Friday Fodder: Time for Pack to go on big-kid rides |

Friday Fodder: Time for Pack to go on big-kid rides

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . It’s now time for the Nevada Wolf Pack football team to play with the big kids. The Pack has spent its last five weekends in the Western Athletic Conference touring all the kiddy rides at Disneyland.

They took a daredevil spin on Dumbo’s flying elephant ride (37-14 over Louisiana Tech), had a ball in Toontown on Roger Rabbit’s car ride (35-32 over Utah State), thoroughly enjoyed the Finding Nemo submarine ride (70-45 over Idaho), laughed and sang along with the happy dolls on the It’s A Small World boat ride (31-21 over Hawaii) and even got to steer on the Autopia go-cart ride (62-7 over San Jose State). A fun time was had by all. But let’s just say that those five wins did little to raise anyone’s heartbeat.

Well, Fresno State is coming to town on Saturday. It’s time for the Pack to stretch its neck skyward, pass all the height requirements at the front of the line and bravely take on the Matterhorn bobsleds. And they better leave their cotton candy and ice cream with grandma waiting by the exit gate. It could be a wild ride.


Fresno State just might be the best team the Wolf Pack has played to date. Yes, even better than Notre Dame and Missouri and certainly better than Colorado State, which hasn’t won since the Pack gave them a victory two months ago. The Bulldogs are 6-3 overall, just like the Pack, and their three losses have come to big boys Boise State, Cincinnati and Wisconsin. They, too, have spent the last five weeks eating popcorn and ice cream on the Dumbo and Roger Rabbit WAC rides. This is big-kid ride week for Fresno State, too.


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Fresno State will bring the nation’s leading rusher to Mackay Stadium in Ryan Mathews (1,459 yards). Mathews has done it against some big boys already (234 against Boise State, 107 at Wisconsin, 145 at Cincinnati). Pack fans certainly remember his 171 yards and three touchdowns at Mackay Stadium two years ago. The Pack has not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season but Colorado State’s John Mosure and Louisiana Tech’s Daniel Porter each had 99. And four others – Missouri’s Derrick Washington, Notre Dame’s Armando Allen, Idaho’s Deonte Jackson , Hawaii’s Alex Green – would all have likely passed triple digits if they had gotten 5-7 more carries. Mathews is the test the Pack has been studying for all season.


Mike Tyson was arrested this week for getting into a scrape with a photographer at the Los Angeles International Airport. We just have three questions. First, the wire service report said Tyson was only 43-years-old? Really? Only 43? I would have guessed 10-15 years older. At 43 Tyson could still have two or three more boxing comebacks. Scary thought. Our second question is who wants (or, better yet, would pay for) Tyson’s photograph these days? Our final question is what was Tyson doing in an airport? Which airline, in this era of tight safety regulations, would let that guy on their plane? The sad thing is that Tyson allegedly smacking a photographer around at an airport is the most interesting thing to happen in boxing since Tyson treated Evander Holyfield’s ear as a mid-fight Power Bar a dozen years ago.


Idaho athletic director Rob Spear, heading to Boise for a fundraiser this week, refused to board a Boise State-decorated plane. The plane, it seems, was decked out in Boise State orange and blue colors with the Bronco’s logo on the tail. Spear refused to board and chose instead to drive to Spokane, Wash., and get on another flight to Boise, where his Vandals will play Saturday. Good for Spear. The Idaho Vandals, with seven wins this year, deserve their own plane, at least on flights within Idaho. Heck, the Vandals already have an airplane hangar of a football stadium. They could house the Vandal plane themselves. Did Spear overreact? Not at all. Could you imagine Chris Ault getting on a red plane with a UNLV logo on the tail? OK, bad example. “Sully” Sullenberger wouldn’t even feel safe boarding a plane sporting a UNLV logo.


The football crowds at Mackay Stadium this year have been, well, let’s just say that parking hasn’t been a huge problem up on North Virginia Street. The House That Chris Ault Remodeled hasn’t been as empty as San Jose State’s mausoleum was Sunday night on national television but it also hasn’t been as crowded as the beer line at the Reno Rodeo either. The Pack football team will need you Saturday, Pack fans. It’s the last home game of the year. No, there won’t be any 1,500-pound bulls exploding out of the gate and flipping cowboys into the stands. Then again, there will be some 300-pound wolves driving some Bulldogs into the ground.