meyer
has been named to the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year "Watch List." Other Division IA coaches on the Dodd Foundation Watch List include: Pete Carroll, USC; Mark Richt, Georgia; Joe Tiller, Purdue; Larry Coker, Miami; Dan Hawkins, Boise State and Paul Johnson, Navy. This year's recipient will be announced during halftime of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Dec. 31, 2004.
Utah has won its last nine games--tied for the third-longest win streak in school history--dating back to a win at Air Force on Nov. 1, 2003. The school record is 16 straight wins from 1928-30. Utah won 11 straight from 1904-1905. The 2004 Utes own the school record for consecutive road or neutral site wins with eight.
Four of Utah's remaining six games will be played in Salt Lake City ... In two years under Meyer, Utah is 6-1 in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes' last home loss was to New Mexico on Oct. 25, 2003 ... Utah is 2-0 coming off bye weeks under Meyer. The Utes beat Colorado State and Wyoming after bye weeks last year ...All-time, Utah is 342-168-16 at home, 24-11 in Rice-Eccles Stadium (1998-on), 197-221-13 in road games and 12-14-2 in games played at neutral sites.
IN THE ZONE
Utah remains red hot in the red zone after scoring touchdowns on four of five trips inside the 20 against New Mexico. Utah has scored on 23 of 25 red zone attempts, with 22 of those touchdowns. Opponents have scored on 9-16 trips inside Utah's red zone--seven of those touchdowns. Complete offensive and defensive red zone statistics can be found on page 4 of this release.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
In addition to sitting atop the standings, Utah leads the Mountain West Conference in total offense (464.0 ypg), total defense (334.4 ppg), scoring offense (37.8 ppg), scoring defense (15.0 ppg) and pass efficiency offense (161.6). Utah is also second in the league in rushing offense (222.4 ypg) and pass defense (193.4 ypg). Nationally, Utah's best rankings are in pass efficiency (9), scoring offense (11), total offense (12), net punting (12, 40.44), rushing offense (14), scoring defense (19) and turnover margin (20, 1.0). Complete conference and national rankings for Utah can be found on page 4 of this release.