Nevada glad to be back home
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – After four road games in six weeks, the Nevada football team is glad to be home.
The Pack, 3-3 overall and 0-2 in Western Athletic Conference play, starts its post-season push Saturday when it hosts San Jose State at 4 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by ABC.
Nevada needs only to split its last six games to be bowl eligible, and the Pack figures to be favored in every game down the stretch except Boise State.
“We’ve been on the road a long time,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said prior to Tuesday’s practice. “There’s nothing better than playing at home.”
Nevada has compiled a 12-2 home record since Ault returned to the sidelines, losing only to Boise State 58-21 in 2004 and to Washington State 55-21 in the 2005 season opener.
• Ault seems unconcerned when a television reporter pointed out that leading receiver Caleb Spencer has yet to score a touchdown this season.
“It doesn’t matter,” Ault said. “He’s doing a good job. It means other people have stepped up.”
Spencer has 33 catches for 360 yards, the first time all year he’s been over the 10 yards per catch barrier. Spencer is coming off his best of the season when he caught eight balls for 112 yards in the Pack’s 41-34 loss to Hawai’i.
• Ault is still counting on Jeff Rowe being able to play on Saturday.
Rowe injured his hamstring against Hawai’i and missed most of the fourth quarter of the Hawai’i loss.
“He primarily rested (last week),” Ault said. “We’ll find out each day how he progresses.”
If Rowe is unable to go, Travis Moore would be the logical starter with Nick Graziano moving up to No. 2 on the depth chart. Rowe said the training staff has worked hard at trying to rub it (tightness) out.
“Travis did very well (against Hawai’i),” Ault said. “Graziano will be ready to go, too. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to put him in there.”
Moore, who completed 6 of 10 for 121 yards and two TDs, both to tight end Anthony Pudewell, said he’s ready if an opportunity presents itself.
“I’ve been practicing for five years, and I’m ready to go,” Moore said. “Let’s hope Jeff is able. If I step in, there is not going to be a significant dropoff. I practice the same plays he does.”
• Four former Wolf Pack greats will be inducted into the Nevada Hall of Fame this weekend.
A dinner honoring ex-track star Ali McKnight (Metkovich), ex football greats Brock Marion and John Ramatici, and two-sport standout Chris Singleton is slated for Friday night in the Silver and Blue Room at Lawlor Events Center. The quartet also will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s game.
McKnight was a two-time Big West Conference Athlete of the Year, and competed in the Olympic Trials in 1996 and 2000 in the heptathlon.
Ramatici led the Wolf Pack in tackles in 1980 and 1981, amassing 279 stops. He is considered by many as pound-for-pound one of the top players in Nevada history.
Marion, who played corner and safety for Ault, compiled 303 tackles and 13 interceptions in his four-year career. He spent 12 seasons in the NFL and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2002 and 2003).
Singleton hit more than .300 at Nevada for coach Gary Powers and was a second-round draft pick of the Giants in 1993. He was AL Rookie of the Year in 1999 after hitting .300 with 17 homers and driving in 72 runs for the White Sox. He currently is a color commentator for the White Sox.
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