Pudewell, Garcia named to Hula Bowl | NevadaAppeal.com

Pudewell, Garcia named to Hula Bowl

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Seniors Anthony Pudewell and Joe Garcia got the surprise of their lives when coach Chris Ault announced to the team after Saturday’s practice that the duo had been selected to play in the annual Hula Bowl all-star game in Honolulu.

The game is scheduled for Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

“This is just a great honor for me,” said Pudewell, who caught 17 passes for 147 yards and two scores. “Making second-team all-WAC was wonderful. I never expected anything like this.”

“Coach Ault called me over in the middle of the field and told me right there in the middle of the field,” Garcia said. “He told me not to say anything because he wanted to announce it after practice.”

The Hula Bowl announcement was the second big thrill of the day for Pudewell.

The Pack tight end participated in the winter graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center. He majored in International Business with minors in Spanish and Economics.

“I finally graduated after five years,’ Pudewell said. “I still have to take some finals, but I think I would be OK even if I didn’t take them. I may still go back to school.”

Garcia, who intercepted six passes and averaged 11.8 as a punt returner, said that post-season all-star games were something he always thought about, and it certainly made his decision to come to Nevada instead of San Diego State a good one.

Garcia finished with 10 interceptions over the past two seasons.

“It’s probably the best decision I ever made,” Garcia said. “After I played junior college, I thought about going to San Diego State because it was close to home and my family. It just felt right here.”

Garcia, who left UCLA after one year, didn’t think coming to what people consider a mid-major hurt him in any way of making an all-star game.

“It didn’t matter,” Garcia said. “If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I’ve been told that my whole life. I’ve done everything I could do to play the best I could and improve every year. It’s worked out so far.”