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Crunch Time for the Pack
by Tribune Staff
Oct 15, 2010 | 1728 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune File/John Byrne - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks down field for a receiver during a game on Aug. 28, 2008. Nevada's skills will be tested today against Hawaii.
Tribune File/John Byrne - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks down field for a receiver during a game on Aug. 28, 2008. Nevada's skills will be tested today against Hawaii.
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At 8:30 p.m. today, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Wolf Pack football team might face its toughest test of the season. The team will go up against the University of Hawaii, which currently is leading the nation in passing offense.

This year, thus far, Nevada has shown a great improvement in passing defense, which used to be its Achilles heel. Whether or not it has improved to the point where it can contain Hawaii’s vaunted air attack will be the focus of tonight’s game.

As the Wolf Pack continues to rise in the national standings, a win over Hawaii would further boost the team and drive its record this year to the 7-0 mark.

There is little question that Nevada, because of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua, is one of the more awesome scoring machines today in the collegiate football scene. However, Nevada has failed to cover the spread in its last two outings and that is a point of concern to head coach Chris Ault, who has stated that the team has not played up to its potential. Main cause for that in the last game against San Jose State were some bad penalties against the Silver and Blue. The penalties were well earned as instant replay attested and in one series they resulted in three Nevada touchdowns being called back — which might be some sort of NCAA record. The penalties were followed by a missed field goal, which further added to Ault’s agitation.

Fortunately, the last two outings were against less-talented squads, so maybe the Pack was lucky that its miscues occurred when they did.

On the other side of the coin, results so far in the 2010 college football season have added to Nevada’s luster. First, Nevada beats Cal by two touchdowns, then UCLA dismantles Texas by using the Nevada-style pistol offense, then Cal destroys UCLA in a PAC 10 game. By the simplest of extrapolations that should put Nevada far ahead of both UCLA and Texas.

Playing tonight in Hawaii, the Silver and Blue will be experiencing some jet lag as kickoff time there will be a normal halftime at Mackay Stadium in Reno. Additionally, the Pack usually has not fared well on the island.

Another foreboding sign is the fact that Hawaii traveled to the mainland last week and completely demolished what was thought to be a very strong Fresno State.

Tonight’s game will be well worth following even if you are not a die-hard Nevada fan.

Horsing around

Whether or not you are a horse lover, you will be interested in the current exhibit at the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Running from Sept. 15 through March 31, this exhibit is featuring horses on the road, on the ranch, on the farm, on the range, on the trail, at camp, in the movies, in books, in rodeos, in parades and in the family. Probably the most interesting of the above categories to this writer is the fact that during the showing there will be a special screening of “The Misfits” movie sometimes in February 2011. That event will include a discussion of the picture and has been scheduled to honor the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. For those who participated in the production of “The Misfits” it will be a fine opportunity to recount some of the memorable incidents that occurred in northern Nevada in the summer of 1960 when the film crew was here for location shooting.

A few weeks back, Dayton held a memorable celebration of the film because many of the key scenes were shot there.

On a couple of occasions, this writer and retired state archivist Guy Rocha have had the opportunity to participate in seminars on “The Misfits.”

As the flyer for the exhibit at the university states, “Horses have played a major role in almost all aspects of Nevada’s development – in mining, farming, ranching, transportation and tourism. Controversies relating to the management of wild horses on public lands have also been part of Nevada’s history for several decades, and stories and images of wild horses occupy a prominent place in popular culture.”

The exhibit also pays tribute to Nevada’s internationally known wild horse advocate Velma Johnson, who was more popularly known as “Wild Horse Annie” throughout the world.

Celebrity corner

If, like this writer, you used to lie in your Army cot in South Korea in 1946 and wait for the Armed Forces Radio disc jockey to announce that Doris Day will now sing “Sentimental Journey,” which is dedicated to Sgt. Spencer who is returning to the United States next week, then you would have thoroughly enjoyed the recent show “In The Mood” at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno. In addition to “Sentimental Journey,” the magnificent 20 plus-piece orchestra performed more than 50 – count them – 50 of the most popular tunes of the World War II era.

The fine orchestra, which was reminiscent of the bands that played with the major stars that appeared in floor shows here; stars including Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole, Andy Williams and the Mills Brothers. The orchestra was ably abetted by male and female singers and dancers who performed to the old tunes. Glen Miller, Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman and Harry James were but a few of the top purveyors of music in that era that were carefully recreated for the Pioneer show. Too bad that type of show business has all but disappeared today.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer’s column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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