Athletic Director Bill Martin announced yesterday that the Michigan football team has added Utah to its 2002 schedule. In a one-year agreement, the Utes will visit Ann Arbor Sept. 21.

“We”re really pleased to schedule Utah,” Martin said. “They”re a really good team, they beat a Pac-10 team, USC, in a bowl game.”

The matchup will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, although Utah coach Ron McBride, a former Wisconsin assistant, has faced Michigan before.

“Its always pretty exciting for most institutions to play in the Big House,” Martin said. “It should be fun.”

Michigan is 2-1 against current Mountain West opponents, including victories over Air Force and Colorado State.

Utah holds a 5-7 record versus the Big Ten, but last September 22 in the Utes” most recent contest against a Big Ten team they surprised Indiana 28-26 in Bloomington.

The Wolverines now have seven home games scheduled for the first time since 1997, when they finished 12-0 and claimed a share of the national title. The only time Michigan will face a nonconference team away from Michigan Stadium is Sept. 14, when it resumes its rivalry with Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Utah”s opportunity to face Michigan arrived when Memphis withdrew from a home-and-home arrangement. The Utes were supposed play Memphis in Salt Lake City Sept. 28, one week after a game at South Florida. Utah is trying to reschedule the South Florida game and hopes to lure a Division I team to Salt Lake.

Last season, the Utes took third in the Mountain West with a 4-2 record (8-4 overall) and defeated Southern California 10-6 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah featured the 12th-ranked rushing offense and tied for first with Miami in sacks allowed.

No. 20 Michigan also finished 8-4, including a 45-17 loss to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl on Jan 1. The Wolverines earned second place in the Big Ten with a 6-2 conference record.

It was rumored that Fresno State would be Michigan”s 12th opponent next year. Martin acknowledged that was a possibility, but said he was happy with the way the schedule worked out.

“We were talking to Fresno State,” he said. “We had discussions with a lot of teams, and we decided this was the best team suited to play us.”

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