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BYU, Virginia Meet in All-American Bowl

December 22, 1987|Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Virginia's football team should be quite familiar with Brigham Young, and visa versa, when the teams match up in the All-American Bowl football game here Tuesday night.

Virginia has, for several years, borrowed offensive ideas from the Cougars, known for wide-open play.

"We practiced against ourselves in preparing for BYU," Virginia Coach George Welsh said Monday.

Welsh, who took the Cavaliers to their only other postseason trip ever, when they defeated Purdue in the 1984 Peach Bowl, said, "We adopted some concepts from BYU. They have been a pioneer in the passing game, and we wanted to open things up a bit."

Virginia, at 7-4, was runnerup to Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference. BYU was 9-3 and second to Wyoming in the Western Athletic Conference.

Coach LaVell Edwards, taking BYU to its 12th straight bowl, noted that his team started 3-3 before closing with six victories.

"It has been one of the most satisfying years I've had," he said.

Virginia lost four of its first seven games before taking the last three.

"A bowl game was a little beyond our expectations," Welsh said. "We have a young team, but they are the best group of athletes we've had in four years."

BYU's passing, led by Sean Covey, "is tactically difficult to handle," Walsh said.

"They do a good job against the blitz and will be a real test for our defense. The underrated thing about BYU is their defense."

Edwards described Virginia's offense as well-balanced and said BYU's aim "is to take away either the run or the pass, if we can, and force them into the other part of their game."

Bowl officials said about 65,000 tickets have been sold for the game.

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