Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on October 30, 1987 · Page 27
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 27

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Reno, Nevada
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Friday, October 30, 1987
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Page 27
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Friday, October 30. 1987 OD Reno Gazette-Journal ,J 1J Big Sky Conference football f down Weber turns Sky race u pside Injury derails promising career of ex-Nevada star Ijlliupj.ii ju iiwiiw.i JJillHMIMJiJWIIHIIJIIIIllMBMMBWBlW . . 1 s '.;"' ' '""1 . 1 ' H . u ft 4-, ' f s rJt - r V & - -.-w v ' y - i . 'o r-, . --"W v.v f v f-.A '-i t .H -t ..;-..; y-'j :t -y, . - , 'f ' y.vl . l" ' . , : . :, ... ..,v t. . . . - 1. - . ."..,t.U..-) , . 1 . .-. . -. . .1 U U- .- ! Special to the Gazette-Journal SKY'S TOP PASSER: Quarterback Greg Wyatt (10) has led leads the conference in passing efficiency. He has passed for Northern Arizona, picked to contend for the Big Sky Confer- 17 touchdowns and 2,021 yards. Northern Arizona has lost to ence title in a preseason poll, to a 3-2 league record. Wyatt Weber State and Idaho, who meet this Saturday. I By Paul BaumanGazette-Journal If you had said in August that the University of Nevada-Reno football team would lose four games in five weeks this season, you'd have been hauled off to the funny farm. If you also had said that Weber State would lead the Big Sky Conference standings eight weeks into the season, you'd have been placed in a straightjacket. But that is exactly what has happened in a wild Big Sky race. In the Big Sky's annual preseason poll, eight of nine head coaches and 25 of 26 reporters picked defending champion UNR to win the league title. Coaches were not allowed to pick their own team. Both the coaches and media picked Weber State seventh. Instead, Weber State finds itself in first place at 4-0 in the Big Sky and 6-1 overall, and UNR is struggling at 2-2 and 3-4. The Wildcats are the only Big Sky team since 1975 that has not won the league title. Several of the game results in the Big Sky this season seem to defy logic. UNR, 2-0 and winner of 20 straight regular-season games, loses at 0-2 Montana. Weber State allows 44 points and beats Boise State, breaking a seven-game losing streak to the Broncos at Ogden, Utah. Weber State scores 55 points, the most ever against Boise State. Idaho State, 0-3, knocks off Idaho, 3-1, at Pocatello. Three weeks later, Idaho State, 1-4-1, defeats Boise State, 4-2, at Boise for only the second time in 10 games. "There is not a dominant team in the conference," said UNR head coach Chris Ault. "I don't care if Weber does go undefeated. It's been an interesting year." Weber State has scored only 6.7 more points per game than it has allowed, 33.1 to 26.4. In the past two weeks, the Wildcats have registered three-point victories at Montana and Montana State. Weber State coach Mike . Price described the Big Sky season as "exciting. It's great for Idaho State to win the Gem State Trophy (symbolic of the collegiate football championship of the state of Idaho). They were struggling and then beat Idaho and Boise State. "It's great for our school. This is the first time in 22 years for us to be 6-1. The only schools it has not been a positive experience for are Montana State (0-5 in the Big Sky and 1-7 overall) and Reno." The Big Sky can be divided into four groups at this point: the contenders, the long shots, the virtually eliminated and Montana State. The contenders are Weber State, ranked seventh in NCAA Division I-AA, and 12th-ranked Idaho, 4-1 in the Big Sky and 6-2 overall. They will meet Saturday at Ogden in a game that could determine the champion. The long shots, all with two league losses, are 19th-ranked Northern Arizona (3-2, 5-2), Idaho State (2-2, 2-4-1) and UNR. Virtually eliminated with three league losses are Boise State (2-3, 