Looking Back At BYU Football’s Last Morning Home Game
Nov 15, 2023, 11:34 AM | Updated: 11:44 am
PROVO, Utah – BYU football will have an early morning 6 a.m. wake-up call this Saturday when they host the Oklahoma Sooners. That’s because kickoff for the one-time Big 12 matchup between the Cougars and Sooners is at 10 a.m. (MT).
Well, to be exact, it will be 10:07 a.m. as ESPN College Gameday will need some time to let Lee Corso do his thing while putting on headgear for Appalachian State vs. James Madison. So there will be a little bit of a TV slide.
Still, it’s an early game for a BYU program that typically plays late at night.
When was the last time BYU football played a morning home game?
You have to go back 19 years to find the last 10 a.m. kickoff at a BYU football home game. It was Senior Day for the 2004 BYU squad that was scratching and clawing to find a way to get back to the postseason.
Kalani Sitake said that the team is going to have a 6 a.m. (MT) wakeup call for Saturday's game against Oklahoma.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 13, 2023
BYU hosted Rocky Long and New Mexico on November 13, 2004, in what ended up being the final home game for former head coach Gary Crowton.
The game was televised on SportsWest on KSL 5 TV and the LDS Church satellite system. For out-of-state BYU fans, that’s probably a core memory unlocked.
People forget that despite the struggles of that 2004 BYU team if they took down New Mexico with a stingy 3-3-5 defense, the Cougars would have gone into Utah the following week with a chance to play for a share of the Mountain West title. But the status of head coach Gary Crowton was too much on that team and it impacted their play.
2004 vs. New Mexico: Gary Crowton’s last home game
BYU lost 21-14 to New Mexico in a game that saw prolific kicker Matt Payne miss three field goal attempts. The loss dropped BYU to 5-5, staring down the daunting task of trying to reach bowl eligibility by knocking off undefeated Utah, coached by Urban Meyer the following week.
That didn’t happen and Gary Crowton resigned after that game. But everyone knows it was a firing.
It was a tough outing for BYU against New Mexico on a day when they honored former head coach LaVell Edwards at halftime for being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
You look back at that 2004 squad and the talent was impressive. They had no chemistry or leadership as it was young personnel going through growing pains. At quarterback, BYU had John Beck. The wide receivers were Austin Collie and Todd Watkins. Then, at running back, Curtis Brown became the school’s all-time leading rusher when his time in BYU Blue concluded.
The key personnel that led BYU to its culture-changing season in 2006 were key factors on the 2004 team.
Pigskin Classic in 1996 was a 10 a.m. kickoff
The 10 a.m. slot hasn’t been all doom and gloom for BYU. In 1996, the Cougars hosted Texas A&M in the Pigskin Classic in a morning clash. Led by QB Steve Sarkisian’s 536 passing yards, BYU took down No. 13 Texas A&M 41-37 and delivered the “K.O. Punch” to A&M’s “Wrecking Crew” defense.
The BYU-Utah rivalry took a morning stage in 1996 as well, with a 10 a.m. kickoff at Rice Stadium with Ronney Jenkins and Brian McKenzie running wild.
BYU opened the 1995 regular season on the road against Air Force at 10 a.m. (MT) in Colorado Springs on a national television spotlight game. But besides those three, 10 a.m. games are not common for BYU football.
Saturday’s game against No. 14 Oklahoma joins the ranks of rare 10 a.m. games in the Mountain Time Zone.
BYU vs. No. 14 Oklahoma
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2023
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium
Kickoff: 10 a.m.
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.
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