CFB: Wolf Pack ready for showdown with Boise
Nevada Appeal News Service
RENO – The date was circled since losing their fourth game of the 2009 season.
After its 52-6 win over New Mexico State on Saturday, nothing stands between Nevada and its rematch with Boise State. For the first time in Mackay Stadium history, two nationally ranked teams will battle when the Broncos test their perfect 10-0 record on Friday against 10-1 Nevada.
The game has been sold out since Nevada embarrassed Cal in September.
How hard was it Saturday for the players not to look ahead?
“We’ve been taking every game one week at a time,” Nevada running back Vai Taua said. “Now that this one is over, you pretty much know where our focus is at.”
Since that quadruple overtime loss to the Broncos three years ago, every game has been closer than when the two teams battled last decade. Nevada lost by two points at Boise in 2007 and then by a touchdown two years ago when then-freshman quarterback Kellen Moore threw two picks for touchdowns. Boise State returned last year’s opening kickoff for a touchdown and Nevada could not catch up, losing 44-33.
But since that loss, the Boise State rematch has been on the players’ minds.
“It’s always something in the back of our minds,” Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “Now we can focus on them. Every year we come out and play hard.”
But this season has been different for many reasons. Now, Nevada has a swagger of confidence, the highest it’s been before a Boise State game.
“One-hundred percent confidence. There’s not a person in this building that thinks we’re not going to beat Boise,” Nevada defensive lineman Brett Roy said. “This year we have immense confidence. This year we’re at home and we don’t lose at home.”
Nevada is perfect at Mackay Stadium and the lone loss came by a touchdown at the always-difficult Hawaii. Nevada humiliated a Pac 10 team and shut down BYU in Provo.
Nevada has been ranked in the Top 25 for half the season and the Pistol offense is implemented more around the country, from UCLA to Arkansas to Alabama.
Adding Andy Buh as the defensive coordinator has shown immediate success. Coming into Saturday’s game against the Aggies, the Nevada defense was ranked in the top 50 in points allowed, a contrast from last season when it was closer to the end of 120-team division.
“That’s very personal,” Roy said about Nevada’s defense being poor the last few seasons. “When anybody questions what you do as a man, you’ve got to step up. Now we can win games with our defense. We’re very complementing to the defense.”