Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on October 6, 1991 · Page 41
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 41

Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1991
Page 41
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Nevada 3i. Idaho 23 Sunday, October 6, 1991 Reno Gazette-Journal 3D: Patient Rogers a defensive star Strong off bench: Senior's rush of Idaho QB helped key Nevada's stalwart second-half effort. By Joe Santoro GAZETTE-JOURNAL MOSCOW, Id. Bad memories have a way of bringing out good performances in Nevada's Mike Rogers. ror a brief moment before facing the Idaho Vandals in the Kibbie Dome Saturday, the Nevada defensive tackle was 17 years old again and playing at Los Marmitos High in Seal Rogers Beach, Calif. He had turned in a poor week of practice and his coaches punished him by cutting into his playing time. It happened again this week as the Pack prepared for Idaho. "I just thought back to that situation," he said. "I played well in that game in high school so I wasn't too worried. I just wanted to do the same thing." The Wolf Pack is thankful for Rogers' good memory. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior had two third-down sacks of Idaho quarterback Doug Nussmeier in the second half as the Wolf Pack held the Vandals to no first downs and minus-two yards of offense. "I had a lot of motivation for this game," said Rogers. "I just had a tough week of practice and I didn't play much at the start of this game. "That's always a good motivator." 1 Freshman Holmes Backup gains 178 yards: Little-noticed back runs hard and often to fuel offensive comeback. By Larry Baden GAZETTE-JOURNAL MOSCOW, Idaho. To be called a "Nevada Back" is the highest honor Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault can bestow upon one of his running backs. Ault came close to paying that tribute to Dedric Holmes after the freshman rushed for 178 yards in Saturday's 31-23 victory over Idaho. "He's close but not quite there yet," Ault said of Holmes. "I'd say he's halfway there. He did have that fumble in the second half. I'd say that makes Dedric a 'Nev Back' right now." Actually, coach, it was Keith Washington who had the fumble. "Oh," Ault said. "Then I'd say he's a 'Nevada Back.' This week he definitely was." With the Wolf Pack running NEVADA NOTEBOOK Defensive backs gain their Second-half standouts: Fierce pass rush helps Pack stymie Vandals' passing game. By Larry Baden GAZETTE-JOURNAL MOSCOW, Idaho The nightmare that has caused Nevada defensive backs sleepless nights for two years has been put to rest. In 1989, Idaho Ail-American John Friesz passed for 446 yards against an all-freshman Wolf Pack secondary. Now juniors, the group longed to even the score. They did Saturday, holding the nation's second-ranked passing offense to 11 completions and 135 yards in a 31-23 victory over the Vandals. That's 235 yards less than Idaho's per-game average. "Definitely better than our last trip here," free safety Xavier Kairy said. "I feel vindicated." The start was a bit bumpy. On the second play from scrimmage, Idaho All-American Kasey Dunn ran past cornerback Brock Marion for a 32-yard gain. The nation's "Playing with emotion is the key forme. After those first four games, it was easy to sit back and kind of relax. I've been looking forward to this Idaho game for two weeks. " Mike Rogers Nevada tfefenslve llnaman Indeed. Rogers began the game watching tackle Roger Pelham take the bulk of his playing time. He ended it by making life miserable for Nussmeier. Rogers, who became a starter this year with Dio Shipp's graduation, doesn't blame the Pack coaches for threatening him with less playing time. "It was good for me," he said. "Coach (Chris) Ault stresses competition. "We're pretty thin on the line and sometimes you can get a little stagnant. That happens to me sometimes. "The coach talked to me before the game. I just told myself to go out and have fun. And I remembered the same thing happened to me in high school. I didn't tighten up, I just played with emotion." A Mike Rogers with emotion is dangerous for quarterbacks. He sacked Nussmeier on a third-and-10 with the Pack up 24-23 and got him again on a third-and-20 with the Pack up 31-23 with just over four minutes to play. "Playing with emotion is the key for me," he said. "The defense played with emotion in the spring, but after those first four games, it was easy to sit back and kind of