Game of the Week - Fresno State @ Nevada 1:05pm PST Saturday
This Saturday the last two WAC schools who are undefeated in conference play will face off to determine who will be in the driver's seat for a WAC title. Fresno will be looking to force newly minted starting quarterback Cody Fajardo into some rookie mistakes, while Nevada will do what they can to slow down Fresno's Robbie Rouse out of the backfield. Both schools have shown various weaknesses so far, but each are coming off solid wins. Should be a good battle, as each team likely recognizes the importance of this game. The game will be broadcast on the WAC sports network and on ESPN3.
Game Preview from the Kansas City Star - Predicted Outcome: Nevada 35 Fresno State 24
Here's a look at some interesting articles each city's newspaper wrote about some of the rival team's players:
Two key pieces of advice from older brother David Carr have stuck with the younger Derek Carr to this day:
The first: Don't be an idiot. The second: Be Batman.
Awesome. The article goes on to explain how useful those pieces of advice are, aside from the humor. The first is obvious, and Derek tries to apply that the best he can on the football field. But while its best not to make dumb mistakes during a game, you also have to play superhero every once in awhile. As Derek puts it in the article, "Be the most boring person ever until the play makes you put the cape on. That's when you use your ability to try and separate yourself." Great stuff. The article also mentions Boise State's Chris Petersen giving the younger Carr praise for his abilities.
The Wolf Pack features a trio of running backs Nevada was able to recruit from Fresno's back yard, and two of them, sophomore Stephon Jefferson and true freshman Kendall Brock, are out for some revenge on Saturday. Jefferson was originally recruited by Fresno State, but according to Jefferson, "They suddenly stopped calling me – straight cold shoulder." Kendall Brock put up monster numbers at nearby Clovis West High, but was told by Pat Hill, "You're not the type of running back we're looking for; you're not the downhill kind of guy." Brock was touted as a key piece to this past recruiting class for Nevada, and has impressed the coaches enough to allow him to play as a true freshman, a rarity for a Chris Ault coached team. This is not the first time Nevada has found guys in the area around Fresno since that's where Colin Kaepernick hailed from as well, and he never took it easy on the Bulldogs when Nevada played them. Both Jefferson and Brock could see significant playing time on Saturday.
According to the blog post, Uzoma wasn't originally highly recruited, but has garnered interest lately from some Pac-12 schools. Recruiting against Oregon, as the post mentions, is not something that is an easy task for the Pack, so hopefully the promise of better playing time will keep him committed to Nevada.
Fresno State Bulldogs
I was able to tune in to most of this game, and it was a fun match up to watch. Utah State has definitely made some improvements, but has struggled to close out games this season (see: the Auburn game). Once their young QB Chuckie Keeton refines his game they might end up as the new WAC power in the years to come (not like that's saying much, of course).
Tough loss for the Warriors this past Saturday, as they fell to SJSU 28-27. The game featured a total of 12 turnovers...yikes. It's not as if Hawaii won't be able to recover from this loss, but it's not what the team wants to see after being favored to win the WAC by some.
"We're not going to have any more blocked PATs or field goals," McMackin said. "We're going to change personnel. We're going to interlock (on protection), and do some technical things that are going to help us."
Interesting tidbit of news I found in the Honolulu Star Advertiser's Warrior blog. Coach Greg McMackin currently earns $1.03 million as his base salary, but is willing to cut that to $850,000 if it means an extension.
In seeking an extension, McMackin has offered to lower his base to $850,000 a year, which would place his salary at 7.3 percent of the Warriors' revenue. UH has sought to lower the base to a high of $700,000, which would be 6 percent.
Sounds like Hawaii wants that figure to be lower. This should be something to keep an eye on, more than likely the two sides end up somewhere in the middle.
This week: New Mexico State 9:00 pm PST (Saturday)