Alabama Football Game One Notes: Utah State

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Tide faces Utah State for the first time in 2004 season opener
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Brodie Croyle
Brodie Croyle

Helmet Utah State

Helmet Alabama

Utah State Aggies (0-0) at
Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0, 0-0)

September 4, 2004 ? 6:00 p.m. CST (PPV)
Bryant-Denny Stadium ? Tuscaloosa, AL

COMPLETE GAME NOTES:

ALABAMA QUICK NOTES:

  • Alabama opens its 110th season of football this weekend against Utah State
  • The Crimson Tide is 84-21-3 (.792) all-time in season openers
  • The Utah State game marks just the fifth time since 1941 the Crimson Tide has opened the season at Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • Utah State is the 117th different football opponent for Alabama
    UA is 88-28 (.759) all-time against first-time opponents
  • The UA roster contains 46 freshmen and redshirt freshmen
  • Of the 48 players listed on the UA depth chart, 23 of those players have never played for the Crimson Tide
  • Alabama has lost its last five games to teams playing for the first time in Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • Alabama is 17-5 (.773) in night games at Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • UA seeks its 150th all-time win in the month of September
  • UA is 2-0 all time on Sept. 4

2004 SEASON OPENER

The Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its 110th season of intercollegiate football on Saturday, Sept. 4 as they host the Utah State Aggies (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis beginning at 6 p.m. (CT).  Alabama is looking to improve on last year’s 4-9 record, but must do so with a roster that contains more than 40 freshmen and redshirt freshmen.  The Crimson Tide lost its final three games of the 2003 season and closed out the season by losing five of its last six games against the nation’s most challenging football schedule.  Alabama has won its last two season openers, including last year’s 40-17 win over South Florida on Aug. 30 at Legion Field, marking a successful head coaching debut for coach Mike Shula.  The Utah State game marks the first time since 2001 that Alabama has opened the season here in Tuscaloosa.  In addition, the Utah State game is just the fifth season opener here in Tuscaloosa since 1941. Handling the announcing duties for the Crimson Tide Sports Network’s pay-per-view telecast are David Crane (play-by-play), Tyer Watts (color) and Chris Stewart (sidelines).  The game will also be aired on the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (color analyst) and Tom Roberts (sidelines) describing the action. 

THE HEAD COACHES

Coach Mike Shula (4-9, .308) begins his sophomore season as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Shula compiled a 4-9 (.308) record in his rookie season at Alabama last year against the nation’s most difficult schedule.  The Crimson Tide lost to both teams (Oklahoma and LSU) that played in the BCS National Championship game last season.  Shula previously served as an assistant coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Chicago and Miami.  A three-year letterman at Alabama (1984-86), Shula was a two-time All-SEC selection and threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior (1985), leading Alabama to dramatic come-from-behind wins over Georgia and Auburn.  Utah State head coach Mick Dennehy has compiled a 65-54 (.546) record in 11 years as a collegiate head coach.  In his fifth season at Utah State, Dennehy is 16-29 (.356) with the Aggies.  A 1973 graduate of Montana, Dennehy served as head coach at his alma mater (1996-99) before taking over the Aggies program for the 2000 season.

‘64 TEAM HONORED

The 2004 season marks the 40th anniversary of Alabama’s 1964 National Championship season.  The 1964 team will be honored this weekend at the Utah State game.  The ‘64 team posted a 10-1 overall record and outscored the opposition 250-88 in winning the second national title in the Paul “Bear” Bryant era.

UP NEXT

Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play next weekend as they host the Ole Miss Rebels on Sept. 11 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The game will be televised nationally by espn2 with kickoff set for 8:06 p.m. (CT) from Tuscaloosa.

HISTORY OF ALABAMA FOOTBALL

*The University of Alabama is in its 110th football season and has compiled a 758-293-43 (.713) all-time record in 1,094 games.

*The Crimson Tide played its first football game on Nov. 11, 1892 with a 56-0 win over Birmingham High School in Birmingham.

*Alabama is fifth on the all-time victory list for Division I.

*The Crimson Tide football legacy includes 12 national championships and 21 SEC championships. 

*UA also ranks among the best in post-season play, holding the NCAA record for most bowl games (51) and wins (29).

*UA has also logged 27 10-win seasons, the most by any Division I school.

