Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on November 20, 1987 · Page 25
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 25

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Reno, Nevada
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Friday, November 20, 1987
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Page 25
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College football Big Sky Friday, November 20, 1987 QTJ Reno Ga?attf-.Innrnl OIJ Weber State proves point on the field PAUL B All MAN With only one game left in the regular football season, it's time to look at the best and worst of the Big Sky Conference. MOST UNDERRATED TEAM-Weber State, tied with Idaho for first place in the Big Sky at 6-1. Big Sky coaches and media picked the Wildcats to finish seventh m the nine-team league. I picked Weber State fifth. MOST OVERRATED TEAM I'll give you one guess. BIGGEST CHOKE-Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks had an at-large berth in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs all but wrapped up with a 24-20 victory at I-A Tulsa Nov. 7. Northern Arizona was 7-2 and ranked 16th in I-AA. Then the Lumberjacks blew it by losing at Boise State, 48-18, last week. BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER Idaho quarterback John Friesz. A redshirt freshman from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Friesz has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 325.4 yards per game. Friesz (6-4, 200) has a gun for an arm but also has excellent touch. Montana head coach Don Read said he could start in the Pacif ic-10. Read should know. He was the head coach at Oregon from 1974 to 1976 when Dan Fouts was there. Runner-up: Northern Arizona quarterback Greg Wyatt. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER Boise State defensive end Pete Kwiatkowski (6-3, 250). Kwiatkowski, a senior from Santa Barbara, Calif., has 87 tackles and 12 sacks. Four of his sacks came in Boise State's 36-31 victory over the University of Nevada-Reno at Mackay Stadium. HIGHEST DRAFT PICK Montana offensive tackle Larry Clarkson. He's huge (6-foot-7, 295 pounds), and he can run (5.0 in the 40-yard dash). Clarkson could go as high as the third round. BEST NAME Idaho State fullback Corky Federico. Sounds like a nightclub act. Runner-up: Northern Arizona wide receiver Sandy Sledge. Sounds like a rock group from the late '70s that sang "We Are Family." Honorable mention: Boise State wide receiver Winky White. FRIENDLIEST COACH No contest. Montana's Read. He treats everyone with courtesy and respect, and he's sincere. UNFRIENDLIEST COACH Actually, the Big Sky is blessed with a group of pretty cooperative coaches. But you don't want to catch Eastern Washington's Dick Zornes on a bad day. BEST UNIFORM UNR. Silver and blue is a sharp combination, and the "Pack" written in script on the helmet is classy. WORST UNIFORM Idaho State. The black pants are a good addition, but the jerseys and helmets look cheap. Where do they get these things? K-Mart? BEST ROAD TRIP None in the Big Sky Conference. All the towns are the same. Boise, which UNR will visit next season, is just bigger than the others. WORST ROAD TRIP This one's easy: Northern Arizona. UNR gets the treat this week. The Wolf Pack will play the Lumberjacks Saturday at 6 p.m. (PST) at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Ariz. Going is not so bad. UNR's chartered jet flies non-stop from Reno to Flagstaff. Returning is another story. The runway at Flagstaff International Airport, or whatever it's called, isn't long enough for UNR's jet to take off. The combination of the weight and the 6,895-foot altitude is too much. UNR is scheduled to leave Flagstaff by bus Saturday at 10 p.m. (PST) and meet its chartered plane in Phoenix at 1 a.m. The Wolf Pack is due in Reno at 2:35 a.m. BEST PRESS BOX Boise State's Bronco Stadium. It's modern, spacious and most importantly heated. WORST PRESS BOX Northern