4-3), Eastern Washington (2-3, 4-4) and Montana (2-3, 3-4). Montana State is out of the race. A Weber State victory over Idaho would give the Wildcats a two-game lead over the rest of the league with three games to play. That probably would lock up the title. Weber State figures to beat Eastern Washington at Ogden, but its last two games, at UNR and Idaho State, are another matter. Weber State is 0-4 at Mackay Stadium and 2-5 in its last seven games at Idaho State. Weber State and Idaho State, only 90 miles apart on Interstate 15, are rivals. An Idaho victory over Weber State would put the Vandals in commanding position. Idaho then could win the league title with victories over Montana State at Bozeman, Mont., and Boise State at Moscow, Idaho not an unreasonable task. Idaho should be able to beat Montana State on the road. Then the Vandals have two weeks to prepare for rival Boise State. Idaho has a five-game winning streak Big Sky standings UNR BIG SKY STANDINGS Conference Total Defense P Yds Avg TD 7 463 2140 4.6 G No. Ariz. NevReno Weber St. E. Wash. Boise St. Idaho Montana Mont. St. Idaho St. AHCames LTPtsOP 1 0 232 185 2 0 233 201 2 0 263 160 4 0 1 88 168 4 1 193 256 3 0 216 141 4 0 170 194 4 0 157 152 7 0 183 339 7 483 2379 4.9 W L T Pts OP W 4 0 0 149 119 6 4 1 0 167 144 i 3 2 0 164 137 5 7 512 2543 5.0 8 615 2980 4.8 7 512 2746 5.4 Weber Idaho N. Ariz. 8 606 3190 5.3 7 552 2836 5.1 8 546 3666 6.7 UNR 2 2 0 121 118 IdahoSt. 2 2 0 102 129 Boise St. 2 3 0 152 128 E. Wash. 2 3 0 139 153 Mont. 2 3 0 121 116 Mont.St. 0 5 0 109 187 7 577 3434 6.0 Punt Returns 5 No Yds TD NevReno No. Ariz. E. Wash. Mont. St. 7 22 183 7 23 179 8 26 194 8 13 85 BIG SKY LEADERS Total Offense G No. Aril. Boise St. Idaho Weber St. NevReno Montana Idaho St. Mont. St. E. Wash. P Yds Avg TO YdsPG 7 538 3300 6.1 7 529 3145 5 9 8 611 3498 5.7 32 471.4 27 449.2 27 437.2 29 430.8 21 413.7 20 373.0 UNR STATISTICS (Seven Games) SCORE BY QUARTERS UNR ..6 55 57 - 188 ( Opp. 34 37 46 51 - 148 ( 7 540 3016 5.6 7 520 2896 5.6 7 504 2611 5.2 7 468 2581 5.5 I 586 2564 4.4 8 552 2294 4.2 20 368 7 19 320.5 20 286.7 11,1 t f . Remaining schedules WEBER STATE (4-0, 6- 1) Idaho, Eastern Washington, at UNR, at Idaho State. IDAHO (4-1, 6-2) At Weber State, at Montana State, Boise State. NORTHERN ARIZONA (3-2, 5-2) At Eastern Washington, at Tulsa, at Boise State, UNR. UNR (2-2, 3-4) Idaho State, Boise State, Weber State, at Northern Arizona. IDAHO STATE (2-2, 2-4-1) At UNR, at Montana, Montana State, Weber State. BOISE STATE (2-3, 4- 3) Utah, at UNR, Northern Arizona, at Idaho. EASTERN WASHINGTON (2- 3, 4-4) Northern Arizona, at Weber State, Montana. MONTANA (2-3, 3-4) At Montana State, Idaho State, at Eastern Washington, at Cal State-Fullerton. MONTANA STATE (0-5, 1-7) Montana, Idaho, at Idaho State. each finish with at least two losses, an unlikely scenario. In the event of a two-way tie for first place, the winner of the head-to-head meeting would be declared the champion. A three-way tie would be broken by the record of each team against the other two. If it's still a tie, the team with the best overall record would be the champion. If it's still a tie, the last representative in post-season play would be eliminated, and the winner of the head-to-head meeting between the two remaining teams would be the champion. Got it? "The last thing on my mind is the title," Ault said. "The true, hard fact is we have to take care of ourselves. Whatever happens, happens." Three years ago, Idaho State football coach Jim Koetter compared quarterback Gino Mariani to past Bengal greats Mike Machurek, Paul Peterson and Vern Harris. But when Idaho State plays the University of Nevada-Reno Saturday at Mackay Stadium, Mariani will be the Bengals' third-string quarterback behind two freshmen, yet. It isn't Mariani's fault. A hereditary shoulder problem has derailed his once-promising career. "I could have broken a lot of good records here," said