The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.

The jive in 2005: Headlines from U sports

Jan. 1: Football caps off

perfect season

In front of a packed Sun Devil Stadium, the undefeated Utes pounded Big East champ Pitt 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. The U finished 12-0 and in the top five in national polls.

Alex Smith threw for four touchdowns in his final collegiate game, finishing with 328 yards on 29-of-37 passing.

Smith and senior receiver Paris Warren shared offensive MVP honors, while junior lineman Steve Fifita earned defensive MVP.

The game marked a changing of the guard at the top of the program.

After two-straight conference championship seasons and a 22-2 record, Urban Meyer left for Florida immediately after the Fiesta Bowl win, turning over the reigns to defensive coordinator (and Fiesta Bowl co-head coach) Kyle Whittingham.

Feb. 4: Swimmers drown Cougars to clinch conference crowns

With a standing-room Natatorium crowd cheering them on, the Utes swam past BYU to claim both the men’s and women’s MWC regular season titles.

The women finished the season 9-0, finishing their season undefeated for the first time in school history. The men beat the Cougars for the first time since 1996 and earned a share of their first-ever MWC title.

Mar. 12: Third place for

the skiers

After a tough beginning, the U skiers rallied for a third place finish at the NCAAs, displacing Dartmouth at the last second of the final day.

It was a surprising finish for the Utes, who had battled a string of injuries all season long.

The following August, head ski coach Kevin Sweeney resigned to take a job for a ski retail company.

In Sweeney’s six years at the helm, the Utes qualified for the NCAA championships each season and won it in 2003.

Mar. 22: U women fall to

Stanford in NCAA second round

Kim Smith’s 20 points weren’t enough to beat the powerful Cardinals, as Stanford downed the Utes in the NCAA tournament.

The Utes finished the year with a strong 26-8 record, and featured co-MWC players of the year Smith and Shona Thorburn.

Utah lost to New Mexico in the MWC tournament final and, as in 2004, had to sit on pins and needles while ESPN rattled off the list of tournament teams.

But they would not be disappointed again, as they received a No. 10 seed. The Utes dispatched No. 7 seed Iowa State in the first round.

Mar. 25: Runnin’ Utes can’t break Kentucky curse

In Ray Giacoletti’s first year at the helm, the Utes responded with a 29-6 record and the MWC regular-season championship. After losing in the MWC tournament championship game to New Mexico, the Utes still received a No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Utes earned a berth in the Sweet-16, knocking off UTEP and heavily favored Oklahoma before eventually falling to old tournament nemesis Kentucky. The Wildcats wore down Utah with a much deeper rotation and eventually pulled away at the end to win 62-52. The week after the loss, All-American center Andrew Bogut announced that he was leaving the Utes after his sophomore season to enter the NBA draft.

Apr. 9: Baseball sets records with a thunderous hitting display

In a nightcap to a doubleheader at Air Force, the Utes set school and conference records for both hits and runs, as they beat Air Force 32-4, while hammering out 34 hits. Six Utes had at least four RBI in the rout, and over the full three-game series, the Utes outscored the Falcons, 62-12.

Apr. 22: Red Rocks nearly

emerge on top of nation

In front of a highly partisan SEC crowd in Auburn, Ala., the U gymnastics team took third place in the 2005 team national championships. Georgia and Alabama finished 1-2. It signaled a return to the top echelon for Utah, which relied mainly on freshmen and sophomores to carry them to the brink of a championship.

In the individual championships, Ashley Postell and Rachel Tidd tied for third on the uneven bars, which was especially impressive for Postell, who was battling a foot injury.

Apr. 23: Mr. Smith goes No. 1

He led the Utes to a 12-0 season and a No. 4 national ranking, and on draft day Ute quarterback Alex Smith became the first U football player ever to be taken first in the NFL draft. The Heisman Trophy finalist was selected by the San Francisco 49ers and later signed a six-year, $49.5 million contract. The previously highest drafted Ute was offensive lineman Jordan Gross, who was selected eighth by the Carolina Panthers in 2003.

Apr. 30: Scrummin’ Utes finish season national runner-up

Coming out of relative obscurity, the U rugby team rolled through the postseason before eventually falling to perennial champ Cal in the championship tilt. On their way to the final game, the Utes blew out Purdue to reach the final four and squeaked by rival BYU to reach the championship.