*In terms of SEC play, Alabama holds an overwhelming lead over second-place Tennessee (18) and third-place Georgia (14).

*Alabama also has more 10-win seasons than LSU (6), Ole Miss (6), Kentucky (2), Miss. State (2), South Carolina (1) and Vanderbilt (0) combined.

THE STAFF

*Shula’s nine on-the-field assistant coaches have combined for 175 years of experience in the high school, college and pro ranks.

*Three of the Crimson Tide’s assistant coaches have previously served as Division I head coaches, including defensive coordinator Joe Kines (Arkansas, 1992), offensive coordinator Dave Rader (Tulsa, 1988-99) and Sparky Woods (South Carolina, 1989-93).

*In addition, another three coaches are serving their second stint on the UA staff, including Kines (Defensive Coordinator, 1985-86), Rader (Quarterbacks/Receivers Coach, 1983-85) and Charlie Harbison (Secondary, 1998-2000).

*Kines and Rader were on Ray Perkins’ coaching staff in the mid 1980s when current head coach Mike Shula was the starting quarterback.  Shula’s position coach was Rader and he worked against Kines’ defensive unit each day in practice.

2004 CRIMSON TIDE OUTLOOK

Alabama returns six starters on offense and seven starters on defense from last year’s team.

*Junior quarterback Brodie Croyle (6-3, 205, Rainbow City) returns after an injury-plagued sophomore season.  Despite the injuries, Croyle threw for more than 2,000 yards last season and set the single-season school record for pass attempts (341) and his 16 TD passes tied the the single-season record, coincidentally held by his coach, Mike Shula.

*The Crimson Tide must find a replacement for do-it-all running back Shaud Williams, who accounted for 66 percent of UA’s rushing offense last season and 14 of Bama’s 17 rushing TDs.

*Senior halfback Ray Hudson (5-11, 203, Bonifay, Fla.) is the Tide’s leading returning rusher, while fullback Tim Castille (5-11, 228, Birmingham) is the leading returning receiver.

*Castille and sophomore fullback Le’Ron McClain (6-1, 258, Northport) could be a punishing combination in the Tide backfield this season.  The duo weighs in at a combined 486 pounds.

*Sophomore receiver Tyrone Prothro (5-8, 176, Heflin) is the only UA receiver with a career pass reception.  Prothro had 16 catches for 191 yards and one TD last year as a freshman.

*While Prothro is the lone player with a career reception, that list will grow quickly this season as the Crimson Tide sports a talented group of freshman receivers. 

*Redshirt freshman Matt Caddell (6-0, 181, McCalla) and true freshmen DJ Hall (6-3, 183, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), Keith Brown (6-3, 185, Gulfport, Miss.) and Ezekial Knight (6-3, 210, Wedowee) will also figure into the mix.

*The offensive line is thin and must replace All-SEC left guard Justin Smiley, who left early for the NFL. 

*The offensive line does return four starters from last year, including preseason All-America candidate Wesley Britt (6-8, 305, Cullman) at left tackle, senior Evan Mathis (6-54, 296, Homewood) has moved from right tackle to left guard, junior JB Closner (6-4, 290, San Antonio, Texas) at center and senior Danny Martz (6-4, 288, Gaithersburg) at right guard.  Martz started three games at the end of the 2003 season. 

*Sophomore Kyle Tatum (6-7, 298, Prattville) moved from the defensive line to the offensive front this spring and should be the Tide’s starter at right tackle.

*The backups consist of three redshirt freshmen and two upperclassmen with little experience. 

*The redshirt freshman vying for time on the offensive line are Chris Capps (6-5, 293, Jonesboro, Ga.), Justin Moon (6-5, 296, Guntersville) and Travis West (6-3, 280, Laurel, Miss.).

*Juniors Mark Sanders (6-7, 328, Ashville) and Von Ewing (6-5, 294, Troy) have seen little playing time in their first two years at Alabama.

*The battle for tight end is between senior David Cavan (6-5, 256, Tuscaloosa) and junior Clint Johnston (6-4, 251, Wetumpka), both who have battled numerous injuries throughout their careers. 

*The strength of the Alabama defense lies in the middle as the Crimson Tide will once again field another strong linebacker corps.

*Junior DeMeco Ryans (6-2, 232, Bessemer), a preseason Butkus Award candidate, will take over SAM linebacker duties after playing weakside last season.

*Ryans was the Crimson Tide’s leading tackler last season with 126 stops, narrowly missing the single-season record (134) set by Woodrow Lowe in 1973.

*Ryans’ move was made due to sophomore Juwan Garth’s (6-2, 220, Decatur) progression at the WILL linebacker spot.  Garth, a 2003 Freshman All-SEC selection, has bulked up to 220 pounds, but has lost none of his quickness.

*The battle of the middle linebacker spot will be a fierce one between junior Freddie Roach (6-2, 239, Killen) and senior Cornelius Wortham (6-1, 233, Calhoun City, Miss.). 

*Roach missed the first week of preseason camp after a minor knee surgery, while Wortham missed all of 2003 with a dislocated elbow.

*The Alabama secondary returns four starters, although some will be playing new positions.

*Junior Roman Harper (6-1, 197, Prattville) was second on the team last year with 111 tackles at the strong safety position.  He moved to free safety this fall to replace the departed Charles Jones.

*Junior Charlie Peprah (5-11, 193, Plano, Texas), who started last year at cornerback, made the move to strong safety.  Peprah, who has started 21 consecutive games for the Tide, is one touchdown shy of the all-time school record for interception returns.

*The cornerback slots will be filled by junior Ramzee Robinson 5-10, 192, Huntsville) and senior Anthony Madison (5-9, 180, Thomasville).

*The backups lack experience, but not talent as true freshman Simeon Castille (6-1, 187, Birmingham) has had an impressive fall camp.  Redshirt freshman Eric Gray (5-11, 186, Trinity) and true freshmen Marcus Carter (6-1, 190, Ft. Payne) and Travis Robinson (5-10, 180, Tuscaloosa) are also in the mix in the Tide’s secondary.

*Alabama hopes to reap the rewards of last year’s young and inexperienced defensive front. 

*Junior Mark Anderson (6-5, 253, Tulsa, Okla.) has had a solid preseason camp and leads the way at the right end position.

*Senior Todd Bates (6-4, 253, Heflin), who  missed the 2003 season, returns and holds down the No. 1 spot at right end. 

*Sophomore Chris Harris (6-5, 251, Tuscaloosa), redshirt freshman Wallace Gilberry (6-2, 251, Bay Minette) and juco transfer Chris Turner (6-3, 288, Jacksonville, Fla.) will also look for playing time.

*Defensive tackles senior Anthony Bryant (6-3, 336, Newbern) and sophomores

Dominic Lee (6-2, 283, Birmingham) and Jeremy Clark (6-3, 296, Daphne) return from last season.  The experience they received last year should help them on the defensive front this season.

*Junior Rudy Griffin (6-0, 286, Hepzibah, Ga.) has looked good this fall and has even spent time with the first-team defensive line. 

*Another newcomer, true freshman Justin Britt (6-4, 285, Cullman), will also battle for playing time.

*The kicking game returns both specialists in senior punter Bo Freelend (6-4, 260, Eutaw) and senior kicker Brian Bostick (5-11, 213, Cullman). 

*Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen (6-0, 170, Norcorss, Ga.) is expected to handle the kickoffs this season.

*Senior Alex Fox (5-9, 179, Pensacola, Fla.) returns as the holder, while junior Drew Lane (6-1, 230, Braxton, Miss.) is expected to replace Nick Ridings as the snapper.

2004 ROSTER BREAKDOWN

*Here is a breakdown by class of the Crimson Tide’s 105-man reporting roster for the 2004 football season.

UA Roster By Class

Class                  Number of Players
5th Year Senior        12
Senior                 5
Junior                 22
Sophomore              20
Redshirt Freshmen      16
Freshmen               30

ALABAMA DEBUTS

*It is not likely, but there is a possibility that 40 Crimson Tide football players could make their debuts this seaason.

*In addition, 21 of the 48 players listed (special teams included) on the Crimson Tide’s opening game depth chart have never played a game af Alabama.

*Coach Shula mentioned throughout the preseason that as many as 10 “true” freshmen could see playing time in 2004.

*That is a contrast to last season, when only five ‘“true freshmen” played for the Crimson Tide.

