At least Appalachian State wasn’t overmatched | NevadaAppeal.com

At least Appalachian State wasn’t overmatched

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Oh, well, so much for those Wolf Pack football national championship hopes.

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The worst thing to happen to the Wolf Pack last Saturday wasn’t the 52-10 loss at Nebraska. OK, that was more than bad enough. But the worst thing was Appalachian State’s win at Michigan. Thanks to Appalachian State, the Pack has no excuses for what it did a week ago. We don’t want to hear about how the little Pack never had a chance at big, bad Nebraska. Appalachian State showed us that the little guys do indeed have a chance. But the Pack went out and couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t throw the ball, couldn’t stop the run and, well, couldn’t get back on the plane back to Reno fast enough.

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The biggest difference between the Pack football team and the Pack men’s basketball team? You saw it last Saturday.

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What happened to the Pack’s Pistol offense? No touchdowns from the offense, less than 200 total yards, no runner with as many as 30 yards and a quarterback who completed less than 35 percent of his passes. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot with your own pistol. Then again, we’re not quite sure that the Pack even knows where the trigger is on its pistol. The 52 Nebraska points were enough of a punch in the gut. But the biggest concern to come out of that Nebraska nuking was how the Pack offense failed to show up.

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The good news for the Pack? Yes, there is good news. First of all, the Pack doesn’t play in the Big 12. Second of all, Nicholls State is just a little more than a week away on the schedule. And, third, Evanston, Ill., is not Lincoln, Neb., when it comes to getting smacked in the mouth on a football field. The folks in Evanston will be too busy worrying about their Cubs this weekend to spend any time getting excited about a Northwestern-Nevada game. Saturday’s environment will be more to the Pack’s liking. It is definitely a winnable game for the Pack, despite what happened a week ago. We’re not saying the Pack has to beat Northwestern. It can still win seven or eight games this year even with a loss on Saturday. But it does have to figure out how to put some bullets in the pistol.

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What did we learn from Appalachian State’s win over Michigan? Well, we learned that pre-season football polls are as meaningful as winning a balloon race at sunrise. If Michigan is the No. 5 team in the nation, then Boise State is No. 3 and Hawaii is No. 4. We also learned that there really is little difference between Division I-AA (or whatever they are calling it these days) and I-A. Appalachian State would beat half the teams in the Top 25 on a regular basis. Division I-AA, as any Pack fan over the age of 30 knows, is great football. The best teams in I-AA can compete with the Top 25 teams in I-A. Let’s hope the national media start to figure that out.

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Michigan fans need to relax when it comes to calling for Lloyd Carr’s head. The Wolverines coach, after all, isn’t the first Carr to roll off the assembly line in the Detroit area with a few flat tires. Michigan, like the Wolf Pack, killed its national title dreams last week. But Carr can still redeem himself by beating Ohio State later this year. That’s the beauty of college football. Rivalry games can salvage your entire season. If the Pack beats UNLV and/or Boise State, nobody will remember Nebraska.

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The Big Ten Network is all well and good. There’s nothing like watching a Purdue-Iowa women’s soccer game at 1 a.m. while sitting in your living room in Reno. But after what happened in Ann Arbor last Saturday, we’re waiting for the Southern Conference Network.

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In case you were wondering, Appalachian State’s home opener at Kidd Brewer Stadium this week against Lenoir-Rhyne is sold out to the general public. Only App State students can still get tickets. It’s the first pre-game sellout to the general public in App State history. That’s all you need to know about what beating Michigan means to the folks in Boone, N.C.

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Isn’t it funny, though, how the national media has focused all this week about how Michigan is going to recover this week from their embarrassing loss a week ago? All we’ve heard is how Michigan is going to come out motivated and determined against Oregon. We bet you didn’t even know that Appalachian State is going to play Lenoir-Rhyne this week, right?

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Michigan supposedly said no thanks to a game against Hawaii last week and opted to play App State instead. Good move. Imagine what Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan would have done to that Michigan secondary. Brennan threw for six touchdowns and 416 yards last week in the first half alone against Northern Colorado. Brennan might have done the best Heisman Trophy pose in Ann Arbor since Desmond Howard.

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The San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders will win a combined 13 games this year. Remember when these franchises used to churn out 13-win seasons all by themselves?

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Notre Dame is doing the right thing by starting freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen at Penn State this week. No, Beano Cook, hasn’t declared that Clausen will win two Heisman Trophies before he leaves South Bend. But Clausen should be the best Notre Dame quarterback since some guy named Montana went to the NFL.

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It’s time baseball cuts its regular season to 154 games and adds an extra round to the playoffs by adding a wild card team to each league. Let the two wild card teams in each league play a best-of-5 series while the three division champs enjoy a well-deserved week off to rest their pitching staff. It’s time the division winners get some type of reward.

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Nebraska beats Nevada and Nebraska coach Bill Callahan gets a three-year contract extension. What’s going to happen after Callahan actually beats a team Nebraska fans have heard of?