Oct. 18, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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> No. 9/10 ranked Utah (6-0, 2-0 MWC) returns to Mountain West Conference play this Saturday, hosting UNLV (2-5, 1-2 MWC) in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is 5 p.m. 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 is in the top 10 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll for the first time since 1994. The Utes are ranked No. 9 in the A.P. and No. 10 in the Coaches poll this week--which is also their highest rank of the year in both polls.
> Utah is ranked No. 7 in the initial 2004 BCS Championship Series standings, released Oct. 18. Utah was ranked No. 9 by the A.P., No. 10 by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' and No. 4 in the computer rankings for an average of No. 7. The Utes trail No. 6 Wisconsin by a miniscule .0004 (.7255-.7251) in the BCS average.
Until this week, Utah had never been ranked in the BCS standings since the system was adopted in 1998 as a means to determine a national champion. This year, the BCS standings will also determine whether a team from the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, the Mid American, Sun Belt or Western Athletic Conferences (or an independent), will qualify for a guaranteed selection in one of the games of the Bowl Championship Series. Utah's No. 7 position in the first BCS standings is the best debut ever by a "mid-major" school. The previous record was held by Northern Illinois (No. 10 in 2003). The 2004 Utes are also approaching new territory with their current No. 9 and 10 rankings in the A.P. and Coaches polls. The best rankings in school history came in 1994, when Utah climbed as high as No. 8 in the coaches poll (Oct. 30 and final) and No. 9 in the A.P. (Oct. 30) and No. 10 (final). For Utah's complete ranking history, please see page 11.
Utah is 3-0 against the BCS in 2004, beating current No. 17 Texas A&M (41-21), Arizona (23-6) and North Carolina (46-16). The Utes are 5-1 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 5-0 vs. the BCS in the last two years.
FILL 'ER UP
Utah is averaging 44,927 to its first three 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 twice. Utah drew 45,419 against Texas A&M in the season-opener, a figure that ranks third in school history. A crowd of 45,319--fourth-biggest ever at the U.--attended last week's game vs. North Carolina. The Sept. 25 game vs. Air Force attracted a near sell-out (44,043).
SMITH IS MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Utah junior quarterback Alex Smith
was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 18 for leading Utah to a 46-16 pasting of North Carolina. It is the third time this season and the sixth time in his career that Smith has won the league's weekly award.
Utah exploded past North Carolina in its first-ever game against an ACC opponent, demolishing the Tarheels 46-16 before the fourth-largest crowd in school history (45,319). Alex Smith
passed for four touchdowns, rushed for another and led Utah to 669 yards of total offense--second-most in school history and the most ever against UNC. Eric Weddle's
11 tackles highlighted another stalwart effort by the defense, which held UNC to just 221 yards of total offense and made an amazing goal line stand with the Tarheels on the Utah 1-yard line on first down. Smith was all but invincible, completing 29-37 passes for 341 yards and rushing for 55 yards. Johnson rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown and receiver Steve Savoy
had a season-best 154 yards and a score.
UTAH VS. THE MWC
Utah's record against Mountain West Conference schools is 200-122-10. Utah's series mark against the MWC schools: Air Force 8-13, Brigham Young 50-31-4, Colorado State 49-21-2, New Mexico 29-15-2, San Diego State 11-11-1, UNLV 8-1, Wyoming 45-30-1.
is 16-2 in his second season at Utah and 33-8 in three years as a head coach. He is 1-0 vs. UNLV. 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 10-1 (5-1 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 10 games--tied for the third-longest win streak in school history. 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.
Utah is taking aim at its first 7-0 start since 1994. Utah has started the season 7-0 three times in its history ... In two years under Meyer, Utah is 7-1 in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes' last home loss was to New Mexico on Oct. 25, 2003 ... All-time, Utah is 343-168-16 at home, 25-11 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 has been red hot in the red zone all season. The Utes have scored on 29-32 red zone attempts (91%), with 27 of those scores touchdowns. Utah could have scored on another red zone attempt but chose to run out the clock when it was on the North Carolina 3-yard line on Oct. 16, lowering its red zone rate from 6-6 to 6-7. Opponents have scored on 12-20 (60%) trips inside Utah's red zone--nine 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 (498.2 ypg), total defense (315.5 ppg), scoring offense (39.2 ppg), scoring defense (15.2 ppg), pass efficiency offense (167.3) and pass defense (190.0). Utah is also second in the league in rushing offense (233.3 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (104.64 ypg). Nationally, Utah's best rankings are in total offense (4), scoring offense (6), pass efficiency (6), net punting (6, 40.97), rushing offense (12), scoring defense (15), pass efficiency defense (19). Complete conference and national rankings for Utah can be found on page 4 of this release.