*Some of the more likely names include defensive tackle Justin Britt, receiver Keith Brown, defensive back Marcus Carter, corner back Simeon Castille, receiver DJ Hall, receiver Ezekial Knight and receiver Marcel Stamps.

*Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen will handle the Crimson Tide’s kickoff chores this season.

*Another redshirt freshman, Matt Caddell, is listed as the first-team split end on the depth chart.

*The second-team offensive line is full of first-year players, including redshirt freshmen Chris Capps, Justin Moon and Travis West and junior Mark Sanders, who has yet to see action in his UA career.

START ME UP

There will be at least four first-time starters, including three on offense, when Alabama takes the field this Saturday against Utah State.

*The new list of starters on offense includes sophomore right tackle Kyle Tatum (6-7, 298, Pratville), senior tailback Ray Hudson (5-11, 203, Bonifay, Fla.) and sophomore receiver Tyrone Prothro (5-8, 176, Heflin).

*Senior Evan Mathis (6-5, 296, Homewood) has the longest streak of consecutive starts (34) on the Alabama team, but will be starting for the first time at the left guard position.  Mathis has started 34 consecutive games on the offensive front at the right tackle slot.

*The only defensive player with a chance to make his first career start is junior left defensive tackle Rudy Griffin (6-0, 286, Hepzibah, Ga.).  Griffin has been running ahead of senior Anthony Byant (6-3, 338, Newbern) in preseason drills and could be in line to make his first start with the Crimson Tide against Utah State.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS (Current)

Players               Streak
Evan Mathis           34
Roman Harper          14
Charlie Peprah        14
DeMeco Ryans          14
Anthony Bryant        13
Anthony Madison       13
Mark Anderson         5
Jeremy Clark          5
Brodie Croyle         5
JB Closner            4
Tim Castille          1
Juwan Garth           1
Clint Johnston        1
Ramzee Robinson       1

 
CONSECUTIVE GAMES PLAYED (Current)

Players               Streak
Anthony Bryant        37
Evan Mathis           37
Chris James           28
Mark Anderson         26
Carlos Andrews        26
Anthony Madison       26
Charlie Peprah        26
DeMeco Ryans          26
Roman Harper          21
Brian Bostick         18
JB Closner            13
Bo Freelend           13
Terrence Jones        13
Freddie Roach         13
Ramzee Rominson       13
Tim Castille          10

FRESHMEN MAKE HISTORIC DEBUT

*A total of eight true freshmen have started the season opener since freshman eligibility was reinstated in 1973.

*The most recent additon to join that list was fullback Tim Castille, who started his first game for the Crimson Tide last season against South Florida at Legion Field.

*Prior to the 2003 season, the last true freshmen to start the season opener for Alabama was Dante Ellington and Saleem Rasheed at Vanderbilt on Sept. 4, 1999.

*There are a couple of true freshmen who could be in line to start this Saturday against Utah State.

*On offense, wide receiver DJ Hall (6-3, 183, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) has the best chance to start in the opener.

*Should Hall earn the starting nod on opening day, he would be the first freshman receiver in Alabama history to start the season opener.

*On defense, freshman left cornerback Simeon Castille (6-1, 187, Birmingham) could be the opening day starter if the Tide coaches opt to open the game in the “nickel” package against the Aggies pass-happy offense. 

*If Castille earns the starting nod it would make for a nice story since his older brother Tim started last year’s season opener at fullback.

TRUE FRESHMEN TO START SEASON OPENER

Player, Pos.                 Year
Jim Bunch, OT                1976
Larry Rose, OT               1985
Matt Hammond, LT             1990
Jon Stevenson, RT            1991
Terry Jones, Jr., TE         1998
Dante Ellington, RT          1999
Saleem Rasheed, LB           1999
Tim Castille, FB             2003

 
TRUE FRESHMEN TO START AT UA

Player, Pos.                 Year
Ozzie Newsome, SE            1974
Jim Bunch, OT                1976
Bill Condon, G               1984
Larry Rose, OT               1985
Matt Hammond, LT             1990
Jon Stevenson, RT            1991
Terry Jones, Jr., TE         1998
Dante Ellington, RT          1999
Saleem Rasheed, LB           1999
Kenny King, DE               1999
Tim Castille, F-Back         2003
Le’Ron McClain, F-Back       2003

2003 RECAP

*Here is a brief recap of the 2003 Crimson Tide football season.