Mariani, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior and former star at Carson and White Pine high schools. "But that's ancient history now." As Idaho State's starting quarterback for IV2 years, Mariani completed 287 of 562 passes (51.1 percent) for 3,581 yards and 24 touchdowns entering the 1987 season. Mariani has thrown only 43 passes this season while playing behind redshirt freshman JasonWhitmer and true freshman Greg Brown. He has completed 19 (44.2 percent) for 203 yards and two TDs. Mariani, also Idaho State's punter, said his right (throwing) shoulder is "quite sore, to be honest. It's a day-to-day thing. If I can throw, I do. If I can't, I lay off until game time." Mariani has a defect in his shoulders that makes him susceptible to dislocations. Last year, he estimated he had partially separated his right shoulder seven times and his left one three times. "You can add seven or eight more to my right shoulder," Mariani said. "I did it quite a bit during the summer playing Softball and lifting (weights). I haven't done it again to my left shoulder." The latest injury occurred during preseason football practice. "I dove for a fumble," Mariani said. "I had the ball under my arm, a defensive lineman put his helmet on my shoulder, and it dislocated once again." So much for the starting quarterback job. Whitmer started Idaho State's season opener against Texas A & I but suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. Mariani came in and completed five of eight passes for 58 yards and a touchdown as Idaho State lost, 52-51. Mariani started the following week in a 44-14 loss at Eastern Washington. He completed 14 of 35 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. "I could throw 10-yard passes that was it," Mariani said. "It limited what we could call and do. That's what really hurt us." Mariani hasn't played quarterback since, except for a dramatic appearance against Portland State at Pocatello Oct. 10. Whitmer had been knocked out of the game. Brown came in and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass with 1:29 left to cut Portland State's lead to 24-22. But Brown was knocked out on the play. Mariani came in to throw a pass for a 2-point conversion, giving Idaho State a 24-24 tie. "All week I didn't throw, so I knew I could go if I had to," he said. "It was a short pass, so it didn't hurt too bad." Mariani, an education major, said he plans to go into coaching after graduation, preferably in the Reno area. "I miss (Nevada) a lot. Family, . friends, atmosphere it's a great place to be." Idaho State would have been, too. If only Mariani could throw. UNR notes: When Stephen F. Austin defeated UNR, 9-7, Saturday at Mackay Stadium, it was the fewest points a team has needed to beat the Wolf Pack since Chico State edged UNR, 6-3, in 1975 The crowd of 14,577 for the Stephen F. Austin game was the fourth largest in UNR history. It was homecoming for the Wolf Pack. Around the league: The Big Sky Conference has three individual leaders in NCAA Division I-AA statistics: Boise State wide receiver Eric Andrade, Eastern Washington punter Eric Stein and Northern Arizona place-kicker Mickey Penaflor. Andrade is averaging 7.83 receptions per game (47 total), Stein 43.4 yards per punt and Penaflor 2.00 field goals per game (12 of 17). . . . Northern Arizona quarterback Greg Wyatt completed 18 passes last week in a 54-21 victory over Montana State to give him 411 for his career. Wyatt is only the third player in NCAA history to complete 400 passes in his freshman and sophomore years combined. Kevin Sweeney completed 443 passes at Fresno State in 1983-84, and Brian McClure had 411 at Bowling Green in 1982-83. Wyatt still has four games to add to his total. . . . Idaho State's 35-32 victory at Boise State Saturday gives the Bengals a two-game winning streak over the Broncos for the first time in history. It was only the second victory ever for Idaho State in Boise. S Paul Bauman is a Gazette-Journal J f PAUL BAUMAN