BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
Nevada’s Dwayne Sanders, slowed by an injury during fall camp, made his first big contribution on Saturday.
Sanders, who was converted to running back from wide receiver late last year and converted back to wide receiver three weeks ago, returned three kickoffs for 100 yards and was named the Western Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
Sanders’ 45-yard return in the fourth quarter gave Nevada great field position at the 49-yard-line, and the Pack subsequently went on to get a Brett Jaekle field goal from 30 yards out to tie the game at 13.
It is the first-ever honor for Sanders, and it’s the 33rd time a Nevada athlete has been honored since 2000.
“That (the award) is quite a compliment,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “He did a real nice job. He had a crease on one where he could have taken it farther.”
On a different note, Nevada corrected its final statistics, so Mike McCoy officially finished with two catches for 103 yards instead of three catches for 97 yards. A 6-yard loss – later credited to tight end Adam Bishop -was originally given to McCoy.
Bishop finished with four catches for 72 yards.
Sunday’s Boise State-New Mexico State game in Boise will be the first of seven conference games that will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2.
“The seven conference games is the most conference games we’ve ever had on ESPN,” WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. “Over the next eight weeks, we’ll be on six times.
“Certainly I’d prefer that all games be televised at 1 p.m. local time on Saturday afternoon. We’re in a situation where we have to accept the windows that are there.”
Boise State is playing two Sunday home games – against NMSU and on Oct. 14 against Nevada. For moving the games, Benson said the Broncos received an extra $100,000 for each game.
Benson said the ratings were good for the BSU-NMSU game last year. He also said the conference is “sensitive to church organizations.”
The commissioner also pointed out that the WAC has many events on Sundays, including golf, soccer and tennis.
“Even college basketball (around the country) plays regularly on Sundays,” Benson said.
Simply put, it’s a matter of accepting change. There is a college football game being played four or five days a week. The lure of the TV money is too great to pass up for the schools.
TECH STICKS WITH CHAMPION
Despite the fact that Louisiana Tech failed to score a touchdown against Fresno State in a 17-6 loss, head coach Derek Dooley is sticking with Zac Champion as his starting quarterback.
Champion completed 22-of-48 passes for 179 yards and was sacked six times.
“Zac is still the quarterback,” Dooley said. “Certainly he didn’t play as well as we would have liked. He goes in spurts. He makes good decisions and good throws and then makes bad decisions.
“I put Mike (back-up Mosley) in for a little bit to see if he could give us a spark.”
Dooley said that Mosley will probably play some against Mississippi this weekend.
PLENTY OF WOES AT SJSU
Plenty has gone wrong at San Jose State in the early going, as the Spartans lost top running backs Yonus Davis (ankle sprain) and Pat Perry (knee, out for season).
Those two injuries plus a young offensive line has crippled the run game. San Jose State has averaged 51.6 yards per game on the ground.
Coach Dick Tomey said Davis has tried, without success, to go full speed in practice each of the last two weeks. It has made the Spartans a one-dimensional team, and Tomey knows that is a recipe for disaster and not success.
And, to make matters worse, kicker Jared Strubeck is having one of those seasons kickers have nightmares about.
Strubeck is 2-for-7 thus far with a long of 31 yards. A year ago, he went 9-for-12.
“Kickers all go through a rough patch,” Tomey said. “He’s thinking too much. I may make the position competitive this week. We have a young man, Will Johnson, that has done an outstanding job (in practice).”
Chase Holbrook, New Mexico State’s starting quarterback, had a bittersweet weekend.
The Aggies edged Division 1-AA Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 20-17, on a last-second field goal, but Holbrook was injured after taking a hard hit.
Aggies coach Hal Mumme said he didn’t know Holbrook’s status for this week, nor that of receivers A.J. Harris and Nick Cleaver.
Holbrook made history once again this past week, when he broke the Aggies’ all-time record for career completions. Holbrook completed 31 passes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and now has 563 completions for his career. He broke Cody Ledbetter’s record of 556 completions, one that stood for over 12 years.
Boise State’s Rashaun Scott is one of the most exciting return men in the conference.
He averaged 36.5 yards per return a couple of weeks ago to win POW honors, and he was just as good against Southern Mississippi last Thursday. Scott returned four kickoffs for 97 yards, including a 45-yarder that set up a Broncos touchdown.
“He’s a great kid,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “He gives us his heart and soul. He’s physically tough. He was a track guy in high school. It’s nice to see him have some success.”
Idaho redshirt freshman Nathan Enderlee is the youngest starting quarterback in the conference, and with that comes growing pains.
The Vandals are 1-4, and Enderlee has been as inconsistent as the rest of the team. He has completed 82-of-179 passes for 1,050 yards and four touchdowns. He has thrown 12 interceptions.
“Nathan Enderlee is going to be a great quarterback,” Idaho coach Robb Akey said. “I have all the respect in the world. He’s very hard on himself. I’m not disappointed in him. I like what he’s going to do this season and in the future.”
Tomey, whose Spartans host Idaho this week, knows all about bringing along young quarterbacks.
“Look no further than Adam Tafralis a couple of years ago,” Tomey said. “He was nowhere near where Enderlee is (now). Certainly he has a bright future.”
OTHER AWARD WINNERS
Boise State’s Ian Johnson and Hawaii’s Myron Newberry were the other weekly award winners.
Johnson, a Heisman Trophy candidate, carried 22 times for 111 yards and three scores in the 38-16 win over Southern Mississippi. He also caught three passes for a career-high 80 yards, giving him 191 all-purpose yards for the contest.
Newberry collected six tackles and two interceptions in the Warriors’ easy win over Idaho. He returned one of the interceptions he 76 yards for a touchdown.
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281