Top 40: QBs who faced Nevada Wolf Pack and went on to NFL, Part 3
The Nevada Wolf Pack football program has spent the bulk of its history toiling in obscurity but that doesn’t mean it has avoided playing future National Football League quarterbacks – 40, to be exact.
The Pack has a long – sometimes painful – history against future NFL quarterbacks, including one whose bust is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In part three of the four-part series, a look at numbers 11-20.
20. Jamie Martin, Weber State
MARTIN VS. PACK: Martin fell victim to one of the greatest miracles in college football history. Ahead 49-14 in the third quarterback at Mackay Stadium on Nov. 2, 1991, Martin and Weber State eventually lost to Chris Vargas and the Pack, 55-49. Martin, though, did complete 33-of-52 passes that day for 411 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Martin would play four games against the Pack in his career against Vargas and Fred Gatlin, winning the final one, 23-21 at Mackay on Oct. 31, 1992 in the miracle rematch. He was 16-of-35 that day for 208 yards and two scores. Martin was also 9-of-11 for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 47-15 loss to the Pack in Reno on Oct. 21, 1989 and was 18-of-36 for 238 yards and a touchdown in a 28-7 loss to the Pack on Oct. 27, 1990 in Ogden, Utah.
MARTIN IN NFL: Vargas got the miracle. Martin got the NFL career. Martin enjoyed a long career (1996-07) as a backup for the St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints. He appeared in 53 games and passed for 3,814 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also started eight games and was 4-4.
19. Billy Volek, Fresno State
VOLEK VS. PACK: Volek lost to the Pack and freshman quarterback David Neill (his first start) on Sept. 26, 1998 in Fresno, 27-24. He was just 13-of-30 for 196 yards. Mack Carminer picked off one of his passes and returned it for a 66-yard touchdown. The following year, on Sept. 25, 1999, Volek was 16-of-23 for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-24 Fresno win at Mackay Stadium.
VOLEK IN NFL: Volek was not drafted in 2000 though he did play in 39 NFL games with the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers, passing for 3,754 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also started 10 games and won three of them.
18. Taysom Hill, BYU
HILL VS. PACK: Hill was 14-of-18 for 98 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 154 yards and a touchdown in a 28-23 BYU win at Mackay Stadium on Nov. 30, 2013. Pack QB Cody Fajardo was 23-of-33 for 259 yards and a TD.
HILL IN NFL: Hill, the New Orleans Saints backup to Drew Brees, has appeared in 37 games since 2017 despite going undrafted. He has run for 352 yards and three touchdowns, completed 6-of-13 passes for 119 yards and caught 22 passes for 238 yards and six TDs.
17. Kyle Allen, Texas A&M
ALLEN VS. PACK: Allen, who played his final two college seasons at Houston, completed 18-of-31 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-27 victory over the Pack in front of 102,591 fans at Texas A&M on Sept. 18, 2015. He also ran for 55 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
ALLEN IN NFL: The Carolina Panthers signed Allen as a free agent in 2018 and Allen eventually won the team’s starting job over an injured Cam Newton. Allen has played 15 games in the NFL with 13 starts, compiling a 6-7 record. He has passed for 3,588 yards and 19 touchdowns and was recently traded to the Washington Redskins.
16. Kellen Clemens, Oregon
CLEMENS VS. PACK: It seems like each time the Pack faces Oregon it also has to deal with a future NFL quarterback. That was certainly the case on Sept. 6, 2003 when Clemens completed 10-of-24 passes for 154 yards in a 31-23 win at Eugene, Ore. Pack defensive lineman Jorge Cordova sacked Clemens twice.
CLEMENS IN NFL: Clemens was picked by the New York Jets in the second round in 2006. Clemens has played in 64 games in the NFL (2006-17) for the Jets, San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. He has started 21 games with an 8-13 record and has passed for 4,053 yards and 16 touchdowns.