*Alabama posted a 4-9 record last season, just the 13th losing season in 109 years of football at the Capstone. 

*Despite its 4-9 record, Alabama was only outscored by two points (333-331) last season. 

*Alabama played the second-most difficult schedule in the nation last year, according to Jeff Sagarin’s Index Ratings.

*The Crimson Tide played six teams that won 10 games and three teams that won 11 games last season.

*In addition, Alabama played both teams (LSU and Oklahoma) in the BCS National Championship game.

*Alabama was 0-5 (.000) against ranked teams last season.

*Alabama’s opponents were a combined 114-54 (.679) last season. 

*In 13 games last year, Bama allowed a school-record 333 points, breaking the previous record of 287 points allowed during the 1987 season (11 games).

*Also, Alabama allowed 25.6 points per game  last year, tying the 1955 mark for most points per game allowed in one season.  The 1955 squad allowed 256 points in 10 games and did not win a game.

*Alabama’s nine losses were the second-most in school history.  Only the 1955 team (0-10) had more losses that last year’s team.

*DeMeco Ryans (126), Roman Harper (114) and Derrick Pope (105) became the first Alabama trio to record 100 or more tackles in the same season.

*Charlie Peprah scored the first touchdown in the Mike Shula era with a 51-yard interception return in the season opener against South Florida. 

*Peprah’s TD marked the first time since 1979 that the Alabama defense had scored the first TD of the season.  In 1979, EJ Junior scored on a 59-yard interception return against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

*Alabama played five true freshmen last season, including Tim Castille, Terrence Jones, Dominic Lee, Le’Ron McClain and Tyrone Prothro.

CHRIS JAMES’ BLOCK PARTY

Alabama special teams stalwart Chris James (Albany, Ga.) hosted his own block party last season for the Crimson Tide.

*James set the single-season Alabama record with four blocked kicks last year, including three punts and one field goal attempt.

*He is the only player in Alabama history to block three punts in the same season.

*James 44-yard blocked punt return at Ole Miss makes him the 10th player in Alabama history to score off a blocked kick. 

JAMES BLOCKED KICKS (2003)

Date     Opponent            Blk Kick
 9- 6    Oklahoma            Punt
10-11    Southern Miss       Punt
10-18    at Ole Miss         Punt
11-29    at Hawai’i          FG

MOST BLOCKED KICKS (Season)

Blks   Player (Kicks)                  Year
 4     Chris James (3 punts)           2003
 3     Tommy Johnson (PAT, 2 punts)    1994
 3     Antonio London (3 FGs)          1991
 3     Leroy Cook (3 FGs)              1974
 3     Mike Washington (3 FGs)         1973

NCAA CURRENT BLOCKED KICK LEADERS

Rank   Player, School                    Blks
1.     James King, Central Michigan      10
2.     B.J. Ward, Florida State          7
3.     Rob Schroeder, Buffalo            6
4.     CHRIS JAMES, ALABAMA              4
       Sean Jones, Georgia               4
       Steve Gregory, Syracuse           4
       Derrick Strong, Illinois          4
7.     Jonas Seawright, N Carolina       3
       Cody Boyd, Washington State       3
       Shaun Cody, USC                   3
 
*The all-time NCAA record is 19 blocked kicks by New Mexico State’s James Ferebee (5 punts, 6 PATs, 8 FGs).

RETURNS, RETURNS, RETURNS!

Alabama scored on five different returns last season, accounting for seven total touchdown returns.

*The 2003 season is believed to be the first time in school history that Alabama has had an interception return, fumble return, punt return and kickoff return for touchdowns in the same season.

*In 1990 and 1999, Alabama scored on a punt return, kickoff return and interception return, but did not have the fumble return for a touchdown.

ALABAMA’S TD RETURNS (2003)

Player               Return (Opponent)
Charlie Peprah       59-yard interception return (USF)
Shaud Williams       73-yard punt return (USF)
Charles Jones        33-yard punt return (Georgia)
Juwan Garth          10-yard fumble return (Georgia)
Chris James          44-yard punt return (Ole Miss)
Brandon Brooks       96-yard kickoff return (Auburn)
Roman Harper         73-yard blocked FG return (Hawai’i)

ALABAMA SEASON OPENERS

The Crimson Tide has posted an 84-21-3 (.792) record in season openers, including a modest two-game winning streak.

