Nevada may play Miami in Boise
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Nevada will find out its bowl fate sometime Monday, according to Cary Groth, the Pack’s athletic director.
Groth, who talked with the media after Saturday’s 38-7 loss to Boise State, said that the schools with teams not involved in bowls – New Mexico State, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Utah State and Fresno State – will discuss the bowl possibilities and vote on where to send teams.
The WAC has four bowl-eligible teams, and barring a mishap in the polls, Boise State will be in a BCS game and Hawai’i has already signed on to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
That leaves the group to decide the fate of San Jose State (currently 7-4) and Nevada (8-4). The two remaining WAC bowls are the MPC Computers Bowl on Dec. 31 with the University of Miami as the opponent or the first-ever New Mexico Bowl with either Wyoming or New Mexico as the opponent on Dec. 23.
No doubt Nevada officials are concerned about the Boise game and selling tickets for it, because more than 3,000 Nevada fans are making the trip to Seattle to watch the Wolf Pack basketball team play on Dec. 30 to play Gonzaga, and may not be able to make the quick turnaround.
It certainly would be easier logistically if Nevada played in New Mexico, but WAC commissioner Karl Benson has stressed that he wants the best possible match-ups, and since the ACC did qualify Miami, it would only seem natural to send Nevada to play the 6-6 Hurricanes.
Some of the Nevada players admitted that getting another opportunity to play takes some of the sting, disappointment and frustration at losing by such a huge margin.
“One more (game)” quarterback Jeff Rowe said. “Hopefully we come back and do big things.”
“It’s good to know that we played well enough to be bowl eligible,” ex-Wooster star J.J. Milan said. “I don’t know whether to cry or be happy. I look back at my career, and it all hits you at once.”
CAN AULT GET THEM READY?
Nevada coach Chris Ault admitted that it will be tough to regroup and get his squad ready for a bowl game.
“This is tough stuff,” Ault said. “They worked hard to get where they were. A chance to play a ranked team and do something special, and we didn’t. That’s tough stuff.”
Ault said that he won’t know when the team will resume practice until it’s determined which bowl it’s in.
The NCAA limits how many days a team can practice prior to a bowl game.
It was a tough day for redshirt freshman Zach Shapiro. He was called for two penalties on special teams, including two personal fouls.
The second came in the second half, and it appeared on the replays shown in the press box that he punched Boise State’s Austin Smith on the Nevada sideline. Minutes later, he was escorted off the field by Nevada officials.
Ault said that he had suspended Shapiro for the season, and that he wouldn’t play in Nevada’s bowl game next month.
RECORD FOR JOHNSON
Ian Johnson’s 3-yard run for his third rushing touchdown also made him Boise State’s single-season record holder.
Johnson, who ran for 147 yards, now has 1,613 for the season, two yards better than Brock Forsey’s 1,611 back in 2002.
Johnson is two touchdowns shy of tying Forsey’s record for career TDs, and he could possibly get that when Boise State plays in its bowl game.
“I didn’t even know until right before the run,” Johnson said. “You know, it’s just one of those things where you don’t realize it until right before, but it means a lot to me. This is why I play football.”
Robert Hubbard topped the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this season … The crowd of 25,506 actually in attendance was the 10th-largest in school history, meaning there were more than 3,000 no-shows as all 29,000-plus tickets were distributed … Nick Hawthrone’s 45-yard interception return was his fourth interception of the season and the fourth defensive TD for Nevada this season. The interception enabled Nevada to extend its streak of not being shut out to an NCAA-best 316 games which stretches back to 1980.
•Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281