Arizona's Walkup Skydome. It sways from the ceiling. It provides excellent practice if you ever need to write a story during an earthquake. Runner-up: UNR's Mackay Stadium. Way too small. BEST MEDIA GUIDE Northern Arizona. It's about the size of a phone book. If you want to know how Northern Arizona has done against defunct teams (and I know I do), it's in there. MOST UNUSUAL MEDIA GUIDE COVER Weber State has retired this trophy. This year, the Wildcats used a Star Trek theme with caricatures of head coach Mike Price and two of his assistants dressed as crew members of the Starship Enterprise. I don't get it. BEST WOMEN'S DRILL TEAM Boise State. Unquestionably, it was the highlight of the day at Mackay Stadium. I'm not talking about the members' precision, either. Paul Bauman is a Gazette-Journal sportswriter whose Big Sky Conference column appears each week during the football season. Big Sky teams gear 'up for I-AA playoffs Idaho, Weber are good bets to earn berths By Paul BaumanGazette-Journal Seems strange, doesn't it? No University of Nevada-Reno in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. UNR, which has slumped from 13-1 in 1986 to 4-6 this season, will miss the playoffs for the first time in three years and only the second time in five years. Instead, it appears that Idaho and Weber State will represent the Big Sky in the I-AA playoffs. That's nothing new for Idaho, but it is for Weber State. Idaho, ranked No. 5 in I-AA at 8-2, is almost certain to reach the playoffs for the third straight year. Weber State, ranked No. 11 at 8-2, never has qualified for post-season play since the I-AA playoffs began in 1978. Bernard Cooper, athletic director at Indiana State and chairman of the I-AA Football Committee, said "at this stage, the odds are very good" that Idaho and Weber State will reach the playoffs. There is a slim chance that a third Big Sky team, unranked Northern Arizona (7-3), also will be selected. The Lumberjacks will end the regular season against UNR Saturday at Flagstaff, Ariz. Pairings for the 16-team, single-elimination playoffs will be announced Sunday afternoon. First-round (Nov. 28), quarterfinal (Dec. 5) and semifinal (Dec. 12) games will be played at campus sites. The I-AA championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Idaho State Mini-dome in Pocatello, Idaho. The champions of six conferences the Big Sky.Gateway, Ohio Valley, Southern, Southland and Yankee will receive automatic berths to the I-AA playoffs. Three teams No. 2 Appalachian State (8-2) of the Southern, No. 4 Northern Iowa (7-3) of the Gateway and No. 13 Richmond (7-3) of the Yankee have clinched their conference titles and earned playoff berths. The I-AA Football Committee, consisting of four regional athletic directors, will choose two independents and eight at-large teams (conference members or independents) to complete the field. The same committee determines the weekly I-AA rankings. The top-ranked team in I-AA, Holy Cross (10-0), has chosen not to participate in the playoffs for academic reasons. As of now, the playoff field would consist of : AUTOMATIC BERTHS No. 2 Appalachian State (8-2), No. 3 Northeast Louisiana (8-2) of the Southland Conference, No. 4 Northern Iowa (7-3), No. 5 Idaho (8- 2) , No. 13 Richmond (7-3) and No. 19 Youngstown State (7-3) of the Ohio Valley Conference. INDEPENDENTS No. 6 and two-time defending national champion Georgia Southern (7-3), and No. 8 Arkansas State (7-2-1). AT-LARGE No. 7 Eastern Kentucky (7-2), No. 9 James Madison (8-2), No. 10 Jackson State (7-2-1), No. 11 Weber State (8-2), No. 12 Western Kentucky (6- 3) , No. 14 Delaware State (7-2), No. 15 Maine (8-3), and No. 16 New Hampshire (7-2) or No. 16 Sam Houston State (7-3). Other playoff contenders include No. 18 Marshall (7-4), No. 20 Howard (8-1) and No. 20 North Texas State (6-4). The top four teams in the rankings will be seeded m the playoffs. The other teams will be priced in the appropriate region according the