*Alabama has won 11 of its last 13 season openers, dating back to 1991. 

*Since 1977, Alabama has posted a 23-4 (.852) record on opening day.

*Alabama is playing its fifth consecutive season opener against a non SEC team.  The last time UA opened the season with five straight non-conference games was 1986-91.

*Alabama has posted 49 opening day shutouts in its football history, including 16 consecutive opening day shutouts from 1904-20.

*From 1904-34, Alabama posted 29 opening day shutouts in a 30-year period.  The lone exception was a 34-14 win over Howard (now Samford) in 1921.

*On the flip side, Alabama has been shutout on opening day just five times, with the last coming in 1957.

*Alabama’s longest opening day winning streak came from 1904-34, where the Crimson Tide posted 30 consecutive wins in season openers.

*From 1904-47, Alabama was an incredible 40-0-2 in season openers, which included a pair of ties with Howard (7-7, 1925) and LSU (27-27, 1944).

*Alabama’s 42-game unbeaten streak in season openers ended with a 21-14 loss at Tulane on Sept. 25, 1948.

*The Crimson Tide had a seven-game losing streak in season openers from 1953-59, the longest in school history.

*Since 1977, Alabama has posted a 23-4 (.852) record in season openers, but has split the last four.

*The Crimson Tide suffered back-to-back opening day losses in 1975 (Missouri, 20-7) and 1976 (Ole Miss, 10-7), and 2000 (UCLA, 35-24) and 2001 (UCLA, 20-17).

*Prior to the loss to UCLA in 2000, Alabama had reeled off nine straight opening day wins, the longest winning streak in the modern era of UA football.

UTAH STATE SERIES

*This is the first-ever meeting between Alabama and Utah State. 

ALABAMA VS. SUN BELT CONFERENCE

*Alabama has compiled a 12-0 (1.000) record against the current members of the Sun Belt Conference.

*Alabama has compiled an 8-0 (1.000) record against UL Lafayette (formerly known as Southwestern Louisiana); 2-0 record against North Texas and a 1-0 mark against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee.

*The Crimson Tide has never played Idaho, Louisiana Monroe, New Mexico State or Troy State.

UTAH STATE VS. SEC

*Utah State is 1-7 (.125) all-time against the SEC, with the lone win coming against Kentucky (35-6) on Oct. 10, 1970.

*The Aggies are 1-2 against Kentucky, 0-2 against Arkansas and LSU and 0-1 against Georgia.

*Utah State has never faced Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, Miss. State, South Carolina, Tennessee or Vanderbilt.

UTAH STATE SCOUTING REPORT

*Utah State’s offense ranked fourth in the Sun Belt Conference and 80th nationally last year with 350.33 yards per game.

*The Aggies were third in the Sun Belt Conference and 103rd nationally last season with 108.33 rushing yards per game.

*The Aggies were among the top teams in the nation last year through the air.  Utah State ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference and 41st nationally with 242 passing yards per game.

*The Aggies averaged 22 points per game, to rank  fourth in the Sun Belt Conference and 85th nationally.

*On defense, Utah State showed the biggest improvement during the 2003 season. 

*The Aggies ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference and 45th nationally as they allowed 360.08 total yards per game.  During the 2002 season, the Aggies ranked 111th in the nation in total defense.

*Utah State ranked fourth in the Sun Belt and 73rd overall with 167.33 rushing yards allowed per game last season.

*The Aggies had the best pass defense in the Sun Belt Conference last year, allowing just 192.75 yards per game.  Utah State also ranked 25th nationally in that category.

*Utah State ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference and 65th nationally last year allowing 26.25 points per game.

*Quarterback Travis Cox led the Sun Belt in total offense averaging 237.0 yards per game.

*Cox’s 2,791 passing yards ranked eighth in school history, while his 235 completions were fifth and his 56.6 percent completion rate was fifth as well.

*Running back Tyrone McKinney enters the season as the only USU running back with a collegiate carry.

*Safety Terrance Washington was a second-team freshman All-America and second-team All-Sun Belt performer last season. Washington ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference last year in interceptions.

