Cougs' and Aggies Clash Friday

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Rejuvenated after its only bye week of the season, BYU (2-2) will take to the road for its third of four straight road games, traveling to Utah State on Friday, Oct. 4. After opening the season with wins over Syracuse and Hawaii, the Cougars will enter the in-state battle having lost two straight, including a 28-19 loss at Georgia Tech on Sept. 21. The Aggies, who will be hosting their third home game of the season, will enter Friday's contest with a record of 1-4. Utah State lost on Saturday at Boise State, 63-38. The game will mark the 76th contest between the two teams with BYU owning a 39-33-3 record since the teams first met on Oct. 7, 1922.


Saturday's game will be broadcast live to a local television audience on KSL, Ch. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. (MDT). Dave McCann will call the action, with Blaine Fowler lending color analysis. Fans can also tune to KSL 1160-AM with Greg Wrubell calling the action and Marc Lyons lending expert analysis. Bill Riley will report from the sidelines. The game will be re-broadcast Monday, Oct. 7 on BYU-TV at 8 p.m. (MST) and on KBYU at 10:30 p.m. (MST).


The Cougars will depart Provo on Thursday, Oct. 3 at approximately 6 p.m. (MDT), arriving in the Logan area at 8:30 p.m. (MST). The team will stay in Wellsville Canyon at the Best Western Sherwood Hills. BYU will return to Provo via bus charter immediately following the game.


Friday's game will mark the 76th meeting between the two schools. The Cougars own a 39-33-3 record in the series, dating back to Oct. 7, 1922. In Logan, the Aggies own an 18-12-2 record over BYU, however the Cougars have won 8 of the last 10 games at Romney Stadium, including a 34-31 overtime victory in the two team's last meeting in Logan during the 1999 season. Friday's game will mark only the fifth game between the two teams in Logan since the 1989 season. Interestingly, Friday's game will mark the last time the two teams will play until the 2005 season, marking the longest gap in the rivalry since World War II interrupted the series between 1943 and 1945. Currently, BYU has won six straight games in the rivalry, including last season's 54-34 win in Provo. The Cougars have won 19 of the last 21 games between the two teams. Utah State last won in 1993, knocking off BYU, 58-56, in Logan.


Three sets of brothers will be squaring off against one another this weekend, including Brady (BYU) and Casey (USU) Poppinga, Brandon (BYU) and Jason (USU) Stephens and Gabriel (BYU) and Jared (USU) Reid. BYU's Stephens is a reserve offensive lineman, while the Aggies' Stephens plays tight end. The Cougars' Poppinga leads the roster with nine tackles for loss, including five sacks. USU's Poppinga has nine receptions for 73 yards as the Aggies' starting tight end. BYU's Reid has eight receptions for 60 yards at tight end, while USU's Reid has seen action on special teams.


BYU's Luke Staley racked up a career-high 207 yards rushing and five touchdowns in helping BYU to a 54-34 victory over Utah State last season. Not to be overshadowed, quarterback Brandon Doman threw for 293 yards on 24-of-34 attempts, including four touchdown completions. With the win, Doman improved to 7-0 as a starter, marking the first BYU quarterback to win seven straight games since Robbie Bosco in 1984. The 20-point victory was a lot closer than the final score indicated. The Aggies took a 27-21 lead at the half, and with 12:41 left in the third quarter, Utah State extended the lead to 34-21 on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chris Stallworth. The 13-point margin marked BYU's largest deficit of the season. The drive began when Utah State kicker Dane Kidman recovered his own kickoff to open the second half. Kidman's extra point, following the Stallworth touchdown, would be the Aggies final point of the game. Staley led the Cougar comeback by scoring a 37-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-three play on the next drive. The Cougars had two fourth-down conversions on that drive alone. Jernaro Gilford intercepted an errant Jose Fuentes pass and returned it 62 yards on the Aggies next possession. Staley would score on the next two BYU possessions while the Cougar defense buckled down. Staley's five touchdowns tied the BYU record for most touchdowns and most points in a game.


Entering Friday's game, the Cougars have lost two straight games, marking the first time since the 2000 season BYU has lost two straight games during the same regular season. The Cougars have not lost three straight regular-season games (during the same season) since 1993. Interestingly, BYU lost four straight during the 1993 campaign, including a 58-56 defeat at Utah State. BYU has not lost three consecutive games, either during the same season, or over a span of seasons, since losing to Wyoming, Utah and Marshall to end the 1999 season. The Cougars dropped the season-opener against Florida State in 2000, marking the team's fourth straight loss. BYU entered this season with two straight losses (at Hawaii, vs. Louisville), but ended the chances of a third straight defeat with a season-opening win over Syracuse, 42-21.


Since 1922, the Cougars have posted a 33-25-2 (.562) record following an off week, including a mark of 16-6 since the 1984 season. BYU is 2-0 following a bye week during the Crowton era.


Friday's game will mark the third straight road game for the Cougars. Since hitting the road on Saturday, Sept. 14 (at Nevada), the Cougars will not return to the friendly confines of LaVell Edwards Stadium until Saturday, Oct. 19. During that stretch the Cougars play at Nevada, Georgia Tech, Utah State and Air Force. After an Oct. 19 home game against UNLV, the Cougars will take to the road yet again for a league game at Colorado State. Over a span of seven weeks, BYU will play just one home game.


Even before the 2002 season began, the Cougars lost three players to season-ending injuries. Redshirt freshman C.J. AhYou was lost on the first day of Fall Camp, suffering a torn ACL. AhYou, who was slated to start at defensive end missed the majority of last season also with a torn ACL. Just under two weeks prior to the Cougars' season-opener, senior offensive tackle Ben Archibald was lost for the season after suffering a mid-shaft compound fracture. Archibald, an Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate, is expected to apply for a sixth-year following the 2002 season. Reserve senior cornerback Todd Barker injured his surgically-repaired shoulder and will be unable to return for his final season at BYU. Cornerback Mike Sumko suffered a torn abductor muscle (against Hawaii) and has been listed as probable for Friday's game. Sophomore running Marcus Whalen suffered a pulled abductor muscle at Georgia Tech. Whalen will be re-evaluated this week and has been listed as a game-time decision. Cornerback James Allen has been hampered by a high ankle sprain all season. Allen has received significant rest over the past two weeks and will be evaluated by team trainers this week. His status has yet to be determined.

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