relax. game floundering in the first half, Holmes came off the bench to rush for 166 yards after halftime. He more than filled the void left by the absence of sophomore Zeke Moore. Moore, the Wolf Pack's leading rusher with just under 100 yards a game, didn't play Saturday after suffering a bruised knee last week. Holmes enabled the Wolf Pack to control the ball for more than 20 minutes in the second half. Just as important, the threat of Holmes running forced Idaho linebackers to look for the run first, leaving the middle vulnerable to Fred Gatlin's passes. "Dedric graduated from the minor leagues in this game," Gatlin said. "He showed he was a player. He came through when we definitely needed it most." The 5-foot-ll, 205-pounder from Pinole, Calif., never had a leading receiver with 13 catches a game caught only three more passes for 26 yards the rest of the way. "He was my responsibility all game in man coverages," Marion said. "I didn't want to play any zone. I was having a real good time." BIZARRE CALL II: Three weeks ago, the Wolf Pack's fanciest pass of the year an 86-yard touchdown bomb from Chris Vargas to Chris Singleton was called back by a rare call. Brian Reeves, sitting out the play, was flagged for illegal participation for running down the sideline. Now, Nevada's two fanciest touchdown passes of the season have been called back by interesting calls. In the third quarter from Idaho's 12, quarterback Fred Gatlin was getting pressured, lost the ball, caught it in mid air, scrambled and found Joe King in the end zone for an apparent score. The play was nullified, when Gatlin was called for making an illegal forward pass. Officials ruled Gatlin was passing when he Initially lost the ball and caught his own pass. The throw to King was Gatlin's second forward pass of the play, a maior no-no. "The ruling is correct," Nevada head coach Chris Ault said. "We didn't think he was throwing, though. We thought he was trying to avoid the rusher and fumbled the ball to himself." INJURY REPORT: For the third year in a roiy, starting right guard Tom Wer- (1 rrV-vr? BACK IN THE ATTACK: Tight "I've been looking forward to this Idaho game for two weeks." It was emotion and a big friend at tackle that led to the sacks. "We just had Joe Caspers grab the lineman and push him out of the way," said linebacker Matt Clafton. "Then Mike would just go around him." Rogers was happy to get the help. gives Wolf Pack a doubt in his ability. "I think maybe some people have overlooked me since I've been here," he said. "I always knew I had that talent to play at this level. I think I proved that (Saturday). "The thing is that I can still keep getting better. I still have a lot of improvement to make." Holmes was pleased to earn Nev Back status. What was even more gratifying, though, was outrunning former Pinole teammate Ronnie White who transferred from Nevada to Idaho last spring. Four years ago. White was the feature back at Pinole. Holmes was his blocker. On Saturday, especially in the second half, Holmes was the feature back. White rushed for three yards on four carries in the second half and finished with 73 yards. "Even after Ronnie left high school I was always being compared to him," Holmes said. "Ronnie rushed for 1,300 yards and I didn't. Ronnie did this, Ronnie did that. Some people didn't think I measured up to him." The Wolf Pack included. White was one of Nevada's top recruits redemption beckes faces a season-ending injury. The senior hurt his left knee five minutes into the fourth quarter and is expected to miss at least six weeks. That would keep the offensive co-captain out for the rest of the regular season. Werbeckes twice underwent surgery on his right knee in 1989. Last year, his season ended when he broke his right leg in the season's 10th game. Senior Bill Branca will become the starter at right guard. Zeke Moore, UNR's leading ball carrier, was held out Saturday because of a bruised knee. "I could ve played, but I wouldn't have been 100 percent." BY THE NUMBERS: The Wolf Pack s first-half run of shutouts ended at 124 minutes, 50 seconds when Idaho center David Spellman recovered a fumble in the end zone. It was the first points Nevada has given up in the first half this season. ... Five games into his junior season, Gatlin has moved into second place on UNR's career passing list. His 293 yards Saturday give him 6,135 career yards, 37 more than Jeff Tisdel. He trails all-time leader Eric Beavers