Tom Spitz Gazette-Journal SLOW START: UNR coach Chris Ault's Wolf Pack was the overwhelming preseason choice to to repeat as Big Sky Conference champion. But the Pack, 3-4 overall, has stumbled to a 2-2 conference mark. we had to have the ball back to keep them from scoring. We didn't feel shut out against Weber State. . . . "(Idaho quarterback John) Friesz is a big-league quarterback. He threaded the needle and beat us. We put more heat on him than most teams we sacked him five times and we still couldn't slow him down." Kentera rated the game even. "Playing at home might give Weber a slight advantage," said Kentera, whose team lost to Idaho, 46-37, at Flagstaff, Ariz., and to Weber State, 30-17, at Ogden. "I think Idaho's passing might give Weber problems. Idaho has to stop the running game. Because they're a passing team, they do a pretty good job against the pass." Northern Arizona, Idaho State and UNR have to hope that Idaho and Weber State Analysis against Boise State. The Broncos, with only one returning starter on defense, probably will not be able to control Idaho's passing offense, ranked third in I-AA at 332.3 yards per game. Who will win the Idaho-Weber State game? Montana head coach Don Read and Northern Arizona head coach Larry Ken-tera were consulted. Montana and Northern Arizona are the only Big Sky teams to have played both Idaho and Weber State. Read, when pressed, picked Idaho. "We flat-out could not stop Idaho's pass," said Read, whose team lost to Idaho, 31-25, at Moscow and to Weber State, 29-26, at Missoula, Mont. "We felt statistics YdsPG 17 305.7 Total plays 520 491 Total playsgame 74.3 70.1 Total net yards 2896 2379 Yards per play 5.6 4.9 YARDS PER GAME 413.7 339.9 Kickoff returnsyards .29551 37817 Kickoff return avg 19.0 22.1 Punt returnsyards 22183 1150 Punt return average 8.3 4.6 Punt returnsgame 3.1 1.6 Int. returnsyards 9115 10141 Int. return average 12.8 14.1 Int. per game 1.3 1.4 Puntsyards 261092 361473 Punt average 42.0 40.9 Fumbleslost 1910 125 Penaltiesyards 37331 37348 Yards per penalty 9.0 9.0 Penalties per game 5.3 5.3 Penalty yardsgame 47.3 49.7 Safeties 0 0 3rd down atts.made 8350 10446 3rd down percentage 60.2 44.2 Avg. time of poss 30:36 29:24 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing Duran Pavilionis Zendeias Williams Egu Floyd Kaskie Caleb Ellison Norfleet Ellison Brown Kaskie Lommori Bonsall Brown J.Davis Seybold 20 339.9 20 363.3 24 372.5 16 392.3 23 398.8 17 405.1 43 458.3 28 490.6 Avg 1 8.3 7.8 7.5 6.5 0 0 0 Weber, Idaho play for conference lead 26.9 avg.) 24.0 avg.) Punting No Yds Avg 24 1010 42.1 2 82 41.0 Field Goals Made Att Pet 12 15 80.0 Kickoff Returns No Yds Avg TD 25 487 19.5 0 3 54 18.0 0 1 10 10.0 0 Punt Returns No Yds Avg TD 11 60 5.5 0 9 . 72 8.0 0 1 50 50.0 1 1 1 1.0 0 interceptions No Yds TD 5 95 0 3 12 0 1 8 0 Tackles UT AT TT 43 37 80 35 24 59 38 16 54 27 17 44 24 17 41 Lazovich 17 20 37 Ellison 23 13 36 Norfleet 23 7 30 Kaskie 14 11 25 Caleb 10 13 23 Hulbert 11 11 22 Belli 6 7 13 Armstrong 6 7 13 Morrow 9 3 12 Spires 7 5 12 Ford 7 3 10 Shipp 5 2 7 Wickersham 5 2 7 C.Wells 3 3 6 Tolliver 3 2 5 McCoy 3 1 4 Deeds 2 0 2 Floyd 1 1 J Logan 1 0 1 Greene 1 0 1 Rose 1 0 1 T.Wells 1 0 1 Egu 1 0 1 Pavilionis 0 1 1 Sacks , - . Ho Yds J. Davis 7 32 Bonsall 7 32 Morrow 2 16 Belli 1 15 C. Wells 1 10 I At) Yds TD Avg Foger 143 Floyd 108 Zaccheo 62 Williams 24 Egu 3 756 413 5.3 38 2.8 5.8 4.3 3.0 174 138 13 Seybold 1 3 Passing CompAtt Pet Yds TD Int Zaccheo 105175 60.0 1399 7 10 Genasci 04 00.0 0 0 0 Receiving No Yds Avg TD Loaan ..38 622 16.4 5 Floyd 21 273 13.0 224 12.4 1 1 Egu 18 Foger 12 D. Davis 6 Pavilionis 5 Williams 2 Wickersham 2 Claiborne 1 89 7.