Cougars take on Fighting Irish Saturday

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PROVO, Utah -- Following a much-needed week off, the Cougars will make a return visit to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 1994. The Cougars will take on Notre Dame beginning at 2:46 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Nov. 15 in front of a national television audience on NBC (KSL, Ch. 5). The Cougars last took the field on Thursday, Oct. 30, falling to Boise State, 50-12, while the Irish are coming off a 27-20 win over Navy on Saturday. The Cougars will enter South Bend with a 4-6 overall record, while the Irish have posted a record of 3-6 on the season, including wins over Washington State (in overtime), Pittsburgh and Navy.

THE HISTORY: BYU vs. NOTRE DAME -- The Fourth Meeting
Saturday's game will mark the fourth meeting between the two schools, dating back to Oct. 24, 1992. The Irish hold a 2-1 lead in the series, including a 42-16 win at Notre Dame in 1992 and a 45-20 win in Provo during the 1993 season. The Cougars won the last meeting between the two teams, upending the Irish, 21-14, at Notre Dame Stadium during the 1994 season. In the previous three games, the Irish have averaged 33.6 points against the Cougars, while BYU has posted an average 16.7 points per contest. While the game will mark BYU head coach Gary Crowton's third time coaching against the Irish, it will be his first as a head coach. Crowton was an assistant on the 1993 Boston College team that upset top-ranked Notre Dame, 41-39, in South Bend.

KICKOFF: 2:46 p.m. (EST)
SITE: South Bend, Indiana; Notre Dame Stadium (80,795)
TELEVISION: NBC; (Tom Hammond and Pat Haden)
RADIO: KSL-Radio, 1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, Bill Riley)
THE SERIES: Notre Dame leads, 2-1
LAST MEETING: Oct. 15, 1994 (BYU, 21-14)

TELEVISION - Saturday's game will be broadcast to a national audience on NBC (KSL-TV, Ch. 5 in Salt Lake City.) The game will be broadcast beginning at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Tom Hammond will call the action with former NFL quarterback Pat Haden lending expert analysis.

RADIO - Fans can tune to KSL Radio--the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars--and follow the action with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley.

INTERNET - A live webcast of the game, which includes play-by-play and up-to-the-minute statistics, can be viewed by logging on to:

In addition, a live audio stream of the game will be available at both of the following URL's:

From national publications to live television broadcasts, BYU football is one of the more visible programs in the country. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 52-36-2 record when playing nationally televised games, including a 24-16 mark on ABC and a 28-23-2 record on ESPN or ESPN2. Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average of three times per season. Since the 1980 season, BYU has played in at least one nationally-televised game per year. On Sept. 1, 1984, Robbie Bosco led BYU to a 20-14 victory over Pitt in the first live ESPN College football broadcast. Saturday's game will mark the fifth nationally televised games this season. (The Cougars' games at USC and UNLV were "split" nationally on ABC.) Saturday's game will mark the fifth appearance for the Cougars on NBC. BYU has posted a 2-2 record on NBC, including a mark of 1-1 against Notre Dame when playing on NBC.

- Saturday's game will mark the fifth meeting between the two schools.

- As the quarterback coach at Boston College, BYU head coach Gary Crowton helped engineer a 41-39 win over top-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend during the 1993 season.

- The Irish have posted a 2-3 record at home this season, while the Cougars are 3-2 when playing on the road. BYU last won on the road on Oct. 25 at UNLV in a come-from-behind, overtime thriller. The game will mark the final home contest for the Irish this season.

- Notre Dame has won nine of its last 10 final home games, while the Cougars, who are playing on the road for the final time this season, have won just five of their last 1 final road games.

- With a current record of 4-6, the Cougars need to win their final two games of the season in order to finish .500 on the season, and keep their bowl hopes alive.

- After finishing 5-7 last season, the Cougars are in danger of recording their second straight losing season, which would mark the first back-to-back losing campaigns since the 1970 and 1971 seasons.

- Should BYU fail to qualify for a bowl game, it will mark the first time since the 1972 and 1973 seasons the Cougars have not played in a bowl game in back-to-back years.

