Football to Host Northwestern Friday Night at Mackay Stadium
NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (2-1) VS. NEVADA WOLF PACK (1-2, 0-1 WAC)
TELEVISION: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch, Rod Gilmore, Trevor Matich & Heather Cox)
Coming off a 28-10 victory over Colorado State in last week’s home opener, the Nevada Wolf Pack (1-2) wraps up its two-game homestand this week, playing host to the Northwestern Wildcats (1-2) on Friday night at Mackay Stadium. ESPN2 will televise Friday night’s game to a national audience with kickoff scheduled for 5:06 p.m. Pacific Time. After downing Colorado State for the first time in school history and getting the team’s first win of the year last week, the Wolf Pack brings a six-game winning streak at Mackay Stadium into this week’s game, which extends back to last season. With 38 returning letterwinners and 14 returning starters, 22nd-year head coach Chris Ault and the Wolf Pack are coming off the team’s best season in nine years after turning in a 9-3 overall record and earning a share of the school’s first WAC title as well as an invitation to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl last season. Nevada was picked to finish third in the WAC in this year’s preseason polls.
Nevada will appear on television seven times in 2006, including three national TV appearances. ESPN broadcast the season opener with Fresno State, while the Nov. 25 Boise State game will be on ESPN or ESPN2. Nevada’s flagship station, KREN, is scheduled to televise three games (ASU, Hawai’i and Idaho), while ABC will televise the Oct. 21 San Jose State contest to a regional audience. The Mountain West Sports Network (the MTN) will carry the Sept. 30 game at UNLV.
Nevada’s flagship radio station, ESPN 630 AM, will broadcast all 12 regular-season games this year with Dan Gustin (play-by-play) and Bill Daniel (analyst) calling, while fans can watch live video streaming of non-televised WAC games on the internet on a pay-per-view basis this season by logging on to www.WAC.tv.
In the Series with Northwestern
Under the direction of first-year head coach Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern has turned in a 2-1 record so far this year. Fitzgerald, who was named the national player of the year for the Big Ten champion Wildcats in 1995 and 1996, took over the program after Randy Walker died of an apparent heart attack on June 29. The Wildcats returned 45 letterwinners and 16 starters from last year’s 7-5 Sun Bowl squad. Northwestern opened the 2006 season with a 21-3 win at Miami of Ohio and a 34-17 loss to New Hampshire. The Wildcats are coming off a 14-6 victory over Eastern Michigan last week in Evanston, Ill.
The annual American Heart Association event raises funds to fight heart disease and stroke. There will be a 3K walk and a 5K run for all ages followed by a number of events, including fitness activities, Ask the Expert, fitness assessment area, Eat Street, live music and more. For more information on the Heart Walk, contact the American Heart Association at 775-322-7065 or visit northernnevadaheartwalk.com.
Mackay is Back
In his 21-plus years as Nevada’s head coach, Ault has led the team to a 122-25-1 record at Mackay Stadium (.828), including an 11-2 mark over the last two-plus years since returning to the helm for the third time. He has guided the Wolf Pack to 15 seasons with one loss or less at home, including four undefeated campaigns at Mackay Stadium (1976, 1985, 1990, 1994).
Wolf Pack Offense Notches Season Highs
Defense Turns in Best Game of the Year
Nevada sacked CSU’s quarterbacks five times, led by senior defensive end J.J. Milan who had a pair of sacks, while the team hauled in two interceptions. Milan, a three-year starter who missed all of last season with a foot injury, has turned in three sacks for a loss of 18 yards this year. He ranks second in the WAC and 16th in the nation with 1.00 sacks per contest.
Senior defensive end Charles Wilson led the team in tackles for the second consecutive week, tallying six tackles (four solo) and a sack and forcing a fumble against CSU. On Sept. 9 at Arizona State, he tied for the team lead with six tackles and blocked a field goal.