seeding of the top four teams. If Idaho maintains its No. 5 ranking, the Vandals will be seeded fourth (because of Holy Cross' decision). If Weber State also makes the playoffs, there is a strong possibility it will meet Idaho in the first round. That prospect does not please Ron Stephenson, commissioner of the Big Sky Conference. "The best the conference can do after the first week is 1-1. . . ." he said with a sigh. "As a commissioner, those games are not any fun to go to. You've got one winner and one loser." Chances are an Idaho-Weber State game would be played at Moscow, Idaho. Among the NCAA's criteria for determining sites are projected revenue (i.e. attendance), team rankings and weather. Idaho has had a slightly higher average attendance than Weber State, 10,340 to 10,074. The Vandals will increase that margin with an expected crowd of 16,000 for Saturday's game against arch-rival Boise State. Idaho also is ranked higher and plays in a domed stadium. Weber State plays outdoors. "I anticipate that we're going to host a ( x V- u J) v J a, yfiW-fMwa ii inn mi -y-iM r,.:-i.!..-ig,-s ;. A m,'.iJil. '". Lanes Iversan Gazette-Journai PLAYOFF BOUND?: Weber State running back Fine Unga victory for the 1 1 th-ranked Wildcats last weekend in Reno, fights for yardage against UNR last weekend during a 38-15 Weber State, 8-2, is contending for a I-AA playoff berth. I-AA Top 20 Tom Spitz Gazette-Journal John Friesz Quarterback leads No. 5-ranked Idaho Record Pts Pv 1. Holy Cross (4) 11-0-0 80 1 2. Appalachian State 8-2-0 76 2 3. Northeast Louisiana 8-2-0 72 3 4. Northern Iowa 7-3-0 68 5 5. Idaho 8-2-0 64 6 6. Georgia Southern 7-3-0 60 8 7. Eastern Kentucky 7-2-0 55 9 8. Arkansas State .' 7-2-1 53 10 9. James Madison 8-2-0 46 11 10. Jackson State 7-2-1 42 4 11. Weber State 8-2-0 41 t12 12. Western Kentucky 6-3-0 39 14 13. Richmond 7-3-0 30 15 14. Delaware State 7-2-0 25 7 15. Maine 8-3-0 21 17 16. New Hampshire 7-2-0 15 18 tie Sam Houston State 7-3-0 15 t20 18. Marshall 1 7-4-0 13 t20 19. Youngstown State 7-3-0 11 t20 20. Howard University 8-1-0 7 t20 tie North Texas State 6-4-0 7 t12 It's reasonably safe to say that unless one team is beaten real badly, both will be selected. 5 Ron StephensonBig Sky playoff game, even if we lose (Saturday)," said Bill Belknap, athletic director at Idaho. There are encouraging signs for the Big Sky in the I-AA playoffs. Three non-playoff teams from the Big Sky have defeated three playoff contenders from other conferences. Boise State (6-4) defeated Delaware State, 34-13, in both teams' season opener Sept. 5 at Boise, Idaho. Montana (64) defeated Northern Iowa, 33-16, Oct. 3 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But the most stunning non-conference result was Montana State's 52-48 victory over Sam Houston State Sept. 12 at Boze-man, Mont. It's the only game the Bobcats have won all year. In other words, Montana State has been good enough to beat a playoff contender but not good enough to beat anybody in the Big Sky. Montana State lost to Idaho by only seven points and to Weber State by only three points. Idaho and Weber State are tied for first place in the Big Sky at 6-1. Weber State will end the regular season Saturday at Idaho State (3-4, 3-6-1). If Idaho and Weber State win or both teams lose, the Vandals will be declared the Big Sky champions based on their 41-38 victory over the Wildcats Oct. 31 at Ogden, Utah. Weber State would finish 9-2 with a victory over Idaho State and earn an at-large berth. Weber State can win the Big Sky title only if it beats Idaho State and if Idaho loses to Boise State. Even if Idaho or Weber State loses, Stephenson said he expects both to go to the playoffs. "It's reasonably safe to say that unless one team is beaten real badly, both will be selected." At No. 5, Idaho probably has enough room to fall in the rankings with a loss and still make the playoffs. But what about Weber State at No. 11? "It depends a lot on what happens to other teams," Stephenson