*Cornerback Jerome Dennis, who sat out the last nine games of the 2003 season due to a blood clot in his shoulder, ranked seventh in the nation in kickoff returns during the 2002 season with a 27.7 return average.

UTAH STATE NOTEBOOK

*Here are some notebook items for the Alabama-Utah State game.

*Utah State is the second team from the state of Utah to play against Alabama.  The Crimson Tide posted a 38-31 win over BYU on Sept. 5, 1998 here in Tuscaloosa.

*Utah State is the Crimson Tide’s 117th all-time different opponent.  Alabama has compiled an 88-28 (.759) record against first-time opponents.

*Utah State is just the 19th team to play Alabama for the first time in Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Alabama is 14-4 (.778) against those previous 18 teams.  The four losses came against Villanova (1951), TCU (1955), Central Florida (2000) and Northern Illinois (2003).

*The 2004 season marks the fifth consecutive season that Alabama has played at least one first-time opponent.  Alabama will actually play two first-time opponents this season as the Tide hosts Western Carolina on Sept. 18.

*14-time NFL Pro-Bowler Merlin Olsen (L.A. Rams, 1962-76) is a Utah State alum.

*Freshman linebacker Josh Anderson lists one of his hobbies as “working with bees”.

*Utah State sophomore tight end Jason Stephens’ wife plays tennis on the USU tennis team.

*Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters is an Alabama alum and the former general manager of the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

STOP THE STREAK

*Alabama enters the 2004 season having lost its last five games to teams playing for the first time at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

5-Game Losing Streak

Date       Result of Game
10-28-00   Central Florida 40, Alabama 38
11-18-00   Auburn 9, Alabama 0
9- 1-01    UCLA 20, Alabama 17
9- 6-03    Oklahoma 20, Alabama 13
9-20-03    Northern Illinois 19, Alabama 16

BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM

Alabama’s on campus home since 1929, Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of college football’s most scenic venues.

*The 2004 season marks the 75th anniversary of Bryant-Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes, two of the campus’ more famous landmarks.

*The Crimson Tide has compiled an all-time record of 189-38-3 (.828) in 230 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*The stadium was originally named for former University of Alabama President Dr. George H. Denny.  Denny, who was named UA President on Jan. 1, 1912, began an extraordinary career that spanned almost a quarter of a century. 

*Bryant-Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes (located on the UA quadrangle) stand as reminders to Denny’s legacy to the Capstone.

*In 1976, the State of Alabama Legislature and the UA Board of Trustees added coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s name to the stadium, thus calling Alabama’s football home Bryant-Denny Stadium.

ALL-TIME TUSCALOOSA RECORD

In addition to its impressive record at Bryant-Denny Stadium (1929-present), Alabama has made Tuscaloosa a very difficult place to play for opposing football teams. 

*Alabama has compiled a 274-51-3 (.839) record in 328 all-time games in Tuscaloosa. 

*Alabama was 2-5 (.286) here in Tuscaloosa last season and is 6-7 (.462) here in the last two years.

*Alabama’s first game on campus was a 4-0 loss to Birmingham Athletic Club on Oct. 14, 1893.

*From 1911-28, Alabama posted a 55-2 (.965) record in Tuscaloosa.  The 1929 season marked the opening of what is now known as Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant posted a remarkable 72-2 (.973) record in Tuscaloosa, losing only to Florida (1963) and Southern Miss (1982).  The USM game was the last game he ever coached at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*From 1963-82, Alabama posted an NCAA record 57-game home winning streak. 

*Miami has since broken that record with a 58-game home winning streak, but the Hurricanes record also includes three wins in the post-season Orange Bowl game.  All of UA’s 57 wins were in the regular-season.

*The 57-game winning streak is one of seven winning streaks longer than 15 games for the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

*Alabama posted a 19-game unbeaten streak in Tuscaloosa from 1928-35.

NIGHT GAMES

Alabama has compiled a 118-38-7 (.745) all-time record in its previous 163 night games.

*The Crimson Tide’s first-ever night game was a 26-0 win over Spring Hill College at Murphy High School in Mobile on Sept. 27, 1940.

*The first-ever Tuscaloosa night game was a 48-6 win over Duquesne on Oct. 8, 1948.

