Players look for first win against Boise State
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Jeff Rowe almost ended up playing quarterback for Boise State instead of Nevada.
“It was pretty close,” he said prior to Tuesday’s practice. “It was a really tough decision. I liked the coaching staff (Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen).”
Instead, Rowe stayed home and has enjoyed a successful career with the Wolf Pack, who host the undefeated Broncos Saturday at 1:15 p.m. at Mackay Stadium in arguably the biggest game in Nevada history.
The one thing missing on Rowe’s resume is a victory over the Broncos, the only team he has failed to beat in his WAC career. Nothing would please him more than to engineer a Nevada win over BSU in the final home game of his illustrious career.
“It would be awesome to win (on Saturday),” Rowe said. “It was one of my goals this season.”
It’s been a long five years for guys like Rowe, J.J. Milan, Nick Hawthrone, Travis Moore, Anthony Pudewell, Barrett Reznick and Kyle Eklund who have lost year after year to the Broncos. In fact, there isn’t a player in the Nevada program that has been on the winning side of a Nevada-Boise game, and no doubt that stings.
Rowe said that this is the best Nevada team in the last five years, and has the best chance to break the streak.
Nevada coach Chris Ault once said that a rivalry is only a rivalry when both teams win once in a while, and it’s been a while since Nevada has won. The Broncos lead the all-time series 20-12, and the Pack haven’t won since 1998.
That dissolved as Boise State’s program moved forward by leaps and bounds and Nevada’s went stagnant under Jeff Tisdel and Chris Tormey.
Nevada hasn’t beaten Boise State since it handed the Broncos a 52-24 shellacking at Mackay Stadium in 1998.
That was essentially the end of the rivalry because the Broncos have won the last six games by a combined score of 308-69, including a 56-3 beating in Boise in what turned out to be Tormey’s final game as head coach.
“We used to beat them before,” Nevada coach Chris Ault. “It (BSU dominance) started back in the late 90s. That’s what we’re trying to climb out of. Boise State has done a nice job with their program. They are very good in all phases of the game.”
Boise State has dominated in nearly every category over the past six seasons. The Broncos have a plus-6 in turnover margin, and are averaging nearly 500 yards a game total offense compared to less than 400 per game for Nevada.
Another trend that has developed is fast starts. In the 1998 Nevada win, the teams were tied at 24 after two quarters. Since then, Boise State has outscored Nevada 184-38 in the first two periods, including 42-0 in the 2003 game. Taking that one step further, Nevada has never trailed by less than 14 points at halftime in the past six games.
A fast Boise start could quiet a Mackay crowd, and force Nevada out of its ball-control mode.
Notes: Nevada athletic officials said nearly 23,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game, and that figure doesn’t include the student allotment of 3,500. Fans wishing to attend the game can purchase tickets today and Friday at the Lawlor Events Center ticket office between 2 and 8 p.m. On Friday, tickets can be purchased at the Legacy Hall box office between noon and 5 p.m. If tickets remain after Friday, the Mackay Stadium ticket box box will open at 11 a.m. … Tickets can also be purchased online at http://www.wolfpack.com or at http://www.tickets.com.