May 18: Men’s track gets the axe

Facing budget constraints, U Director of Athletics Chris Hill chose to end the men’s track and field and cross country programs. Current athletes still had their scholarships honored throughout their scholastic career at the U, but the move still caused controversy among collegiate track enthusiasts, who wore black ribbons at the spring championships and wrote letters in defiance to the men’s team getting cancelled.

In July, Hill hired Kyle Kepler to the position of head coach of the women’s track and field and cross-country teams.

May 24: Tennis stars go national

Following a surprisingly solid team campaign, the U tennis team capped the year by sending their No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Miron Mann and freshman Zach Ganger to the NCAA championships in College Station, Texas. The duo fell in the first round, but the experience bodes well for the future of Utah tennis.

June 28: Bogut completes the U’s top pick sweep

With the first pick in the 2005 NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Andrew Bogut and thus etched the U into the history books. Bogut’s selection allowed the Utes to become the first school to have the No. 1 picks in both football and basketball in the same year.

Bogut left the Utes after his sophomore year, a season that saw him earn consensus All-American honors, the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, both of which honor the top player in the country.

Aug. 20: Utes lose a member of the family

Thomas Herrion, an admired and accomplished former Ute offensive lineman, passed away at the age of 23 from Ischaemic heart disease, following a preseason football game while playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

Herrion’s death sparked much sadness from the football program and those who followed the team. To commemorate the loss, the football team members wore a sticker with Herrion’s No. 76 on their helmets during the 2005 season.

Sept. 20: Pimm pounds field at tournament

Sophomore golfer Dustin Pimm broke a course record and tournament record at the Purple & Red Invitational, with a final round of 64, eight under par. Pimm won the tournament with a 14-under par 202, taking the championship by five strokes over the nearest finisher.

Oct. 21: Car beats Ute,

Ute beats Cougar

Sophomore tennis player Liz Ferris had a much better afternoon than morning. On her way to the Eccles Tennis Center from her residence hall, Ferris was hit by a red-light-running automobile, which knocked her down to the ground with various bumps and bruises.

With a bruised hip and a throbbing shoulder, Ferris decided to play her match against favored BYU star Lauren Jones anyway and came out victorious 7-6, 6-4.

Nov. 4: The sweet sensation of ruining BYU’s streak

What’s better than beating an undefeated volleyball team that had won 20 straight? Having the win come against BYU in front of a record Crimson Court crowd, that’s what.

No fewer than 1,591 onlookers packed every nook and cranny of the gym to see the Utes sweep away BYU in a dominating victory, dropping the No. 12 Cougars 30-26, 30-28 and 30-23.

Nov. 10: Big year for soccer ends in narrow defeat

he Utes couldn’t quite overcome a stifling Arizona defense, falling to the Wildcats 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Ute Field. The Utes closed out a successful 2005 campaign that saw them win the MWC regular season title with a roster chock full of underclassmen, including Adele Letro, who was the U’s leading goal scorer and MWC Freshman of the Year.

Nov. 19: Who the hell is that?

It was Brett Ratliff, that’s who. The junior quarterback came off the bench and out of obscurity to throw four touchdown passes in the U’s 41-34 overtime victory at archrival BYU in his first NCAA start. The Cougars had come into the game heavy favorites thanks to Utah losing starting quarterback Brian Johnson in the previous game to a serious knee injury. But Ratliff showed no jitters or rust and did not commit a turnover in the rivalry clash.

Dec. 3: Epic NCAA tilt just evades U volleyball’s grasp

In a match as well played as a volleyball contest can be, the Utes fell in four games in the second round of the NCAA tournament to favored Arizona.

While the season ended in a loss, the young Utes exceeded many expectations to win the MWC tournament and obliterate Loyola Marymount in the NCAA opening round.

Dec. 29: Emerald Bowl turned ruby red

Brett Ratliff picked up where he left off against BYU, throwing four touchdowns in a 38-10 shellacking of Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl. All four scoring throws went to senior wideout Travis LaTendresse, who was named the game’s offensive MVP.

MWC Defensive Player of the Year Eric Weddle earned the game’s top defender award after shutting down All-American receiver Calvin Johnson the whole game.

The Utes finished the season a disappointing 7-5, but won their fifth straight bowl game in convincing style, portending big things for 2006.


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy here.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *