Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Ute Football Team's 2000 Season Comes To A Close

DB Andre Dyson made every all-conference team.

DB Andre Dyson made every all-conference team.

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Nov. 28, 2000


Utah finished the 2000 season with a 4-7 overall record (3-4 MWC) ... It's been a long time since the Utes last suffered through a losing season. Not since 1990, head coach Ron McBride's first year, has Utah finished below .500. That team also finished 4-7 ... The 2000 Utes were the preseason pick to defend the Mountain West Conference title they shared in 1999 ... Despite the disappointing season, McBride picked up career win No. 75 on November 11 against Wyoming.


Utah made an amazing fourth quarter comeback in its game against Brigham Young on November 24 in Salt Lake City, only to lose in equally stunning fashion, 34-27. The Utes led just once prior to the fourth quarter, scoring in the first minute of play when cornerback Andre Dyson returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cougars scored the next 26 points and led 26-10 entering the final stanza. Sparked by senior quarterback Darnell Arceneaux, who replaced freshman Lance Rice at the helm, Utah roared back with 17 fourth quarter points. Included among those were Ryan Kaneshiro's second field goal of the day and the extra point that put Utah up 27-26 with just 2:16 remaining. But Utah's defense, solid all year long, couldn't hold BYU on fourth and 13 and the Cougars went on to score the winning touchdown and tack on a two-point conversion.


Kautai Olevao was voted a first-team all-conference linebacker by the league's coaches for a third straight year and he was joined by two teammates on the first team: senior defensive back Andre Dyson and junior offensive lineman Doug Kaufusi. Freshman defensive lineman Jason Kaufusi was honored as co-Freshman of the Year. Named to the all-MWC second team was senior Steve Smith, both as a wide receiver and a punt-kick returner, along with junior running back Adam Tate. Receiving honorable mention citations were: Andy Bowers, Sr., DL, Brandon Dart, Sr., DB, Patrick Dyson, Sr. DB, Jordan Gross, So., OL, Jason Kaufusi, Fr., DL, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Sr., DL, Steve McKane, Sr., OL, Matt Nickel, Sr., TE, Jason Potter, Sr., DB, Michael Richardson, Jr., OL/TE, Cliff Russell, Jr., WR, Garrett Smith, So., DL, Ed Ta'amu, Sr., OL, and Wes Tufaga, Sr., LB.


The all-Mountain West Conference media team, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, awarded the following Utes conference honors. MWC Defensive Newcomer of the Year: freshman defensive lineman Jason Kaufusi. Citizenship Award: senior defensive back Kimball Christianson. First-Team All-Conference: RB, Adam Tate, Jr., WR, Steve Smith, Sr., DL, Garrett Smith, So., DB, Andre Dyson, Sr, KR, Patrick Dyson, Sr. Second-Team: OL, Doug Kaufusi, Jr., DL, Jason Kaufusi, Fr., DL, Andy Bowers, Sr., LB, Kautai Olevao, Sr. Honorable Mention: WR, Cliff Russell, Jr., TE, Matt Nickel, Sr., OL, Jordan Gross, So., OL, Michael Richardson, Jr., DB, Kimball Christianson, Sr., DB, Brandon Dart, Sr., KR-PR, Steve Smith, Sr.


The football all-conference teams by national publications that have been announced to date contain the following (first-team) Utes: wide receiver Steve Smith (Football News and College Football News), offensive lineman Doug Kaufusi (Football News and College Football News), defensive back Andre Dyson (Football News and College Football News) and defensive lineman Jason Kaufusi (Football News).


Head Coach Ron McBride is 75-53 in his 11 years at the helm of the Ute program. He is one of just two coaches to win at least 60 football games at Utah. Utah had seven straight winning seasons under McBride from 1993-99. He has had just two losing seasons (1990, his first, and 2000). McBride's teams have averaged nearly seven wins a year (6.8) and have gone to five bowl games. He won two bowl games: against Arizona in the 1994 Freedom Bowl, and Fresno State in the 1999 Las Vegas Bowl. He has won a share of two conference championships (1995 Western Athletic Conference, 1999 Mountain West Conference).


Player          Category          MWC  NCAA
Patrick Dyson, DB/R  Kick Return Avg.  2    18
Steve Smith, WR/R    All-Purpose Yards 2    18
Steve Smith, WR      Receiving YPG     4    37
Adam Tate, RB        Rushing YPG       3    n/a
Andre Dyson, DB      Interceptions     1    49
Darnell Arceneaux    Pass Efficiency   4    35


Wide receiver Steve Smith (5-8, 182, Sr.) ...

> Named a first-team all-MWC receiver by the Football News, College Football News and Las Vegas Review Journal Media Football Team.

> Named a second-team all-MWC receiver and returner (punt and kick) by the MWC coaches.

> Fourth in MWC (37th in nation) in receiving yards per game (74.3).

> Averaged league-best 21.2 yards per reception.

> In the last 6 games, averaged 27.1 yards per reception.

> Led Utes in receiving yards (743) and yards per game (74.3 ypg).

> Second on team in receptions (35).