Rowe Continues to Climb Career Passing Charts
Rowe opened the season with 183 yards and two TDs on 18-of-34 passing at Fresno State, while he completed 17-of-29 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the loss at No. 25 Arizona State. He ranks sixth in the WAC in passing yards per game at 185.3 and is fifth in the league and 40th in the country at 220.7 yards of total offense per game. He has thrown five touchdown passes this year, which is second in the WAC behind only Chase Holbrook of New Mexico State who has nine. Rowe has tossed at least one scoring strike in 23 of the last 27 games.
In his final year in the program, Rowe continues to climb Nevada’s career passing charts. He has now thrown for 6,511 yards in his career, which moves him into sixth in the Nevada record book and 25th in the WAC annals, while his 42 passing touchdowns are tied for seventh-best in Wolf Pack history. Rowe also ranks fifth in both career completions (564) and attempts (941).
A 2005 second-team All-WAC selection, Rowe has thrown for over 2,500 yards in each of the last two seasons, including 2,925 yards last year. He ranked second in the league and 21st in the nation in total offense with 264.1 yards per game and was third in the WAC and 30th in the NCAA in passing efficiency at 137.8. Rowe tallied at least 200 passing yards in all but two games in 2005, including two 300-yard outings with a season-best 324 yards against Colorado State. Rowe also tossed at least one touchdown pass in all but one game last year, including three contests with three scoring strikes.
Rowe Named to Davey O’Brien Award Watch List
Celebrating 30 years, the O’Brien Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in the country for college quarterbacks and is named in honor of the late Davey O’Brien. O’Brien led the TCU Horned Frogs to the 1938 national championship and was the first player to win the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell awards in one season.
Semifinalists will be announced in early November as voted on by the O’Brien Selection Committee, made up of a nationwide panel of sportswriters, commentators and former O’Brien Award winners. The committee will then narrow the field to three finalists before announcing a winner on ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show scheduled for Dec. 7, 2006, at 7 p.m. EST. The winner will then be honored on Feb. 19, 2007, at the 30th annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Last year’s winner was Vince Young from the University of Texas.
Rowe, Spencer Among Nation’s Leaders in Consecutive Starts, Games with a Reception
After catching eight passes for 78 yards last week against Colorado State, Spencer is tied for sixth in the WAC and 32nd in the nation with 5.67 receptions per game and eighth in the league with 56.3 receiving yards per contest.
2006 Division I-A Quarterback Consecutive Starts
Spencer Named to Biletnikoff Award Watch List
A first-team All-WAC and Academic All-WAC honoree last season, Spencer led the team in receptions (67), yard (889) and touchdown catches (seven) in 2005. He also ranked among the WAC and national leaders in receptions and receiving yards per game.
The Biletnikoff Award watch list will be narrowed down later this fall with the award to be announced at the ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December. The winner will also be honored at a banquet in Tallahassee in February.
Ault Moving Up Career Victories Lists
The winningest coach in school history, Ault was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2005 for his efforts in leading the Wolf Pack to a share of the league title and the school’s first bowl appearance in nine years. During his tenure, Ault has won eight conference championships and taken Nevada to postseason play nine times (three bowl games).
Top Five Winningest Active Division I-A Coaches
Hubbard Leading Team in Rushing
Hubbard turned in 103 yards on 17 career in the season opener at Fresno State. He also accomplished the feat in each of the final two contests of the 2005 season, turning in 146 yards and three touchdowns in a Nov. 26 win over then No. 16 Fresno State and 178 rushing yards and two TDs in Nevada’s victory over Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl.
Garcia on Watch Lists for Nagurski & Lott Awards
Garcia, who hails from Westminster, Calif., had 72 tackles and four interceptions last year en route to earning first-team All-WAC honors.
He is one of 56 players on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is presented each year by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the best defensive player in college football as voted on by the Football Writers Association of America. This year’s award will be presented on Dec. 4 at the Westin Hotel-Charlotte.
Garcia was also one of the 42 players named to the 2006 Lott Trophy Watch List. Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its third year, the Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player and is sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and Master Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches. The winner will be announced at a gala black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club Dec. 10.
Nevada Picked Third in the WAC Preseason Polls
Nevada in Season Openers