Nevada again will be without Green | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada again will be without Green

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Nevada has gotten used to playing without all-conference center Dominic Green this season.

Green, who injured his ankle against San Jose State, won’t play on Saturday (1:30 p.m., ESPN) when the Pack meets New Mexico in the second annual New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Kenny Ackerman, who relieved Green in the San Jose State game and started the regular-season finale against Louisiana Tech, will get the starting nod against the Lobos.

Josh Catapano, who started the first four games of the season when Green was out with a broken foot, becomes the back-up.

“I’m very excited and ready to go,” said the 6-foot-5 290-pound Ackerman prior to Tuesday’s practice. “Absolutely it helped that I started that game. I got all that nervous stuff out of the way.

“I played pretty well that day, and I know I can do it. I graded out 79, and that’s going above and beyond.” The Pack beat Louisiana Tech 49-10, running for 237 yards.

There are positives and negatives anytime a change is made for whatever reason, and this is no exception.

“Without Dominic, we lose the sheer surge at the point of attack,” Nevada line coach Chris Klenakis said. “Being a bit undersized, Kenny has to rely on his movement and athleticism.

“Kenny runs well and competes very hard. He did a nice job against San Jose State and did a nice job against Louisiana Tech. He’s a good player. It’s not like we’re putting guys in there that haven’t played any football this year. Both Kenny and Josh have started games.”

New Mexico, with its 3-3-5 defense, will be a handful for the Pack offensive linemen.

“They stunt and slant a lot,” Ackerman said. “I’m not going to be going up against the same guy all the time. We’re going to have to read our keys and know what they’re going to do before they do it.”

• According to an Associated Press report, New Mexico running back Rodney Ferguson won’t play against Nevada after being declared academically ineligible by the university.

Reserve running back Mike Love was also found academically ineligible.

Ferguson, a junior, ran for 1,177 yards and 13 TDs this season en route to all-Mountain West Conference honors.

Junior Paul Baker, who gained 298 yards on the ground and caught six passes for 84 yards, will start in place of Ferguson.

“They will not be able to practice or participate in bowl activities,” UNM coach Rocky Long told the Albuquerque Journal. “If they have a good spring semester, they will be eligible next fall.

“It won’t affect our game plan. We anticipate that Paul Baker will have a great game. This has been a team since Day 1. We’ve overcome obstacles before and we’ll overcome one this time.”