by 2,494 yards. UNR continued its second-half domination over the Vandals. In the past three meetings, the Wolf Pack has out-scored Idaho, 53-18, in the second half. Idaho's Sherriden May, four months removed from Spanaway Lake High School in Washington, returned his second interception for a touchdown this season when he picked off a second-quarter Gatlin pass and returned it 41 yards. Tim Dalqurat Special to the Gazette-Journal end Scott Benning often found open areas in the Idaho defense. "Their linemen were pretty stout and real tough to beat just straight up," he said. "We just tried a few stunts and it opened things up for me." And shut down the Vandals' offense. "He was outstanding," said defensive end George Buddy of Rogers. "Those were two big sacks. We knew it would work. Mike just got "I think maybe some people have overlooked me since I've been here. I always knew I had that talent to play at this level. I think I proved that (Saturday)." Dedric Holmes Navala runnlni lack in 1988. Two years later, Holmes' signing with the Wolf Pack was overshadowed by the addition of more-ballyhooed Pinole teammates Chris Singleton and Jeff Kondra. "I felt like an extra wheel, like I was just following those guys in, like no one really expected much from me." Holmes said. "I struggled real bad during my redshirt year. I never stopped believing I could be an impact player." Nevada: 31 Idaho: 23 Idaho I 9 1 14 I 0 I 0 I 23 Nevada 7 3 7 14 31 75 yds. Spellman fumble rec. m end zone (kick failed) 79 yds. Doyle 22-yd. field goal 76 yds. Reeves 47 passGatlin (R. Schweninger kick) 91 yds. White 5 yd. run (Doyle kick) 41-yd. May interception (Doyle kick) 33 yds. 38-yd. field goal 2 62 yds. Washington 9 passGatlin (Schwendinger kick) 55 yds. Gatlin 1 yd. run (Schweninger kick) 41 yds. Gatlin 9 yd. run Schwendinger kick) Team stats: Idaho Nevada First downs 16 24 Rushes-yards 38-159 45-241 Passing 135 293 Return yards 47 76 Comp-Att-Int 11-31-2 23-36-1 Punts 9-43.0 3-42.0 Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-1 Penalties-yards 9-63 11-112 Possession time 26:41 33:19 Game conditions Temperature: Indoor Sky & wind: Indoor Turf: Artificial Attendance: 14,500 Game length: 3:25 - - I -11 2 V good penetration up the middle and that's where it always starts." This may have been Rogers' best colegiate game. "My strong point is definitely against the run," he said. "But in this league you need a good pass rush." And a wealth of memories to draw upon at just the right moment. real rush Tim Oalquist Special to the Gazette-Journal NO ROOM: Eric Smith struggles to find daylight, and was replaced by a very effective Dedric Holmes in the second half. On Saturday, Holmes was that and more. He was a Nevada Back. "Dedric came out in the second half and was slugging them in the mouth every time he got the ball," running backs coach Lamonte Winston said. "That's what Nevada Backs do." Scoring drives Idaho: White Nevada: Black m Individual stats: Idaho Nevada Rushing Pearce 20-93 E.Smith 7-17 White 10-73 Holmes 27-178 Nussmeier 6-(-2) Gatlin 6-29 Taylor 1-5 Washington 5-17 Murphy 1-(-10) Passing Nussmeier 11-31-2-135 Gatlin 23-36-1-293 Receiving Dunn 4-58 Singleton 5-80 Ala'ilima Dailey 3-14 Benning 5-69 Murphy 2-32 Reeves 5-86 Taylor 1-28 E.Smith 1-1 White 1-3 Holmes 1-1 J. King 4-45 Washington 2-11 i Gazette-Journal Quarterbacks. Fred Gatlin might have played the finest half of his "Wolf Pack career In the second half. Thei junior completed 12 of 18 for 158 yards - and a touchdown. He also ran for two, scores, from one and nine yards, -to bring the Wolf Pack back from a 23-10; halftime deficit. He also ran 28 yards for-a first down on third down In the fourth; quarter. This was the first time Gatlin. has played the entire game since last-; Nov. 3, a span of 1 1 games. '. Running backs. Starters keep get- ting hurt and the Wolf Pack keeps; finding 100-yard rushers on the bench.; With sophomore Zeke Moore sidelined with a sore knee, freshman Dedric; Holmes went for 178 yards on 27 carries. Holmes picked up 166 of those yards in the second half after Eric Smith struggled in the first half, picking up just 1 7 yards on seven carries. " Moore, who was third in the Big Sky in-rushing coming into the game, said he'll; be ready for next week's game against Idaho State. "I could have played this week, but it wouldn't have been at 100 percent," he said. v Receivers. Bryan Reeves (five catches, 86 yards) and Joe King (four for 45) had their typical big days, as did Chris Singleton (five for 80). Those; three are as talented as any trio in the country. Reeves turned a possible 5-; yard pass play into a 47-yard touchdown in the first half . . The real bright spot against Idaho,; though, was the return to the passing at- tack of tight end Scott Benning. Benning ; was open all day over the middle and came up with five catches for 69 yards. "We just felt we could throw on them all day," said King. "We were confident: one of us would be open on every play.i The only ones who can stop; ourselves." ; ; -J Offensive line. Idaho defensive! end Jeff Robinson had a big first; half disrupting Gatlin. But offensive tack-; le Tony Edwards turned the tables and handled Robinson fairly easily in the; second half. The Pack gained just 23; yards on the ground in the first half, but: went for 21 8 in the second half. : Shahriar Pourdanesh, Edwards, Mitch; Baker, Tom Werbeckes and Alan Max-; well dominated with the game on the; line. The only negative was late in the game when Werbeckes injured a knee.j Ault said he is lost at least six weeks, 'or for the remainder of the regular season, Defensive line. Tackles Mike Rogers and Joe Caspers had their best game of the season as a tandem. Rog-t ers had two sacks and nearly had tweifj more and Caspers had three tackles and" knocked down two passes. Caspers always seems to come up with big plays in the big games. Defensive end George Buddy contirj- ued his steady improvement with four5 tackles and Mark Drahos pressured trie-quarterback in spurts and had a key0 sack. . t Idaho's offensive line did have a lot of' success in the first half with 175 yards,-!-but in the second half had minus-16" yards on 1 0 carries. , Linebackers. Matt Clafton (10-tackles) was the only one making plays in the first quarter on defense.-" Nick Harker added three tackles and-Tony Amantia had a couple. The Idaho receivers did find the open seams short in the middle of the UNR defense but , quarterback Doug Nussmeier usually misfired. Idaho's Devon Pearce and Ron White found plenty of room to run in the first half, but had nowhere to go in the sec-' ' ond half as Clafton, Harker and Amantia ' filled the gaps. The linebackers played well considering the Pack was in nickel- coverage almost the entire game and used just two linebackers at a time. . Secondary. It seemed like Kasey Dunn, Elia Ala'ilima-Daley and Y6 Murphy were open all afternoon, but' Nussmeier just couldn't seem to get them the ball. Nussmeier completed jusf' 11 of 31 passes for 135 yards. Corner-., back Brock Marion had a busy day with-i 12 tackles and chasing Dunn around. J And it was Marion who made the tackle of the day, dumping Murphy for a 10-"' yard loss in the second half off a lateral from Nussmeier. -" ": Forey Duckett, Reggie Robinson and1 Xavier Kairy each had four tackles. v Much of the Pack's success against Nussmeier was due to the pressure froiti " the defensive line, especially Capsers and Rogers. The defensive backs seemed to be a step behind the receivers most of the day. Special teams. Bryan Reeves averaged nearly 13 yards on six punt returns, giving the Pack good field position in the second half. Rick Schwendinger, though, did miss two short and one long field goal and his kickoffs had a, hard time getting inside the 5-yard line, ' 4 Coaching. Credit Chris Ault for the big second-half turnaround. The, Wolf Pack came out of the halftime locker room looking like a team that has been playing together for 10 years. They were cool and calm. "We just told them, 'Hey, you know what they are going to do now and this is how you stop it. Any questions?' And there were no questions. Then we told them, 'Well, this is what we are going to do. Any questions?' And they just said, 'Let's go get 'em.' Everybody was calm and not panicking." Credit Ault for keeping his team poised in its toughest test of the season. , Grades by Joe Santoro UNR-IDAHO TV TROUBLES Not Channel 4's fault: KRNV officials were fielding complaint calls rapidly in the first quarter when their broadcast of Saturday's game missed George Buddy's block of a Idaho conversion. Although the game was a simulcast with KROW 780-AM, most of the problems originated with University of Idaho camera operators at the Kibbie Dome. KRNV will broadcast two more Nevada road games: Nov. 9 at Montana and Nov. 16 at Northern Arizona. ' ' T

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