PROVO — Call it a tribute-o-rama, given all the honors and homages paid before, during and after Saturday's BYU-Utah game.
For starters, the BYU football team came out and played in a different type of home-uniform attire, with the traditional dark-blue hues replaced by the royal blues of decades in past.
The change in football fashion for the Cougars was to honor BYU's 1984 national championship squad, which wore the royal-blue threads 25 seasons ago.
Saturday's royal-blue throwbacks will later be available for purchase by auction on BYUCougars.com to help fund athletics scholarships.
"The jerseys are sweet," said BYU quarterback Max Hall. "We obviously wanted to win in them to honor the 1984 team."
A TROPHY 25 YEARS LATER: At halftime, Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards and his 1984 squad were honored with the presentation of the AFCA Coaches Trophy, given annually to either the UPI or USA Coaches Poll winner since 1986 and to the BCS champion since 1998.
You know the trophy — the football-shaped Waterford crystal on top of an ebony base, shuttled here to Provo last month as part of its weekly ESPN GameDay appearance across the nation.
Since the trophy wasn't in existence when BYU won its national title, the American Football Coaches Association is barnstorming the country, making belated presentations at colleges and universities that had won previous to 1986. By the end of 2009, the trophy will have made all of its necessary stops to past winners.
Presenting the trophy to Edwards and members of the '84 team were BYU's top administrators in 1984 — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve and BYU president a quarter-century ago; and Glen Tuckett, the Cougars' athletics director in 1984.
"It's tremendous," said Edwards of the trophy presentation, taking a little jab at the BCS. "The way the present environment is, we may not get (another) shot at it. ... Luckily, we had a shot at it 25 years ago, and we made it pay off, so we're very happy about that."
Jim Herrmann, a defensive lineman on the '84 squad who carried BYU's alumni flag out with the team before the game, said winning the title gets more special every year. "Now, you see what a struggle it is to be deemed crown-worthy," he said. "To be national champs, it all seemed fitting at the time. But in retrospect, I didn't realize what an accomplishment it is. It's just hard to get there."
BLANKET COVERAGE: BYU's seniors were saluted in post-game ceremonies, given senior "Y" blankets by BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson and athletics director Tom Holmoe.
The 19 seniors include: linebacker Matt Bauman, linebacker Jeff Bell, running back Kelly Bills, linebacker Coleby Clawson, defensive lineman Brett Denney, linebacker Shawn Doman, quarterback Breden Gaskins, tight end Andrew George, quarterback Max Hall, defensive lineman Tevita Hola, linebacker Terrance Hooks, defensive back Scott Johnson, defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen, wide receiver Parker Mangum, deep snapper John Pace, tight end Dennis Pitta, running back Manase Tonga, linebacker Dan Van Sweden, and offensive lineman RJ Willing.
SHORT TAKES: Saturday's 26-23 overtime victory was the Cougars' 200th win at LaVell Edwards Stadium since the facility was built in 1964. ... BYU has reached at least a 10-2 record now for four straight seasons. ... With his two receptions Saturday, Cougar tight end Dennis Pitta passed Austin Collie as BYU's all-time leader in career receptions. Pitta has 216; Collie finished with 215. ... Saturday's victory was BYU's first-ever overtime win at home. ... Utah won the only other Cougar-Ute overtime affair, 41-34 in 2005, also in Provo. ... Prior to overtime, there had been four BYU-Utah ties — 28-28 in 1950, 6-6 in 1941, 7-all in 1938 and a scoreless 0-0 tie in 1928 ... Saturday was proclaimed Jan Jorgensen Day in Carbon County's Helper City by Mayor Michael Dalpiaz. Jorgensen grew up in Helper and was a multi-sport star at nearby Carbon High in Price.
CONTRIBUTING: John Coon
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