By STEVE RANSON
Appeal News Service
Nevada's 38-35 win Saturday over Fresno State may have opened another door for a bowl game.
Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said Saturday night Nevada's win over the nationally-ranked Bulldogs may have given the Pack a chance to be invited to Detroit's Motor City Bowl.
Benson said Nevada is guaranteed a bowl bid, and Hawaii appears to have the inside track. The WAC, though, has two automatic bowl tie-ins, one of which is Hawaii and the other is the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise. Because of its national ranking, Fresno has accepted an invitation to play in another bowl not aligned with the WAC.
"The Hawaii Bowl has made it clear they want Nevada," Benson said as he was watching Nevada upset Fresno State.
Nevada received a boost for a bowl game when Boise State knocked off Louisiana Tech in Reston, La. Benson spent most of last week in Reno for the volleyball tournament; however, he will have no announcement on a bowl invitation for the Pack until Monday.
Fresno accepted an invitation on Tuesday to play in the 47th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31. This will be FSU's seventh straight bowl appearance, and the first in school history by accepting an invitation for a bowl game east of the Mississippi River.
The Wolf Pack bade farewell to 14 seniors Saturday including running back B.J. Mitchell, wide receiver Nichiren Flowers and linebacker Roosevelt Cooks. Nine seniors were regular starters, and four of them served as co-captains...The seniors along with the rest of the team are enjoying Nevada's first conference championship since the 1996 season.
Benson said if Fresno State defeats Louisiana Tech this week, then the WAC will have tri-champions. Fresno, Boise State and Nevada all have 7-1 league records.
"We don't do tie-breaker system," Benson said. "All three teams will receive trophies."
Fresno State now leads the series 22-13-1 since the two teams first met in 1923. Nevada's win also snaps a 12-game conference winning streak for the Bulldogs. ... Fresno had given topÐranked USC a scare last weekend before falling to the Trojans 50-42. Until this year's losses at Oregon and USC, Fresno had defeated two straight Pac-10 teams.
Saturday's attendance was 17,765, a figure which gave Nevada a 15,000 per game average. This 15,000-average is required by the NCAA for full 1-A membership. The Pack needed 17,307 people to meet the average. The university sold or distributed 29,000 tickets for the game.
Fresno State has several former Northern 4A players on its roster including senior Garrett McIntyre. McIntyre , a three-year letterman, played his high school ball at South Tahoe. Ryan McKinley, a former standout from Reno High School, is a redshirt-freshman who played at Reno High School and led the Huskies to a state championship two years ago.
ESPN televised the game to a national audience. This marks the sixth time the Bulldogs have received national television exposure this season, and this week's game against Louisiana Tech will also be televised on ESPN. Nevada's final game last year against Boise was also televised on ESPN.
What a difference a year makes. On Nov. 26, 2004, a nasty snow storm slammed the Truckee Meadows and dumped more than a foot of snow on many areas of western Nevada. Prior to the kickoff of last year's Boise State game, work crews were removing a foot of snow from the stands. This year was much different for the final Saturday of November. A slight breeze swept Mackay from the northeast under partly cloudy skies. Temperatures were in the mid-40s at kickoff.