15. A.J. Feeley, Oregon
FEELEY VS. PACK: Feeley completed just one of four passes for Oregon on Sept. 2, 2000 in a 36-7 win over the Pack in Eugene. He came on in relief of Joey Harrington, another future NFL quarterback.
FEELEY IN NFL: Feeley was picked in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001. He played 11 seasons (2001-11) with Philadelphia, Miami and the St. Louis Rams, appearing in 28 games. Feeley did make 18 starts and won eight. He passed for 4,618 yards and 28 touchdowns.
14. John Friesz, Idaho
FRIESZ VS. PACK: Friesz, one of the greatest quarterbacks in Big Sky Conference history, never lost to the Wolf Pack in three games. He shredded the Pack for 363 yards and five touchdowns, completing 35-of-51 passes in a 38-28 win at Idaho on Oct. 10, 1987. Friesz then completed 25-of-41 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown in a 32-31 Idaho win on Nov. 5, 1988 at Mackay Stadium, overcoming a 31-13 Pack lead. Friesz then capped his career against the Pack with 446 yards and a touchdown (32-of-51) in a 42-22 win at Idaho in the Kibbie Dome on Oct. 28, 1989.
FRIESZ IN NFL: Friesz, drafted in the sixth round in 1990 by the San Diego Chargers, played from 1990-2000 for four teams (Chargers, Washington, Seattle, New England). He passed for 8,699 yards and 45 touchdowns and even started 38 games with a record of 13-25.
13. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
GABBERT VS. PACK: Gabbert came to Mackay Stadium on Sept. 25, 2009 and beat Colin Kaepernick and the Pack 31-21 in front of 18,269 fans. Gabbert was 25-of-40 against the Pack for 414 yards and three TDs without an interception.
GABBERT IN NFL: Gabbert, a first-round pick in 2010 by Jacksonville, has played eight seasons (2011-18) with 56 appearances. He has started 48 games for four teams (Jacksonville, San Francisco, Arizona, Tennessee) with a record of 13-35. Gabbert has passed for 9,063 yards and 48 touchdowns and has rushed for 631 yards and three touchdowns.
12. Jim Finks, Tulsa
FINKS VS. PACK: Finks lost to the Wolf Pack twice (1947 and 1948) largely because he had to go up against Pack quarterback Stan Heath. Finks completed 11-of-19 passes for 98 yards in a 21-13 loss to the Pack on Oct. 25, 1947 at old Mackay Stadium. Heath was 10-of-16 for 136 yards and benefited from a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Tommy Kalmanir. Finks was 18-of-42 for 199 yards and two interceptions in a 65-14 loss to the Pack in Tulsa on Oct. 23, 1948. Heath, who played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and was a first-round pick in 1949, was 22-of-32 for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
FINKS IN NFL: Finks would go on to greater fame as a general manager for the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears in the 1960s and 70s. But he also had a solid NFL career on the field, playing in 79 games with 47 starts with a record of 18-27 for bad Pittsburgh Steelers teams. Finks passed for 8,672 yards and 55 touchdowns and led the NFL in completions (165), attempts (344) and yards (2,270) in 1955 and in touchdowns (20) in 1952 when he was named to the Pro Bowl. In 1955 he was one of the quarterbacks that convinced the Steelers to release a rookie named Johnny Unitas.
11. Joey Harrington, Oregon
HARRINGTON VS. PACK: Harrington was just 10-of-22 for 151 yards and an interception in a 36-7 Oregon win over the Pack on Sept. 2, 2000. He did, however, have a 1-yard touchdown run for a 22-7 lead.
HARRINGTON IN NFL: Harrington enjoyed a commendable career after being taken with the No. 3 overall pick in 2002 by the Detroit Lions. Harrington lasted six seasons with Detroit, Miami and Atlanta and threw for 14,693 yards and 79 touchdowns. He played in 81 games and made 76 starts, going 26-50.