Spencer has a big day for Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Spencer has a big day for Nevada

RENO – Nevada wide receiver Caleb Spencer spent most of the week trying to scrounge tickets from his teammates for approximately 40 friends and family members coming over from Hawai’i to watch him play the Rainbow Warriors.

Spencer gave them a big show, catching two touchdown passes in the Pack’s 38-28 win over Hawai’i Saturday at Mackay Stadium.

It was the second time that Spencer finished with two scores, matching his performance against San Jose State last season. Spencer finished with five catches for 68 yards.

“Oh yeah (I feel good),” Spencer said after the game. “It’s a big rival game for me each year. I look forward to this game a lot.

“It was a tough week. The coaches were on us. The players rose to the occasion. We did it together as a team.”

Spencer gave the Pack an early 7-6 lead with an 11-yard reception from Jeff Rowe, but he saved his highlight-reel catch for later in the game.

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On a second-and-10 play from the Hawai’i 14, Rowe was flushed out of the pocket toward the right sideline. He launched a pass to Spencer, who made an adjustment in his route and made a leaping 1-handed catch in the end zone.

“Jeff put it right where it needed to be,” Spencer said.

Spencer was asked about the possibility of going home to play in the Hawai’i Bowl, which is distinct possibility if Nevada can get another win and finish no worse than third in the WAC.

“I’ve been praying for that actually,” Spencer said. “I’d love to have a chance to go back to Hawai’i.”

HUBBARD SHINES

Junior running back Robert Hubbard had his most-productive game in a Nevada uniform, rushing for 88 yards on 11 carries.

Hubbard carried twice for eight yards on Nevada’s first scoring drive in the second half, and his big 19-yard run on a draw play gave Nevada a first down at the Hawai’i 24, leading to another score and a 31-21 lead.

And, on the Pack’s game-closing, clock-eating final drive, he carried six times for 55 yards.

Nevada coach Chris Ault said Hubbard has been bothered by injuries all year.

“He has a strained muscle in his stomach which has gone down to his lower abdominal region,” Ault said. “He’s not 100 percent now. We have a nice tandem with him and B.J (Mitchell).”

ROTATING QUARTERBACKS

Hawai’i coach June Jones said he would give reserve quarterback Tyler Graunke some snaps during Saturday’s game, and he was true to his word.

Graunke played somewhere between four and six snaps. He complete one pass for three yards.

“I said he would get into the game,” Jones said. “We’ll do that again next week (Wisconsin) and the week after (San Diego State).”

Starter Colt Brennan didn’t seem bothered by Jones’ actions.

“I don’t think he was in there long enough for us to be diseffective,” said Brennan, who passed for 409 yards and three scores.

FACTS & FIGURES

Rowe passed for 204 yards, the eighth straight time he’s been over the 200-yard mark. Included in that is a couple of 300-yard efforts. Rowe also is over the 2,000-yard mark for the season, the second straight year he’s been able to do that … Mitchell’s career-high 150-yard effort was his fourth 100-yard game of the season. Mitchell didn’t get a carry until the Pack’s third possession of the game … Nevada held the pass-happy Rainbow Warriors to 46 yards, a season-best for the defense … Nevada is 4-1 in the WAC for the first time since 1997 when the school was in the Big West … Nevada continued the trend of winning in the odd years (2001, 2003 and 2005) and evened the series at 5-5 … When Nevada beat Hawai’i 28-20 in 2001, the Pack sacked Timmy Chang six times … For the second week in a row, Hawai’i outgained its opponent (461-440) and still lost the game … Nevada converted its only fourth-down attempt and scored on five of its six trips into the red zone … Tight end Adam Bishop had three catches for 22 yards, all on shovel passes … Tommy Haug’s 22 yards was a career high … Nevada can become bowl eligible with a win over last-place New Mexico State next Saturday.