Wolf Pack hunting Huskies


After coming off a near shut out of the Big West Conference’s last place team, the Huskies will invade Reno, Nev. to take on the conference’s defending champions.

The Wolf Pack of Nevada University (2-1) will be playing their first conference game of the season and first game ever versus NIU.

“This will be the most important game of the season because it is our first conference game,” said Nevada head coach Jeff Horton. “Our goal is to win the conference and get to the Las Vegas Bowl and to do that we have to beat Northern.”

Nevada will be going into Saturday’s game with tremendous momentum coming off two straight victories, including a 63-14 trouncing of Texas Southern last Saturday.

Charlie Sadler’s Huskies have some momentum coming off their first conference victory, but his defense is going to be put to the test against a top ranked passing attack.

“Our defense will play against a very potent offense which has the top receiver in the nation,” said Sadler.

Wolf Pack senior wide receiver Bryan Reeves is ranked first in receptions per game (11.0), third in receiving yards per game (147.0) and 14th in all-purpose yardage (160 ypg. average). Hopefully the defense has learned from their mistakes against Iowa State’s passing attack which managed to burn the Huskies for long touchdowns three times.

Reeves will not be the only receiving threat Nevada has to offer. Senior Michael Stephens is ranked 14th in receptions (6.7) and 22nd in yards per game (96.7) and junior Mike Senior had over 100 yards receiving last game.

This receiving corps is lead by senior quarterback Chris Vargas. After three games Vargas is 89-of-122 for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns. He is ranked fourth in total offense (358.7 ypg) and 21st in passing efficiency (156.1 rating).

“Their defense is big and strong and they chase the ball well,” said Horton. “There’s no LeShon (Johnson) on defense, but I’m impressed with the front seven. They play well against the run and rush the passer well.”

Of course the easiest way to contain their offense is to not allow them much playing time. This means a little help from the NIU offense is in order.

“We’re going to have to score points and control the ball to keep their defense on the field,” said Sadler. “Consistency in our offense has to be better.”

NIU presents a threat of its own with LeShon Johnson. Johnson is currently ranked third in the nation with 152.2 yards per game. He also is ranked fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards (185.7 ypg).

“They obviously have a great All-American in Johnson and he’s key to their deal,” Horton commented. “We have to keep number 42 from breaking long plays.”

Huskie QB Scott Crabtree is going to have to improve his dismal numbers from last week (8-of-21 for 133 yards and three interceptions). Penalties and turnovers also continue to hurt the Huskie offense.

In order to keep Nevada’s defense on the field, the offense will need to be more cautious not to get caught in third and long situations or turn the ball over. NIU has lost five-of-11 fumbles and Crabtree has thrown four interceptions in the first three games.

Word of the Prophets

^‘Rich Carlson-“Nevada’s WR’s can run circles around the Huskie backfield if their not careful. Sorry fans, Nevada 35 NIU 17.”

^’John Dietz-“Wolf Pack’s passing game will devour a tough and resilient NIU defense. Nevada 31 NIU 20. Johnson: 155 yards.”