What's that whistling sound? Just Colin Kaepernick standing in the wind.
Boise State and the Bronco Nation head to Reno this Saturday to take on the Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack. The Broncos are coming off Vandal hammering (no, pun intended) and Nevada is coming off a dominant performance against San Jose State. Most fans, like me, know little about the Wolf Pack outside of the lil General and "the fastest thing on stick legs" Colin Kaepernick. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's explore through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. For the mutual benefit of the Wolf Pack faithful, I will let you get to know us a little bit too...so take notes.
Ten things Bronco fans might not know about the Wolf Pack and their iniquitous den to the south
10. Ron Toomer, who holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from UNR, designed the first upside down roller coaster, the Corkscrew. The Corkscrew was a mainstay at Knott's Berry Farm for years, but now resides at the Silverwood amusement park in Athol, Idaho. Corkscrews are also good for popping corks...say on a champagne bottle...whilst celebrating an outright WAC title.
9. The Wolf Pack play their games at Mackay Stadium (29,993). The stadium is named for Clarence H. Mackay, the son of John W. Mackay, a silver and telegraph mogul. Clarence Mackay was an early financier of the university and gifted the school the Mackay School of Mines. Mackay was a tad eccentric, some might say...he collected medieval suits of armor, refused to marry his second wife for 15 years until his first wife died, and disinherited his daughter after she married composer Irving Berlin.
8. The oldest secret society at the University of Nevada-Reno is the Coffin and Keys Society, which was founded in 1916. The club was formed to be "a force to give the proper impetus to affairs of school life". Currently, the society appears to be mainly involved in putting t-shirts on statues, arranging canned food in decorative ways, and lounging in jaunty caps and Halloween masks. Spooky.
7. The UNR football program has produced an NFL Hall of Famer in fullback Marion Motley. Motley was only the second African American player inducted into the Hall of Fame after playing nine years in the league with the Steelers and Browns. During Motley's tenure with the Browns, in which he played fullback and linebacker, the Browns were 47-4-3 and won every championship in the AAFC. Sounds like Motley had quite the Crüe.
6. Each year, UNR and UNLV battle on the gridiron for the Fremont Cannon. The cannon goes to the victor of the contest for a year and it's undercarriage is painted in the winning school's colors. The cannon is a replica of the howitzer cannon that explorer John Fremont and his party hauled west and abandoned in the Sierra Nevada in 1844. Fremont was also the first Republican nominee for President of the United States...he didn't win, of course—maybe the nation was looking for a leader that didn't just leave cannons lying around.
5. Archaeological digs show that ancient native Americans known as the Martis, lived in the area where Reno now stands. The Martis resided in the area from 3,000 BC to 500 AD. Man, they just missed Chris Ault.
4. The UNR campus was the setting for five motion pictures in the 1940s, among the tititles: Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble, Apartment for Peggy, Mother is a freshman, and Mr. Belvedere goes to College (no, not that Mr. Belvedere), which was one of Shirley Temple's last films.
3. Nevada coach Chris Ault, "inventor" of the Pistol offense, is one of only 4 active coaches that have already been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The other 3 are Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, and Joe Gagliardi. If that doesn't sound like an advertising dream team for Geritol® and Efferdent®, I don't know what does.
2. UNR football's first All-American (1923) was James "Rabbit" Bradshaw. No relation to this guy OR this guy.
1. Boise State has clinched outright WAC titles in Reno in every even numbered year since 2002. The Wolf Pack haven't had a sellout at Mackay since 2003. The Wolf Pack have the number one rushing offense in the country and Boise State has the number 2 scoring defense in the country. Boise State has not lost to the Wolf Pack since 1998. Something's
gotta gonna give on Saturday...excited yet?
Ten things Wolf Pack fans might not know about the Broncos and their heavenly home to the north
10. Idaho governor C.L. "Butch" Otter is an alum of Boise Junior College where he played linebacker for legendary Bronco coach Lyle Smith. Otter didn't stuff the run...he vetoed it.
9. Former Boise State cornerback DaWuan Miller had only one arm. He had several key interceptions in the 1994 Division 1-AA playoffs that helped get the Broncos to the national championship game. Looks like the arm he was left with was his good arm. Amazing.
8. Former Bronco QB Jared Zabransky once told ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit that he could throw a potato 80 yards. The comment found its way into the NCAA Football 07 game when Herbstreit, doing the voice over work says at random points in games "That reminds me of the time that kid at the Liberty Bowl told me he could throw a potato 80 yards."
7. Boise had it's very own "trial of the century" in 1907, when the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners labor union went on trial accused of hiring assassin Harry Orchard to kill Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg.
6. Boise's Statehouse building is heated geothermally by underground hotsprings. Most hot springs I've ever been to are rife with scantily clad hippies...can't imagine who you'd meet at an underground one.
5. Hollywood director Michael Hoffman is a Boise State alum and was the school's first Rhodes Scholar. He won two Oscars for the film Restoration, but I think his finest work is the documentary film Out of the Blue, which is about Boise State's undefeated 2006 season...oops, I just spoiled the ending.
4. Boise State has been shutout only twice in football, the last coming against Washington State in 1997. Boise State registered two shutouts over their opponents just last year. 20 of Boise State's 24 opponent shutouts since 1968 have occurred at home. Their most lopsided win ever? The first ever game on the blue turf: a 74-0 win over Humboldt State which answered once and for all the question, "can Hippies play football?"
3. Since 1973, Boise State has won 13 conference championships including 5 straight WAC titles from 2002 to 2006. Prior to 1968, they competed in the JC ranks, and as stated before...were a dominant force at 153-25-6 and winning the JC national championship in 1958. Boise State won the 1-AA national championship in 1980 by defeating Eastern Kentucky and played in the championship again in 1994, but lost to a Jim Tressel-led Youngstown State.
2. Boise State sophomore wideout Austin Pettis is the nephew of former major league baseball player Gary Pettis. Gary Pettis still holds the record for most stolen bases in the Angels organization (186)...Austin holds the Boise State record for stealing the most corner fade routes from defensive backs (all of them).
1. Boise State freshman QB Kellen Moore set state records for career completions (787), career touchdown passes (173), completions in a season (317), passing yards in a season (4,600) and touchdown passes in a season (67) at Prosser High, in Washington, but he never won state. His brother Kirby, who will join Kellen on the Blue next season, recently became the national record holder for receiving TDs in a career. Something in the water in Prosser, Washington besides apple residue.
That's about the long and short of it...apologies for the delay this week...one of my biggest resources was out of commission so I had to wing this one and bring back some oldies-but-goodies.
What's that whistling sound? Just Colin Kaepernick standing in the wind.