Dec. 15, 2005
RENO, Nev. - Nevada (8-3, 7-1 WAC, T1st) will take on UCF (8-4, 7-1 C-USA) in the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 24, 3:36 p.m. HST, Aloha Stadium (50,000, FieldTurf), ESPN. It will be Nevada's sixth bowl appearance and UCF's first.
TV/RADIO: TV - ESPN (Dave Barnett, play-by-play; Craig James, color; Suzy Schuster, sidelines). Radio - CBS/Westwood One Radio (Tony Roberts, play-by-play, and Frank Corsi, color); Wolf Pack Sports Network (Dan Gustin, play-by-play and Don Marchand, color).
NEVADA UPDATE: The Pack finished the year 7-1 in league play, their best finish in their six seasons in the WAC and the top mark since the team went 8-0 in 1991 as a member of the Big Sky, their last year in I-AA. This is Nevada's first conference title since 1997 (4-1, Big West, Co-Champions) and the first bowl since the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl. Nevada is 2-3 in bowl games.
THE SERIES: The two schools have never met nor have the two head coaches, Nevada's Chris Ault and UCF's George O'Leary. HEAD COACH Chris Ault: Nevada's Chris Ault is 176-73-1 in 21 years at Nevada and owns or shares eight conference titles, including the sharing of his and the school's first WAC crown this season. He is taking the Pack to its sixth bowl game and it will be his third appearance in a bowl game. He has now won eight coach-of-the-year awards with this year's WAC accolade. He is fourth in all-time wins among active I-A coaches and sixth in winning percentage among active I-A coaches.
TRAVEL PLANS, HAWAII HEADQUARTERS: The team will depart Reno via charter Sunday morning, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m out of an America West gate and arrive about 3 p.m. in Honolulu. They will leave via charter after the game at 9 p.m. and arrive in Reno early Dec. 25. The Sheraton Moana Surfrider, 2365 Kalakaua Avenue, (808) 924-4701, will be Nevada's team headquarters. Nevada's walk-through at Aloha Stadium Friday, Dec. 23, will take place 4:30 to 6 p.m. following UCF's walk-through.
SPECIAL EVENTS IN HONOLULU: Several events are planned leading up to the game, including the following that media are invited to: Monday, Dec. 19 - Pep rally, 6 p.m., Waikiki Beach; Tuesday, Dec. 20 - Press conference, 11 am, Sheraton Waikiki.; Wednesday, Dec. 21 - Beach Party Barbeque, 6 p.m., Sheraton Waikiki; Thursday, Dec. 22 - Shriner's Hospital visit by players, 2:30 p.m., and kickoff banquet, 6 p.m. Sheraton Waikiki.
MEDIA POLICIES: All interviews should be arranged through the Nevada media services office (Jamie Klund, 775-784-6900, x263 prior to the bowl; 775-848-2590 during bowl week). Players and coaches will be available 30-minutes before practice and practices will be open for the first 30 minutes. Practices will be held in the morning at Aloha Stadium but the time will vary each day. Contact Jamie Klund for specific times each day (775-848-2590, cell). All post-game interviews will take place in the South end zone hospitality room at Aloha Stadium following the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
RELEASE INFORMATION: Releases and stats are posted on our website as text and pdf documents at www.nevadawolfpack.com.
NEVADA NATIONAL TEAM OF THE WEEK: A major national publication, SI.com, and the Football Writers's Association of America (FWAA), named Nevada their national team-of-the-week November 29 for the win over 16th-ranked Fresno State. Additionally, Nevada added two more Xbox Live WAC Players-of-the-Week to the fold with junior running back Robert Hubbard and freshman kicker Brett Jaekle being honored Monday, Nov. 29. They were the fifth and sixth players for Nevada with seven weekly awards from the WAC in football. B.J. Mitchell (Sr., RB, Loomis, Calif., twice), Craig Bailey (Sr., DE, Long Beach, Calif.), Justin Bergendahl (Sr., P, Hayward, Calif.), and Jason DeMars (Jr., LB, Sacramento) all one award each, were Nevada's other players-of-the-week.