- Saturday's game will mark the first time BYU has played Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish have not been ranked. Notre Dame was ranked 10th in 1992, third in 1993 and 17th in 1994.

- If BYU wins Saturday's game at Notre Dame, it will become the first time a team from the Mountain West has defeated the Fighting Irish. (Air Force has previously defeated Notre Dame, but not as a member of the MWC.)

- Saturday's game will mark the first of three scheduled dates between the Cougars and Irish. The two teams will meet next season in Provo and again in South Bend during the 2005 season.

- Saturday's game will mark the third time this season the Cougars have entered a game with more wins than their opponents. In the previous two games, BYU is 1-1. The Cougars have played

Following a team safety -- as a result of a bad snap -- in the first quarter against Boise State, BYU extended its NCAA-record streak to 360 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) Interestingly, the Cougars do not have a single player on their rosters who was alive the last time BYU was shutout.

The Cougar defense, which ranks 18th nationally and yields 310.4 yards per game, will face a Notre Dame offense that is 97th in the nation in total offense with an average of 322.6 yards per game. Irish running back Julius Jones is 35th in the nation in rushing, averaging 92.8 yards a contest. BYU's defense ranks third in the MWC and is tied for 32nd nationally with 12 interceptions. Jernaro Gilford, John Denney and Aaron Francisco lead the Cougars in interceptions with two a piece. Nine Cougars have at least one interception. Against UNLV, Francisco grabbed his first interception of the year to seal the Cougars' victory in overtime. The following week Francisco intercepted Bronco quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie--the first interception Dinwiddie had thrown in 173 attempts and only his second of the season. The BYU defense has scored one touchdown on the season. Interestingly, that touchdown came against San Diego State, marking the third straight game at Qualcomm Stadium the Cougars have scored a defensive touchdown ('99, Hans Olson; '01, Isaac Kelley; '03, Colby Bockwoldt.). On the season, the BYU defense has prevented its opponents from gaining its season average in eight of nine games.

Last season the Cougars gave up an average 2.9 turnovers per game. After 10 games, BYU has produced a minus 10 turnover margin. While recording four turnovers against Georgia Tech, allowing just two, the Cougars gave up five turnovers against USC, while forcing just three turnovers. In a defensive battle at New Mexico, the Cougars recovered one fumble, and did not allow a single turnover. Stanford won the turnover battle, throwing two interceptions while recovering three BYU fumbles and intercepting two passes. Against Air Force BYU had one interception and lost one fumble. Against San Diego State BYU recovered two fumbles and intercepted one pass, while the Aztecs recovered three Cougar fumbles. Against Colorado State, BYU recovered two fumbles, while the Rams also recovered two fumbles and recorded two interceptions. Wyoming and BYU committed three turnovers a piece. BYU produced a minus two turnover margin last week against the Rebels. On the season BYU committed 32 turnovers, while its opponents have committed 22.

On the season, the Cougars have scored 10 of 26 times it has entered the Red Zone. In the season-opener against Georgia Tech, BYU scored on 3-of-4 trips inside Georgia Tech's 20-yard line, including two touchdowns and a field goal. Defensively, the Cougars gave up two field goals, and forced a fumble inside the Red Zone. In one of the best red zone defensive series of the night, Georgia Tech had a first-and-goal from the Cougars' four-yard line. Linebacker Mike Tanner and Cougarback Aaron Francisco stopped P.J. Daniels for a one-yard to bring up second and goal from the three-yard line. After a delay of game penalty, Tech quarterback Reggie Ball threw the ball away as the Cougars applied exceptional defensive coverage. Facing third and goal from the eight-yard line, defensive end John Denney swatted Ball's pass attempt to force fourth-and-goal from the eight-yard line. The Yellow Jackets managed a a 26-yard field goal after having the ball inside the four-yard line. Against fourth-ranked USC, the Cougars scored on three-of-three attempts inside the Red Zone, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt Berry to Daniel Coats. Following is a game-by-game look at both the Cougars' Red Zone offense and Red Zone defense on the season. At UNLV, the Cougars entered the Red Zone four times and scored three touchdowns and one field goal, including the game winning touchdown pass from Matt Berry to Toby Christensen in overtime.

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