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 Pts 54 50 36 30 6 6 t 81 13.5 12.0 7.0 60 14 14 7.0 22 22.0 Scoring TD FG XP Zendeias 0 Foger 8 Floyd 6 Logan 5 Egu 1 Zaccheo 1 Ellison 1 By Quane KenyonAP Weber State won't clinch the Big Sky Conference football championship Saturday if the Wildcats beat Idaho. But a victory would give seventh-ranked Weber a two-game lead over the field, a good place to be sitting as it heads into the final three weeks of the season. "It's been 22 years since a football team at Weber State College was 6-1," said coach Mike Price. "We have a rich heritage and tradition. Maybe we're starting one lately." The Idaho-Weber State clash at Ogden Saturday afternoon is the key game on the Big Sky schedule this weekend. The other teams will be playing mainly to keep faint championship hopes alive and perhaps rooting for Idaho. Northern Arizona is at Eastern Washington, Idaho State plays at Nevada-Reno and Montana is at Montana State in the latest renewal of a 90-year-old rivalry. In a nonconference game, Boise State plays host to Utah. It's obvious who Price is preparing his defense for this weekend. It's Idaho sophomore quarterback John Friesz, who Price said eventually could be the best quarterback on the West Coast. "He's had some excellent games. We're waiting for him to have a poor showing, maybe it'll be this week," said Price. He said Weber will have one big advantage: It will be the first time Idaho has played on natural grass this season. Idaho coach Keith Gilbertson, whose team is in second place in the conference race with a 4-1 record, said he hopes his Vandals are more ready to play this week than last week's struggling 31-24 victory over Eastern Washington. "I'd be surprised if we're not emotionally ready to play and on edge a little bit," he said. "We were not anywhere near as emotional and ready to play against Eastern Washington as we need to be this week." The Utah-Boise State game appears to be a mismatch. The Broncos twice this season have been almost helpless against high-powered passing attacks. Utah just happens to have Division I-A's best passing attack, averaging more than 370 yards per game. Utah coach Jim Fassel said the Utes won't be overlooking Boise State after losing to Utah State last week. "The most important thing tor us is how we come back. I think these guys will come back. Our team is a little embarrassed about it (last weekend's loss)," he said. t Rushing Offense G C Yds Avg TD YdsPG Nev Reno 7 341 1497 4.4 14 213.9 Boise St. 7 288 1324 4 6 13 189.1 8 445 1468 3.3 15 183.5 7 297 1252 4.2 15 178.9 Mont. St. No. Ariz. Montana Weber St. Idaho Idaho St. E. Wash. 7 271 1031 3.8 7 290 1026 3.5 8 248 840 3.4 7 227 690 3.0 8 291 528 1.8 147.3 17 146.6 11 105.0 4 98.6 5 66.0 Passing Offense Cmp Pet Yds TD YdsPG G Art Idaho No. Ariz. Weber St. Idaho St. Boise St. Montana E. Wash. NevReno Mont. St. 8 363 227 62.5 2658 16 332.3 7 241 162 67.2 2048 17 292.6 7 250 136 54.4 1990 284.3 7 241 130 53.9 1891 16 270.1 7 241 129 53.5 1821 14 260.1 7 233 134 57.5 1580 13 225.7 8 261 129 49.4 1766 15 220.8 7 179 105 58.7 1399 7 199.9 8 141 72 51.1 1096 4 137.0 Scoring Offense Pts Avg 263 37.6 232 33.1 216 30.9 233 29.1 193 27.6 188 26.9 183 22.9 157 22.4 170 21.3 No. Ariz. Weber St. Boise St. Idaho Idaho St. Nev Reno Mont. St. Montana E. Wash. GAME RESULTS (2-2 in league, 1-4 overall) UNR 40, E. Washington 26. A 3,899 (A) UNR 34, UC Davis 14. A 15,430 (H) Montana 41, UNR 29. A-8,200 (A) UNLV 24, UNR 19. A 25,584 (A) UNR 31, Montana State 13. A 13,903 (HI Idaho 38, UNR 28. A 15,100 (A) Stephen F. Austin 9, UNR 7. A 14,577 IH) 'Big Sky Conference game TEAM STATISTICS UNR Opp First downs 147 124 Rushing 83 47 Passing 54 70 Penalty 10 7 Rushing attempts 341 282 Rushing yards gained 1724 1041 Rushing yards lost 227 204 Net rush yards 1497 837 Yards per rush 4.4 3.0 RUSHING YDSGAME . 213.9 119.4 Passes attempted 179 209 Passes completed 105 132 Passes had intercepted..-.. 10 9 Completion pet 58.7 63.2 Net yar passing 1399 1542 Yards per pass att 7.8 7.4 Yards per comp 13.3 11.7 PASSING YDSGAME ..199.9 220.3 ! sportswriter whose Big Sky Conference column appears each week during the football season. 1 i ..

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