NEVADA UPDATE: B.J. Mitchell had six 100-yard games, including three straight and in six of the last eight contests. He went over the 1,000-yard mark at New Mexico State and leads the WAC with a 111.0 per game average...The Pack blocked their first extra point in two years (last was vs. Southern Utah in the 2003 season opener), when Charles Wilson leaped up and blocked the first PAT attempt of Hawai`i and Craig Bailey blocked a field goal attempt at Utah State, his second block of the season....Nevada held Hawai`i to just 46 yards rushing, not a season-low (that was 38 by Idaho), but the fourth time the defense has held the opposition to under 100 yards and the third time under 50 yards...Nevada had a season-best 560 yards total offense at New Mexico State...The Pack is 10-2 at home the past two ...Ten different receivers caught at least one pass vs. Idaho, the most for any game this season...Craig Bailey scored his second career touchdown (he returned an interception as a freshman) with his 40-yard fumble return at New Mexico State...Nichiren Flowers' streak of 35 straight games with a catch ended at Utah State...Jason DeMars got his second start in Logan, Utah, and led the Pack with 13 tackles,the most for any Pack player this year...Nevada's win over 16th-ranked Fresno State was the first over a Top 25 team since a 31-28 win over 24th-ranked BYU in 2002...Robert Hubbard had a career-long 41-yard run and a career-best 59-yard kickoff return at Utah State...The roster is made up of 60 percent frosh or sophs and 45 percent of the two-deep is either freshmen or sophomores...Eighty-seven players will make the trip with 80 dressing for the game...It will be a homecoming for Honolulu native Caleb Spencer and assistant coach Kim McCloud, who played for the Warriors in the early 1990's.
RADIO VIA THE WEB AND TEAMLINE: You can listen to the games via the official website www.nevadawolfpack.com and going to yahoo.com and then by clicking on the audio/visual link. Nevada has aligned itself with Teamline for the fifth straight year and allows those to listen to the game from anywhere via the phone. Call 1-800-846-4700, 1116 for Nevada football. Long distance rates apply but decrease the longer one listens. All home games and most road games will have live stats via Gametracker on www.nevadawolfpack.com
WOLF PACK SPORTS NETWORK: The Wolf Pack Sports Network (WPSN) is now in its second year of existence. Encompassing radio, TV and website video streaming of Nevada football and men's basketball as well as marketing opportunities, the Wolf Pack Sports Network (WPSN) looks to televise women's basketball, baseball and athletic contests in the coming years. The network is coordinated by Nevada's assistant athletics director for marketing and promotions, Kurt Esser. Serving as the flagship station again is ESPN Radio 630 AM (KPLY) in Reno through Gustin Sports Productions. GSP President Dan Gustin, the "Voice of the Pack", will do play-by-play of all football games for the 31st season and ESPN Radio's Sports Director Don Marchand will serve as the color analyst for the Hawaii Bowl. WPSN affiliates KELK 1240 AM in Elko, Nev. , KSHP 1400 AM in Las Vegas and KFIA 710 AM in Sacramento, Calif., will also carry the bowl game and the affiliates will also carry most of the men's basketball schedule plus any post-season games. The expansion more than doubles the number of stations carrying Wolf Pack broadcasts, from two outlets to five stations, and could increase the listenership to nine million from the previous 400,000 potential listeners. KFIA reaches into the Bay Area in addition to covering Sacramento while KSHP covers Las Vegas and most of Southern Nevada. KFIA's coverage area extends from the bay area into the Sierra Nevada's where ESPN Radio coverage ends.
NEVADA ON TV: Nevada will have made 10 television appearances this year, five of them to a national or regional TV audience. The Washington State and UCF games were or will be on ESPN, UNLV was shown on ESPNU, San Jose State via ABC, and Fresno State was viewed on ESPN2.
AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED: The WAC's leading rusher, one of the nation's leaders in total offense, one of the top tacklers in the conference and the Pack's snapper for punts and kicks picked up the major awards for the Wolf Pack at the Silver Legacy Resort/Casino Sunday morning, Nov. 27, during the annual awards' brunch. Senior B.J. Mitchell (Loomis, Calif.) was named the Golden Helmet Winner as the team's MVP. Junior quarterback Jeff Rowe (Reno), senior co-captain linebacker Roosevelt Cooks (Yosemite, Calif.) and junior TE/snapper Travis Branzell (Spring Creek, Nev.) won the Outstanding Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Awards, respectively. Mitchell leads the WAC in rushing by averaging over 100 yards per game and is one of leading scorers. He had six 100-yard games this year, rushed for over 1,200 yards, and scored 10 touchdowns. Rowe passed for more than 2,500 yards and rushed for another 200 to rank among the nation's leaders in total offense as well as ranking high in the NCAA in passing efficiency. Cooks leads Nevada in tackles with more than 75 and is among the WAC leaders in that category as well as in sacks. Branzell, who is also a tight end, is the long snapper on punts to one of the WAC's top punters (Justin Bergendahl) and does the snapping for all kick placements for one of the league's top place kickers (Brett Jaekle). Striker Awards for exceptional and consistent play went to Cooks, Mitchell, Joe Garcia (Jr., CB, West Minster, Calif), Craig Bailey (Sr., DE, Long Beach, Calif.), Tony Moll (Sr., OT, Sonoma, Calif.); Barrett Reznick (Jr., OG, (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Robert Hubbard (Jr., RB, Emeryville, Calif.); and Anthony Pudewell (Jr., TE, Eldorado Hills, Calif.). The Fireman Award for versatility went to Moll, a converted tight end who became one of the top offensive linemen in the conference. He was also one of five Basalite Big Blocker Award winners, joining Dominic Green (Fr., C, Sacramento), Adam Kiefer (Sr., OT, Danville, Calif.;), and Anthony Pudewell (Jr., TE, Eldorado Hills, Calif.) as one-game winners and were joined by three-game winner Barrett Reznick (Jr., OG, Scottsdale, Ariz.). Cooks also picked up the Blackout Award for the biggest hits and Dwayne Sanders (Fr., WR, Carson, Calif.) and Matt Swan (Sr., DT, Danville, Calif.) earned the Scout Team Full-Speed, Effort and Habit Awards for offense and defense, respectively. Kiefer was also awarded the Nevadatude Award for positive attitude and ability.
ROWE RACKING UP YARDS: Jeff Rowe went over 2,000 yards for the second straight year and has had at least 200 yards in all but two games this year with two of them 300-yard outings. He is now eighth on the all-time list with 5,512 yards. He is also among the NCAA leaders in total offense (2,646 yards, 21st).
ATTENDANCE: Nevada drew 90,458 for the six home games in 2005, a 15,076 per game average and meeting the NCAA I-A actual (gate count) attendance requirement in the first year of that new stipulation. In 2004, Nevada drew 55,650 (gate count) for a 9,275 average per game. The 2005 figures represent a 62 percent increase in attendance from last year.
ACTIVE PLAYERS MOVING UP CAREER CHARTS AT NEVADA:
Career Touchdown Passes 1. Eric Beavers 78 8. Larry Worman 40 9. Jeff Rowe 36
Career Punting Average 1. Armando Avina 43.8 5. Justin Bergendahl 40.0
2005 ONE-SEASON RANKINGS AT NEVADA:
Rushing Touchdowns: T10. Mitchell 10
Passing Attempts: 7. Jeff Rowe 357
Pass Completions: 8. Jeff Rowe 219
Passing Yards: 10. Jeff Rowe 2,671
Total Offense: 8. Jeff Rowe 2,850
Kickoff Return Average: 8. Robert Hubbard 24.7
PAT's: T10. Brett Jaekle 43 of 46
NEVADA IN WAC STATS: The Pack rank first in time of possession (33:26). Nevada is second in rushing offense (184.1), fewest penalties (47.5), total offense (433.5), in rushing defense (131.0), and third down conversions (47.9). The Pack is third in scoring offense (32.8), field goal percentage (.800), passing efficiency (134.6), turnover margin (.09), opponent third down conversions (35.4), fourth down conversions (53.3) and first downs (271). They are fourth in scoring defense (30.5), pass effic. defense (134.6), total defense (397.5), and sacks by (167).
