Brigham Young University has accepted an invitation to compete in the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars are scheduled to meet a school from Conference USA in the postseason college football bowl game on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 at 11 a.m. (CST). The game will be televised on ESPN from SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
“We are pleased to officially extend this invitation to BYU,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “Our goal is always to attract schools with a national presence to help us honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, and BYU is a great fit as it is a nationally-recognized institution with an outstanding fan base.”
Playing an independent schedule in 2011, BYU is currently 7-3, winning six of their previous seven games. The Cougars defeated Idaho State 56-3 in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 22 to become bowl eligible. Their most recent win was a 42-7 victory over the Idaho Vandals.
“With the great year that Conference USA is having, the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl should be a terrific match up,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “BYU is excited to return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to face a tough C-USA team. We are also honored to play in a game that pays tribute to the brave men and women of our armed forces.”
BYU will be playing in its second Texas bowl game after the Cougars won the 1997 Cotton Bowl by defeating Kansas State 19-15 to finish with a No. 5 national ranking. One of college football’s top programs with over 500 wins and 29 bowl appearances, the Cougars are coached by Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall, who has a 63-24 record to date in six-plus seasons at BYU, has now led the Cougars to seven-straight bowl appearances as the school has won four of its previous six postseason appearances.
BYU has five Texans on its 2011 roster, including redshirt freshman wide receiver Ross Apo (Arlington Oakridge School), senior wide receiver McKay Jacobson (Southlake Carroll), junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree (McKinney), redshirt sophomore lineman Manaaki Vaitai (Euless Trinity) and redshirt freshman lineman Michael Yeck (Keller).
Apo (25 catches for 332 yards and five touchdowns) and Jacobson (20, 238, 1) are second and fifth, respectively, in pass receptions for the Cougars. Ogletree is BYU’s top tackler with 56 total stops, including 27 unassisted tackles. He has 2.5 tackles for losses with one fumble recovery, one pass interception and two forces fumbles. Yeck is a backup at left offensive tackle.
Led by 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer of San Antonio, BYU boasts 11 consensus and 31 Academic All-Americans. BYU, which was crowned the 1984 national champions after a perfect 13-0 season, has also had seven Sammy Baugh, three Davey O’Brien, two Outland and one Doak Walker Trophy winners.
Legendary LaVell Edwards (2004), a two-time national coach of the year honoree, headlines BYU College Football Hall of Fame inductees. Other Cougars in the hall of fame include quarterbacks Gifford Nielsen (1994), Marc Wilson (1996), Jim McMahon (1998), Steve Young (2005) and Gordon Hudson (2009).