said. "Some teams in the top 20 are going to get beat. I don't think Weber State would drop out of the playoffs." Northern Arizona was ranked No. 16 after winning at I-A Tulsa, 24-20, two weeks ago. But then the Lumberjacks seriously hurt their playoff chances with a 48-18 loss at Boise State last week. "They're not ranked, so their chances are very poor," Cooper said. Dig Sky standings UNR statistics 11 1 LM BIG SKY STANDINGS Idaho Weber SI. Montana Northern Arizona Boise State UNR Idaho State Eastern Washington Montana State Conference W LT Pts OP W 6 1 0 222 IN S 6 I 0 271 198 I 5 3 0 261 136 6 4 3 0 253 209 7 4 3 0 236 177 6 3 4 1 214 311 4 3 4 0 173 265 3 2 6 0 189 262 4 0 8 0 156 308 1 AIIGames LT Pts OP 2 0 288 246 2 0 354 264 4 0 297 162 3 0 346 252 4 0 327 221 6 ( 274 241 t 1 264 392 7 0 270 303 10 0 230 460 UNR STATISTICS (It Games) SCORE BY QUARTERS UNR.. 0pp. .. ..23 94 72 IS - 274 (27.4 avg.) ..57 58 63 91 - 261 (24.1 vg.) GAME RESULTS (3-4 in league, 4-6 overall) UNR 40, E Washington 26. A 3,899 (A) UNR 34, UC Davis 17 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 (H) Idaho 38, UNR 28 A 15,100 (A) Stephen F. Austin 9, UNR 7. A 14.577 (H) UNR 40, Idaho State 19 A 11.237 (H) Boise State 36, UNR 31. A-18,150 (M) Weber State 38, UNR 15 A 11.143 (HI Big Sky Conference game TEAM STATISTICS UNR Ops First downs 205 202 Rushing 104 81 Passing 88 113 Penalty 13 I Rushing attempts 450 399 Rushing yards gained 2155 1599 Rushing yards tost 340 278 Net rush yards 1815 1321 Yards per rush 4.0 3.3 RUSHING YDSGAME 181.5 132.1 Passes attempted 296 334 Passes completed 166 206 Passes had intercepted 15 13 Completion pet 561 617 Net yards passing 2211 2358 Yards per pass art 7.5 7-1 Yards per comp 13.4 11.5 PASSING YDSGAME 221.1 235.8 Total plays 746 733 Total playsgame 74 6 73 3 Total net yards 4033 3679 Yards per play 5.4 5 0 YARDS PER GAME 4C3.1 37.9 KickoH returnsyards 44864 5271113 KickoH return avg 19 6 21 4 Punt returnsyards 26231 1794 Punt return average 8 9 5 5 Punt returnsgame 2 6 1.7 Int returnsyards 13129 15194 Int return average 9 9 129 Int per game 13 1.5 Puntsyards 461725 411961 Punt average 37.5 40 9 Fumbleslost 2513 168 Penaltiesyards 53462 59531 Yards per penalty 8.7 8 7 Penalties per game 5.3 5.9 Penalty yardsgame 46.2 53.1 Safeties 0 0 3rd down atts.made 14171 15463 3rd down percentage 50 4 40.9 Avg. time of poss 29:42 30:18 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing Art Yds TO Avg Foger 190 988 10 5.2 Floyd 138 523 6 3 8 Zaccheo 82 166 2 2.0 Williams 30 146 0 4,9 Seybold 1 3 0 3.0 Genasci 5 7 0 14 Passing CompAtt Pel Yds TD Int Zaccheo 141232 601 1946 11 12 Genasci 2564 39.1 272 2 3 Receiving No Yds Avg TD Logan 58 956 16 5 9 Floyd 34 421 124 1 Egu 23 287 12 5 1 Fooer 22 247 11 2 2 D Davis 17 186 10 9 0 Pavilionis 6 66 11.0 0 Williams 3 19 6 3 0 Wickersham 2 14 7 0 0 Claiborne 1 22 22 0 0 Scoring TD FG XP Pts Zendeias 0 17 27 78 Fooer 12 0 1 74 Logan 9 0 1 56 Floyd 7 0 0 42 Zaccheo 2 0 0 12 Egu 1 0 0 6 Ellison 1 0 0 4 Punting No Yds Avg Duran 29 1195 41.2 Pavilionis 17 530 31.2 Field Goals Mad Art Pet Zendeias 17 21 81.0 KickoH Returns No Yds Avg TD Williams 40 800 20.0 0 Egu 3 54 180 0 Floyd 1 10 10.0 0 Punt Returns No Yds Avg TD Kaskie 13 68 5.2 0 Caleb 10 108 101 0 Ellison 2 54 27 0 1 Norfleet 1 1 1.0 0 Interceptions No Yds TD Ellison 6 95 0 Brown 5 12 0 Lommori 1 14 0 Kaskie 1 8 0 Tackles UT AT TT Lommori 62 51 113 Brown 56 23 79 Laiovich 38 37 75 Bonsall 38 25 63 Seybold 33 24 57 3. Davis 38 20 58 Kaskie 32 20 52 Ellison 33 18 51 Caleb 27 22 49 Norfleet 31 10 41 Hulbert 17 21 31 Armstrong 10 12 22 Belli I I It Morrow 9 4 13 Spires 7 5 12 Ford 7 3 W Wickersham 7 1 10 C.Wells 6 4 10 Shipp 7 I Deeds 4 3 7 Tolliver 4 2 6 McCoy 3 1 4 Williams 2 1 3 Floyd 1 1 Logan 1 0 l Greene 1 0 1 Rose 1 0 1 T.Wells 1 0 1 Egu 1 0 1 Pavilionis 0 1 , l Sacks No Yds J. Davis f 42 Bonsall 7 jj C. Wells J 23 Morrow 2 16 Belli 2 15 Hulbert 1 j

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