> Utah's leading receiver (yards) in 6 games.

> Career best 143 yards vs. San Diego State came on just 2 catches (71.5 avg.).

> 200 all-purpose yards vs. California.

> 199 all-purpose yards vs. San Diego State.

> 46-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Cal on September 9.

> 2 punt returns for touchdowns called back due to penalties (vs. California and WSU).

> Utah's career record-holder in punt returns for a touchdown (4, ties the record).

> Second all-time at Utah in career punt returns (72).

> Second all-time at Utah in career punt return yards (860).

> Fourth all-time at Utah in career punt return average (9.35).

> Led 2000 Utes in punt returns (43-365-1 TD) and kickoff returns (17-336, 19.8 avg.).

> Voted preseason Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.

> In 1999, made all-conference team as both receiver (second team) and return specialist (first team).


Cliff Russell (5-11, 180, Jr.), chosen by the league's coaches and media as an honorable mention all-conference receiver, returned for the season finale vs. BYU after missing three and most of four games with a broken right arm (non-displaced fracture of the ulna). He fractured the bone in the first quarter of the October 21 game vs. CSU and missed the rest of that game, as well as the three subsequent games. Russell, the fastest Ute in 20 years (runs a 4.25 40), still finished as Utah's leading receiver with 37 catches, despite logging a reception in only seven games. His 517 receiving yards ranked second on the team. Russell averaged 64.6 ypg and 14.0 yards per catch. His best games this year were against Arizona (10 receptions for 141 yards) and Washington State (8 receptions for 131 yards and 2 TDs). His career-best game was in 1999 vs. Wyoming (6 catches for 155 yards and 1 TD).


Utah utilized three quarterbacks in 2000 with mixed success. Senior T.D. Croshaw started the first two games before giving way to senior Darnell Arceneaux, who started the next six. Freshman Lance Rice wrested the job away from Arceneaux early in the second quarter of game eight and started the final three games. Croshaw was 0-2 as the starter, Arceneaux was 2-4 (13-6 in career starts) and Rice was 2-1. Utah's QBs combined to complete 48 percent of their passes (152-314) and threw 11 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. Arceneaux was the only QB to complete at least half of his pass attempts (55 percent) and Rice was the only one to throw more TD passes (4) than interceptions (3). The trio combined for a pass efficiency rating of 111.69.


First-year Ute running back Adam Tate (6-1, 230, Jr.) ...

> Named the Las Vegas Review Journal Media Football Team's first-team MWC running back.

> Named to the all-MWC second-team by the league's coaches.

> Averaged 73.3 yards per game rushing, third in the MWC.

> Led the Mountain West Conference in rushing through 10 games, averaging 80.6 ypg.

> Ankle injury in final game hurt average (5 carries for 15 yards vs. BYU).

> Four 100-yard rushing games.

> Three straight 100-yard games (Air Force, Utah State, San Diego State) is third most consecutive 100-yard rushing games in school history (tie).

> Led the Utes in rushes (160), net yards (660), yards per carry (4.1), touchdowns (7) and scoring (42).

> Also caught 5 passes for 54 yards.

> Did not play in the first two games.

> Started against Air Force, and in just over a half, rushed for 112 yards.

> Career-best 133 yards and 3 TDs vs. Utah State.

> Missed Utah's preseason camp while awaiting academic clearance.


Defensive back Andre Dyson (5-10, 175, Sr.) ...

> First-team all-conference defensive back by vote of the league's coaches and media.

> Football News and College Football News first-team all-MWC defensive back.

> School record for most career touchdowns off interceptions (4).

> School record (tie) for most single season touchdowns off interceptions (3).

> School record 43 career pass breakups.

> 12 career interceptions is tied for fifth in Ute history.

> 4 touchdowns in 2000 (3 interception returns and 1 fumble return).

> Led conference in interceptions (4).

> Led conference in passes defended with 17 passes (13 breakups, 4 interceptions)

> 65 total tackles.

> 4 tackles for loss (9 yards).

> Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week for Sept. 9 game vs. Cal when he returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown and had 11 tackles and 3 pass breakups.

> Made the Jim Thorpe Watch List.


Linebacker Kautai Olevao (6-2, 267, Sr.) ...

> First-team all-conference linebacker for a third straight year (voted on by the league's coaches).

> Voted a second-team linebacker by the league's media.

> 60 total tackles

> 9 tackles for loss (34 yards).

> 3 sacks (17 yards).

> 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 pass breakup vs. BYU.

> 7 tackles (1 for loss) against Washington State and Wyoming.

> 2 tackles for loss (19 yards) and 1 sack (12 yards) against Arizona.

> 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 forced fumble vs. UNLV.

> Preseason first-team all-conference selection.

> First-team all-conference in 1998, `99 and `00.

> Four-year starter.


Freshman defensive end Jason Kaufusi (6-3, 250) ...

> MWC co-Freshman of the Year and honorable mention all-conference.

> Named the MWC Defensive Newcomer of the Year and a second-team all-league defensive lineman by the league's media.