INDIVIDUALS AMONG WAC LEADERS: Nevada has two players atop the WAC leaders: B.J. Mitchell in rushing (111.0) and Joe Garcia in interceptions ).36) with four in 11 games. Justin Bergendahl is fourth in punting (41.1) and Brett Jaekle is second in field goal percentage (.800) while Jeff Rowe is third in total offense (259.1) and Kevin Stanley is second in passes defended (1.45 p/game). Joe Garcia is tied for third in passes defended (1.36) and Roosevelt Cooks is seventh in sacks (.50) while Ezra Butler is fourth in tackles for loss (1.32). Craig Bailey is tied for seventh in fumbles recovered (.18) and Cooks is 13th in tackles with 5.5 an outing. Mitchell is third in all-purpose yardage (113.4), Stanley is fourth in punt returns (10.0), Caleb Spencer is fourth in receiving yards (77.0) and sixth in catches (5.6) while Nichiren Flowers is seventh in catches (4.45) and 10th in receiving yardage (55.5) and Robert Hubbard is eighth in rushing (53.9). Rowe is third in passing efficiency (137.6), Mitchell is tied for eighth in scoring (6.0), and Brett Jaekle is second in kick scoring (7.2) and in field goal percentage (.800), third in scoring (7.2), in field goals (1.1) and in PAT's (93.5).
WAC LEADERS: B.J. Mitchell leads (tie) with six 100-yard games this year and Jeff Rowe (2) and Caleb Spencer (3) are fifth in number of 300-yard passing and 100-yard receiving games this year, respectively. In one-game superlatives, Mitchell has the second-highest rushing total (193), Justin Bergendahl has the second-longest punt (70), Spencer has the fourth-most catches (12) and the ninth-best receiving yardage (144) total. As a team, Nevada has the second-most points (62) in a game, the fourth-best total offense mark (560), and the fourth and fifth-best rushing totals (289, 265).
NEVADA IN NCAA STATS: Stanley is third in passes defended and Garcia is sixth, Mitchell is 16th in rushing and Rowe is 25th in total offense, Bergendahl is 42nd in punting, Spencer is 39th in receptions and 46th in receiving yards, Butler is 36th in tackles-for-loss, Rowe is 35th in passing efficiency, and Stanley is 40th in punt returns.
STRIKER AWARDS: The most prestigious awards given by the coaching staff are the striker awards, which go to players who score consistently high in all areas graded by the coaching staff. Offensive tackle Tony Moll and running back B.J. Mitchell earned the coveted silver stripes for their helmets after the eighth game (vs. Hawaii). Joe Garcia (Jr., CB, West Minster, Calif), Craig Bailey (Sr., DE, Long Beach, Calif.), Tony Moll (Sr., OT, Sonoma, Calif.); Barrett Reznick (Jr., OG, (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Robert Hubbard (Jr., RB, Emeryville, Calif.); and Anthony Pudewell (Jr., TE, Eldorado Hills, Calif.) earned the awards over the last three games of the season. John Tennert won the lone Striker Award last season at the awards' banquet. Tormey and his staff did not give out the award and there were no winners in 1999 or 1998. The last one awarded prior to Tennert was Mike Edwards in 1997.
AULT MOVING UP LIST: Chris Ault is sixth among active Division I-A coaches in winning percentage (.706) and fourth among active I-A in victories with 176. He is now 176-73-1 in 21 years, all at Nevada. He trails Bobby Bowden (359), Joe Paterno (353) and Frank Beamer (187) in wins and Philip Fulmer, Steve Spurrier, Bowden, Lloyd Carr, and Paterno in winning percentage among active I-A coaches.