THREE STRAIGHT UNDER THE LIGHTS

*Alabama will play its first three games of the 2004 season under the lights marking the first time since the 1972 season that the Crimson Tide opened the year with three consecutive night games.

*Alabama began the 1972 season with consecutive night games against Duke, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.  The Duke and Kentucky games were played at Legion Field.

*The 2004 season marks the 10th time in school history the Crimson Tide has opened the year with three straight night games.  In fact, Alabama played four straight night games to open the 1951 season under coach Harold “Red” Drew.

CONSECUTIVE NIGHT GMS TO OPEN SEASON

Year    Opponents
2004    Utah State, Ole Miss and Western Carolina
1972    Duke, Kentucky and Vanderbilt
1964    Georgia, Tulane and Vanderbilt
1962    Georgia, Tulane and Vanderbilt
1958    LSU, Vanderbilt and Furman
1957    LSU, Vanderbilt and TCU
1954    Southern Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt
1953    Southern Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt
1952    Southern Miss, LSU and Miami, Fla.
1951    Delta State, LSU, Vanderbilt and Villanova

BRYANT-DENNY LIGHTS

The Utah State game will mark just the 23rd night game in the history of Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the sixth in the last 11 games played on campus.

*Alabama played a school record four night games here in Tuscaloosa last season, including games with Oklahoma, Kentucky, Northern Illinois and LSU.

*Overall, Alabama has compiled a 17-5 (.773) record in Bryant-Denny Stadium night games. 

Bryant-Denny Stadium Night Games

Date                Result of Game
Oct.  4, 1948       Alabama 48, Duquesne 6
Oct.  5, 1949       Alabama 48, Duquesne 8
Oct. 13, 1950       Alabama 34, Furman 6
Oct. 12, 1951       Villanova 41, Alabama 18
Oct. 11, 1958       Alabama 29, Furman 6
Sept. 19, 1964      Alabama 31, Georgia 3
Sept. 27, 1969      Alabama 63, S. Miss 14
Sept. 30, 1972      Alabama 48, Vanderbilt 21
Sept. 27, 1973      Alabama 77, Va. Tech 6
Sept. 20, 1975      Alabama 56, Clemson 0
Sept. 21, 1991      Alabama 10, Georgia 0
Oct.  1, 1994       Alabama 29, Georgia 28
Sept. 14, 1996      Alabama 36, Vanderbilt 26
Sept.  5, 1998      Alabama 38, BYU 31
Oct. 14, 2000       Alabama 45, Ole Miss 7
Sept.  1, 2001      UCLA 20, Alabama 17
Sept. 14, 2002      Alabama 33, N. Texas 7
Sept. 21, 2002      Alabama 20, S. Miss 7
Sept.  6, 2003      Oklahoma 20, Alabama 13
Sept. 13, 2003      Alabama 27, Kentucky 17
Sept. 20, 2003      N. Illinois 19, Alabama 16
Nov. 15, 2003       LSU 27, Alabama 3

SEPTEMBER RECORD

*Alabama has compiled a 149-37-5 (.793) in 191 all-time games in the month of September. 

*The Crimson Tide seeks its 150th all-time September win this Saturday against the Utah State Aggies.

*Dating back to 1997, Alabama is just 14-12 (.538) in its last 26 September games.

*In its first-ever game in the month of September, Alabama posted a 24-0 win over Howard on Sept. 30, 1911.

*Alabama was 1-3 (.250) last season in the month of September.

*Alabama posted a 30-0-2 (.968) record in its first 32 September games before finally losing at Tulane (21-20) on Sept. 27, 1945.

*The school’s longest winning streak in the month of September is 19 games from Sept. 30, 1911 through Sept. 29, 1934. 

*The Crimson Tide also posted an 18-game winning streak (Sept. 19, 1970-Sept. 28, 1974) and a 16-game winning streak (Sept. 21, 1991 through Sept. 9, 1995) in the month.

ON THIS DATE

*Alabama has compiled a 2-0 (1.000) all-time record in games played on Sept. 4th and both of those games have come in the last 11 years.

Games Played on Sept. 4th

Date    Result of Game (Site)
1993    Alabama 31, Tulane 17 (Birmingham)
1999    Alabama 28, Vanderbilt 17 (Nashville)

 


 

 

     
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