RENO - B.J. Mitchell's fifth 100-yard game of the season earned him the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Mitchell rushed for a career-high 193 yards and two touchdowns in the Wolf Pack's 48-24 win over New Mexico State last Saturday in Las Cruces.
His first score with under two minutes left in the half came after New Mexico State had cut Nevada's lead to 10-7. That score fueled a barrage of points, as Jeff Rowe tossed a 64-yard TD pass to Caleb Spencer and then Craig Bailey returned a fumble 40 yards to give Nevada a 31-10 halftime advantage.
"Overall, I thought we played well," Nevada coach Chris Ault said. "Offensively speaking, B.J. ran very, very well. I thought the front (line) did a nice job.
"Jeff Rowe was very consistent. He was very efficient with audibles and passing. Except for two or three plays, the defense was consistent."
Mitchell's performance impressed New Mexico State coach Hal Mumme.
"He's a really good player," Mumme said. "He's effective in their offense. He sees the field; sees the hole. He's a good, solid back.
"I think that's what they want to do first (run). We're banged up on the defensive line and linebacker. Our top two linebackers are nursing injuries and the two behind them are out with injuries. Everyone knows we're a bit soft in the middle."
The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Mitchell - a journalism major from Loomis, Calif., - has rushed for 1,011 yards and 10 TDs this season. He is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 112.3 yards per game.
GARCIA CONTINUES TO EXCEL
Ault continues to be impressed with the play of cornerback Joe Garcia, a JC transfer from Southern California.
Garcia is second in passes defensed (7) to teammate Kevin Stanley and he leads the team with three interceptions. He is second on the team in tackles with 53.
"He gets better (every week)," Ault said. "He's learning to play that position very well.
"Part of it is the system. Coach (Kim) McCloud has done a good job teaching the fundamentals you have to have. He's been very patient with him."
By virtue of its win over New Mexico State, the Wolf Pack is 6-3 and bowl eligible for the first time since 1996. With two games left (Utah State and Fresno State), Nevada will enjoy its first winning season since 1996.
"We still have a long ways to go," Ault said. "We're better than we were last year thank God. Our young kids get better each week."
JACKSON'S STATUS IN DOUBT
Leon Jackson III, the starter at quarterback for Utah State, injured his arm/shoulder against Hawai'i and was replaced by freshman Jerod Walker.
Walker scored on a 47-yard TD run and finished with 103 yards on 28 carries in the Aggies' option offense. Walker completed 7 of 13 passes for 7 yards.
"He's still sore," Utah State coach Brent Guy said. "We're off on Mondays. We'll see what he can do with the throwing motion. We'll know more as the week progresses."
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