clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

'Pack talks bowls, targets Aggies

LOGAN — The Utah State football team has the motto "A November to Remember," while the Nevada Wolf Pack's rallying cry is "Win in November to play in December."

The Aggies' November has been more like a hangover from Halloween with a 27-17 loss to Louisiana Tech and a 50-23 loss at Hawaii.

So far, Nevada's November has gone as planned. It has won two straight games — New Mexico State and Hawaii — and five of its past six. The Wolf Pack's only setback in the string was a 49-19 loss at Boise State.

With their 48-24 victory over New Mexico State last week, the Wolf Pack is now bowl-eligible and still has a shot at sharing the Western Athletic Conference title if they can beat Utah State and No. 15 Fresno State in their final two games of the season.

First things first, though. The Wolf Pack (6-3, 5-1) must beat Utah State Saturday at 1 p.m. at Romney Stadium.

"Of course we are talking bowl games and Hawaii (Sheraton Bowl) and all that stuff, but we have to keep the focus on the short term," Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "The way we get to where we want to go is the short term, and right now that is beating Utah State. That is where the focus is."

The Wolf Pack are experiencing their best conference season since 1997 when they finished 4-1 in the Big West Conference. A win over the Aggies would give Nevada its most wins since 1996, when it finished 9-3, shared the BWC and won the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Aggies (2-7, 1-5) are hoping to play the role of spoiler. They have lost five straight games and fell out of bowl and conference contention months ago, but they have the motivation to win to send 14 seniors out of their final game at Romney Stadium as winners.

"I am going to be a little sad after this last game, hopefully not too sad leaving my last one with a 'W,' " said senior offensive lineman Ryan DeQuillettes. "Last year we sent the seniors out on the right note, so I am hoping we can do that again."

In their past five wins the Wolf Pack have averaged 43 points, thanks in large part to WAC player of the week B.J. Mitchell, leading the conference in rushing at 112.2 yards per game. He's third in scoring at 7.3 (11 TDs total).

Mitchell went over a 1,000 yards last week with career-high 193 yards against New Mexico State. One week earlier at Hawaii, Mitchell rushed for what was then a career-high 150 yards. He has six games of 100 yards or more this year.

"They are confident at what they do," Utah State coach Brent Guy said.

In the 24-point win over New Mexico State last week, the Wolf Pack recorded a season-high 560 yards total offense, while holding the Aggies to just 41 yards rushing. It was the fifth time this year, Nevada has held its opponent to less than 100 yards rushing: Idaho 38; San Jose State 49; La. Tech 68; Hawaii 46 and NMSU 41.

"Defensively, they run that odd three-man front scheme where they give you lots of different looks," Guy said.

As a team, Nevada ranks in in the Top 5 in nearly every category, and lead in time of possession at 34:16 per game.

"They are not last in the league in anything, they are right in the middle in almost every category you look at," Guy said. "They are doing a lot of little things good."

Behind Rowe, the Wolf Pack is third in scoring offense (32.6); second in pass offense (267.7 yards per game) and second in total offense (444.9 yards per game).

Rowe is second in passing per game by completing 192 of 316 passes for 2,336 yards and 17 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Wide receivers Caleb Spencer leads the team in receptions with 51 for 738 yards and seven touchdowns, while Nichiren Flowers, who was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in Wednesday, is second with 47 catches for 586 yards and one touchdown. He is expected to play on Saturday.

Aggies on the air

Nevada (6-3, 5-1) at Utah State (2-7, 1-5)

Saturday, 1 p.m., Romney Stadium

TV: None Radio: 610 AM (Logan), 98.3 FM (SLC)