Jaekle has strong day in Wolf Pack’s loss
Appeal Sports Writer
BOISE, Idaho – Brett Jaekle hadn’t had many opportunities to kick field goals this year, but he made the most of his chances Sunday night.
Jaekle, who was 4-for-7 during the regular season, set an MPC Computers Bowl record and a career record with four field goals in Nevada’s 21-20 loss to Miami at Bronco Stadium.
Jaekle connected on field goals of 33, 31, 40 and 44 yards. Jaekle kicked three field goals against UNLV in 2005. The 44-yarder was a career best.
The four field goals broke the mark formerly held by UTEP’s Ricky Bishop, who kicked three against Boise State in the 2000 game. He tied a record for most field goals attempted (4). Boise State’s Nick Calaycay attempted four against Louisville in 1999.
Jaekle was asked what he was thinking about as Nevada was trying to get into position for a game-winning kick.
“I was hoping we would score a touchdown,” Jaekle said. “If we didn’t, then get close enough for just a chip shot to win it. After the first one, I felt good. As the game progressed, I felt more comfortable.
“I haven’t tried a lot (this year), but I would trade four field goals for a victory.”
A few snowflakes fell early in the game, and the temperature was 31 degrees at game time.
That was a big issue going into the game was if the Miami players could adapt to the frigid temperatures in a short amount of time.
“It was a factor,” said defensive lineman Baraka Atkins. “It wasn’t as bad as those morning practices. We haven’t played in many cold-weather games.”
Redshirt freshman Alonzo Durham started at tackle, and Charles Manu started at guard for the Pack.
Durham had been working extensively with the first team since the regular season ended, and it’s no secret that Barrett Reznick didn’t have the greatest of seasons.
Nevada also started Uche Anyanwu at strong safety instead of senior Nick Hawthrone. Charles Wilson started at defensive end instead of Erics Clark and De’Angelo Wilson started at cornerback ahead of Paul Pratt.
Quarterbacks Kirby Freeman of Miami and Nevada’s Jeff Rowe were named the MVPs of the contest.
Freeman completed 11 of 19 for 272 yards and two scores, a 52-yarder to Ryan Moore and a 78-yarder to Sam Shields.
“I grew up a bit tonight,” said Freeman, who became the Hurricanes’ starter in early November after Kyle Wright broke his right thumb against Virginia Tech.
Rowe completed 20 of 31 passes for 192 yards and a score. He also rushed 12 times for 26 yards.
Rowe, who was emotional after the narrow loss, was asked what he would miss most.
“The locker room, the jokes, the guys,” Rowe said. “I couldn’t have done it (over the years) without them.”
When Nevada was credited with a first-half safety, it was the fifth time the Wolf Pack defensive unit had scored this year.
Ezra Butler, Joe Garcia and Nick Hawthrone scored this year on interception returns, and Jeremy Engstrom returned a fumble for a score.
A total of 28,52 tickets were issued, the largest for any non-Boise State appearance in MPC Computers Bowl history. The previous non-Boise best was 28, 615 when Fresno State played Virginia two years ago … Nevada’s Matt Hines and Miami’s Khalili Jones were the recipients of the MPC Computer Bowl Student Humanitarion Awards. The award is sponsored by Dr. George Wade and the Idaho Sports Medicine Institute … The losing streak continues in Boise, as Nevada hasn’t won at Bronco Stadium since 1997 when it won 56-42 … The game was officiated by a Conference USA crew … Miami won the toss and deferred… With his 31 passing attempts, Rowe moved into third place all-time in career passing attempts … Nevada is now 3-4 all-time in bowl games and 2-3 in bowl games at the Division 1-A level.