> True freshman started all 9 games he has played at open end (missed 2 games with ankle injury).

> Utah's tackle leader prior to injury.

> Finished with 63 total tackles (7.0 tpg).

> Team leader in tackles for loss with 16 (53 yards).

> 8 sacks (34 yards) was tied for second on team.

> 8 quarterback hurries was tied for second on team.

> 5 pass breakups.

> Career game against Cal (9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 hurries).

> 8 tackles, 2 for loss (8 yards), 1 pass breakup and 1 hurry vs. WSU.

> 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss (12 yards), 1 sack (10 yards) and 1 hurry vs. CSU.

> 7 tackles, 3 for loss (11 yards), 1 sack (8 yards) and 1 hurry vs. New Mexico.


> Junior running back Dameon Hunter was Utah's second leading rusher. He rushed 89 times for 339 yards and 1 touchdown. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry.

> Senior receiver Chris Christensen had a career day against BYU in the season closer. He caught 7 balls for 147 yards.

> Utah's best scoring quarters were the first (65 points) and fourth (66 points). Its worst was the third (45 points).

> Utah was successful just 31% of the time on third down, converting 51-163 tries.


Category    Avg.   MWC  NCAA
Rushing Offense  133.1  5    70
Passing Offense  203.9  4    67
Total Offense    337.0  5    80
Scoring Offense  21.3   5    84


> Utah was the nation's top ranked team against the pass for two weeks (weeks beginning Nov. 19 and Nov. 5).

> Utah finished the season as the nation's third best team against the pass, allowing 160.1 ypg through the air.

> Utah was the MWC's best defensive team, ranking first in total defense (288.3), pass defense (160.1 ypg) and scoring defense (18.8 ppg). Utah ranked third in rushing defense (128.2 ypg).

> Nationally, Utah finished its season ranked No. 3 in pass defense, No. 10 in total defense and No. 19 in scoring defense.

> Utah's defense accounted directly for 30 points. Andre Dyson had 4 touchdowns, 3 on interception returns and 1 on a fumble return. Brother Patrick Dyson returned an interception for a touchdown.

> Sophomore lineman Garrett Smith was named first-team all-conference by College Football News. Smith was in on a team-best 10 sacks (4 unassisted, 6 assisted). Assisted sacks count for a half in the league rankings, giving him 7.0 sacks officially, which tied for third in the MWC. Smith finished second on the team in tackles for loss with 15 and third in total tackles (72). He led Utah in quarterback hurries (10).

> Senior linebacker Wes Tufaga won Utah's tackle title with 87. In second was sophomore linebacker Sheldon Deckart with 73.


Category            Avg.  MWC NCAA
Rushing Defense          128.2 3   35
Passing Defense          160.1 1   3
Pass Efficiency Defense  107.9 2   30
Total Defense            288.3 1   10
Scoring Defense          18.8  1   18


> Junior Ryan Kaneshiro was 22 of 22 in extra points and 6 of 8 in field goals. His long kick was from 40 yards out against BYU. He was Utah's starting place kicker in the last 7 games of the season and played in 8 games total. He barely missed the 75% requirement to qualify for the league rankings.

> Junior Golden Whetman, Utah's place kicker for the first 4 games, was relegated to kickoffs and long field goals in the last 7. Whetman tied the second longest field goal in school history against Wyoming, a 55-yarder. He finished the year 2-11 in field goals with his other successful kick a 46-yarder against Arizona.

> Whetman had 22 touch backs on 49 kickoffs.

> As Utah's full-time punter, Whetman booted 63 punts for 2,432 yards (38.6 average) with a long of 67 vs. Wyoming. He laid 19 punts inside the 20.

> Steve Smith was Utah's best return man. He had 43 punt returns for 365 yards (8.5 ypr) and 1 touchdown. He finished with 17 kickoff returns for 336 yards (19.8 avg.).

> Patrick Dyson ranked second in the MWC in kickoff return average (24.3 ypr). He returned 14 kickoffs for 340 yards and 1 TD (98 yards).

> Thomas Fortune won the 2000 special teams tackle title. He finished with 11.


Utah Offense Times at or inside 20: 34 Touchdowns: 17 Field Goals: 6 Scoring percentage: 68% TD percentage: 50% Utah Defense Times opponent at or inside 20: 26 Touchdowns: 11 Field Goals: 9 Scoring percentage: 77% TD percentage: 42%


Senior football players Kimball Christianson and Nick Morgan were named to the Verizon All-District VIII Academic All-America team for the second straight year. Christianson, a four-year starting safety majoring in German, has a 3.81 cumulative GPA. He fared well on the MCAT examination and plans on attending medical school. On the field, Christianson finished with 65 tackles (tied for fifth on the team), 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and an interception. Morgan, a running back and tight end for Utah, was named as the District VIII first-team fullback. Morgan carries a 3.55 GPA in Spanish. He rushed 15 times for 94 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and 1 TD. He also caught 4 passes for 53 yards (13.2 yards per catch). Christianson and Morgan are now on the national ballot. The Verizon Academic All-America team will be released on December 5.



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