NEVADA INJURIES: Four former starters were lost for the season due to injury, three of them before the season began: Junior cornerback Paul Pratt (right knee), senior outside linebacker J.J. Milan (right foot) and senior center Kyle Gosselin (right shoulder). The fourth, safety Nick Hawthrone, tore his ACL against Louisiana Tech. Gosselin missed last year with a foot injury. Pratt, who hasn't used a red-shirt season yet, will have two years of eligibility remaining. Milan started the second half of his true freshman season and has been a mainstay ever since. He will have one year of eligibility remaining. Nick Hawthrone, a junior strong safety, was lost during the Louisiana Tech game with a torn ACL. Three additional players, all red-shirt freshmen, were lost for the year during fall camp in Luke Lippincott, a running back, who tore his ACL in September, safety Matt Virden (ACL) and cornerback Luke Rippee. Starting center Jimmy Wadhams tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) during the San Jose State game but still played. He will not require surgery, began non-contact drills November 7 and will be available for the bowl game.
NEVADA'S WAC PLAYERS-OF-THE-WEEK: Nevada added two more Xbox Live WAC Players-of-the-Week to the fold with running back Robert Hubbard and kicker Brett Jaekle being honored Monday, Nov. 28. Hubbard (Jr., RB, Emeryville, Calif.) and Jaekle (R-Fr., PK, Las Vegas) were named Offensive and Special Teams Players-of-the-Week, respectively, by the WAC for their efforts in the Pack's win over 16th-ranked Fresno State. They are the fifth and sixth players for Nevada with seven weekly awards from the WAC in football. B.J. Mitchell (Sr., RB, Loomis, Calif., twice), Craig Bailey (Sr., DE, Long Beach, Calif.), Justin Bergendahl (Sr., P, Hayward, Calif.), and Jason DeMars (Jr., LB, Sacramento) all one award each, were Nevada's other POW's.
WAC BOWL ARRANGEMENTS: The WAC has tie-ins with two bowls, including the MPC Computers Bowl (Boise, Idaho, Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN and the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii`i (Dec. 24, 5:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN. Boston College of the ACC will play Boise State in the MPC Computers Bowl at Bronco Stadium and UCF of Conference USA will meet Nevada in the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Fresno State will face Tulsa of Conference USA in the Autozone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31, 10:00 a.m. PT on ESPN.
HUBBARD SHINES: Junior running back Robert Hubbard rushed for a career-best 146 yards against Fresno State, the seventh time this season a runner has topped the century mark (B.J. Mitchell accomplished it six times). Hubbard gained 447 yards on the grounds and had 776 all-purpose yards.
NEVADA SECOND IN NOT BEING SHUTOUT: Current streaks of not being shutout by I-A schools shows the Wolf Pack at No. 2. As a I-A school, Nevada doesn't make the top 10 but can claim 161 consecutive games without being shutout (the other 142 games came as a I-AA member). Nevada was last shutout Sept. 27, 1980 at Weber State, 10-0. Here is the top 10 list:
Team Games Since Last Shutout 1. Brigham Young 373 9/27/1975-11/15/2003 2. Nevada 303 (includes I-AA prior to 1992) 3. Texas 293 11/29/1980-10/02/2004 4. Washington 283 11/14/1981-10/16/2004 5. Michigan 263 10/27/1984 to present 6. UCLA 257 10/02/1971-10/17/1992 7. Washington State 250 10/22/1984 to present 8. Nebraska 245 1/01/1974 - 11/29/1991 9. Oregon 243 10/05/1985 to present 10. Florida State 222 9/10/1988 to present
HEAD COACH Chris Ault: Promises made, promises kept. When he took over the program for the third time in December 2003, Chris Ault said he would take back Mackay Stadium, compete for and win conference championships, and earn bowl bids. Nevada has gone 10-2 at home the past two years, shared a conference title in 2005 with a 7-1 mark, and secured a bowl bid with the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl in going 8-3 this season. Ault directed the Pack to an inspiring victory over then16th-ranked Fresno State to grab a share of the WAC title. It was Nevada's first WAC title and Ault's eighth conference crown. For his efforts, he was named 2005 WAC Coach-of-the-Year by his peers, his eighth coach of the year accolade. He also helped the Pack earn 10 individual all-conference honors, the second-most by any WAC member in 2005, including Offensive Player-of-the-Year B.J. Mitchell. Ault has the fourth-most victories (176) and the sixth-highest winning percentage (.706) among active coaches in Division I-A. In 21 years as head coach, he has amassed a 176-73-1 ledger, won eight conference championships and gone on to the post-season nine times. As Nevada's winningest coach, he has the distinction of being the first coach to guide a team to a bowl berth in its first year as an NCAA I-A program. Ault guided the Pack in 1992 to a Big West Conference championship and a berth in the inaugural Las Vegas Bowl. On December 3, 2003, President John Lilley appointed Ault as head football coach, and Ault relinquished his athletics director duties he held for nearly 19 years. He engineered the greatest comeback in NCAA history (35 points vs. Weber St. in 1991) and has directed 26 second half come-from-behind victories. Ault was first hired in 1976 to resurrect a once proud football program. Over the next 17 years in his first tour of duty, he guided the program from a non-conference, NCAA II affiliation into the Big Sky Conference and I-AA domination to I-A distinction in the Big West and a bowl berth in their first year at college football's highest level. After a one-year hiatus from football in1993 and serving only as athletics director following a stint of nine years in which he held both jobs, he returned to the sidelines for the 1994 and 1995 seasons. He promptly won back-to-back Big West Conference titles and made a second appearance in a bowl with the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl before stepping aside again. That success on the field was culminated in the summer of 2002 when he was inducted into the College Football Hall-of-Fame in South Bend, Ind. At age 55 when he was enshrined, Ault was one of the youngest coaches to ever be elected to the hall-of-fame and the only Nevada coach so honored. He is the only active coach in country who is in the College Football Hall-of-Fame. Ault's association with the University dates to 1965 when the San Bernardino, Calif., native came here as a quarterback. Four decades later, he has left his mark in the records book as a player, coach and adminis-trator. Voted Northern Nevada Coach-of-the-Century in 1999 by the Reno-Gazette Journal, a year earlier he was named Nevada's Football Coach-of-the-Century as part of the 100 years of Wolf Pack football celebration. Among his many coaching honors are being included in Sports Illustrated's list of the 50 greatest sports figures of the 20th century from the state of Nevada in 1999 and being elected into four halls-of-fame: UNLV's as part of the 1974 undefeated team, serving as an assistant coach (1991); the University of Nevada's as head football coach (1993), Pacific High School's as a prep standout athlete, San Bernardino, Calif. (1997); and the creme-de-la-creme, the College Football Hall-of-Fame as a head football coach (2002). His attention to detail and fierce competitiveness led the University administration to name him athletics director in addition to his head coaching duties in the summer of 1986. He held just the athletics director title from 1996 through 2004. Nevada's unprecedented growth under Ault as athletics director resulted in more than $60 million raised from various sources for athletics facilities improvements and additions.Ault received his bachelor's in Education from Nevada in 1968 and earned his master's in Administration in 1971. He is also a member of the national honor fraternity, Phi Kappa Phi. He was instrumental in Nevada earning the No. 1 ranking in the Kennedy Index for 2003-04 year with his attention to Title IX requirements during his tenure as athletics director. Ault has been married to Kathy for 39 years. They have three children, all o attended Nevada - Lisa, Chris Jr., and Amy -- as well as eight grandchildren.
PACK ALL-CONFERENCE AWARDS: Ten players earned all-conference honors, including five first teamers, led by WAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year B.J. Mitchell. Nine other players earned all-conference honors, four more on the first team and five on the second team. Joining Mitchell on the first squad were Bergendahl, Spencer, OT Tony Moll, and DB Joe Garcia. Second team accolades went to Bailey, OG Barrett Reznick, TE Anthony Pudewell, LB Roosevelt Cooks and QB Jeff Rowe. In addition, head coach Chris Ault won the Coach-of-the-Year Award.
NEVADA DEPTH CHART
LSnap 82 - Travis Branzell, 6-4, 240, Jr.-2V-RS
SSnap 82 - Travis Branzell, 6-4, 240, Jr.-2V-RS
Hold 12 - Travis Moore, 6-2, 215, Jr.-2V-RS
Roosevelt Cooks will lead the Pack at the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl December 24.