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WAC NOTES--BOISE STATE 9TH IN BCS RANKINGS

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Courtesy: WAC     Release: 11/24/2008 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK Boise State wide receiver Austin Pettis, a sophomore from Anaheim, Calif. (Lutheran HS), caught a career-high nine passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in Boise State’s 41-34 win at Nevada.  He had an 18-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter to give Boise State a 24-3 lead at the half and then added a diving 10-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter after Nevada had pulled within seven points.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK Hawaii linebacker Solomon Elimimian, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif. (Crenshaw HS), had a season-high 13 tackles (10 solo), including 2.5 for a loss of six yards, in a 42-17 win over Idaho.  Elimimian also tipped a pass that was intercepted by a teammate which led to a Hawaii touchdown in the third quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK Louisiana Tech running back Keith Brown, a senior from Shreveport, La. (Byrd HS), made two solo tackles on kick returns and blocked a punt that was recovered and returned for a touchdown by a teammate in Louisiana Tech’s 35-31 win at New Mexico State.  Brown blocked the punt in the second quarter to help give the Bulldogs a 28-10 lead.  He made the tackles on kickoff coverage and stopped the Aggie returner at the 14-yard line both times.
 
Others nominated on offense:
Anthony Harding, Jr., RB, Fresno State - rushed for 99 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the win at San Jose State.
Greg Alexander, Jr., QB, Hawaii - completed 14-of-24 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Idaho.  He also scored a rushing touchdown.
Phillip Livas, So., WR, Louisiana Tech - caught four passes for 88 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for times for 35 yards and another score in the win at New Mexico State.  He caught the game-winning 68-yard touchdown pass with 3:52 left in the contest.
Chase Holbrook, Sr., QB, New Mexico State - completed 45-of-59 passes for 486 yards and four touchdowns in the game against Louisiana Tech.
 
Also nominated on defense:
Jeron Johnson, Sr., S, Boise State - had 13 tackles (9 solo) in the win at Nevada.
Chris Carter, So., DE, Fresno State - made eight tackles, including one sack, and helped limit San Jose State to minus five yards rushing.
Christian Lacey, Fr., De, Louisiana Tech - had three tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 12 yards, in the win at New Mexico State.  His second sack came on a fourth down play with less than a minute remaining to seal the victory.
 
Additional special teams nominations:
Kyle Wilson, Jr., PR, Boise State - returned six punts for 70 yards (11.7 average) with a long of 39 in the game at Nevada.
Robert Malone, So., P, Fresno State - punted six times for a 46.8-yard average and had three downed inside the 10-yard line in the game at San Jose State.  He also hit a career-long 74-yarder in the second quarter.
Tim Grasso, Sr., P, Hawaii - punted five times for a 43.8-yard average and had two downed inside the 20 against Idaho.  He had two punts of over 50 yards.

BRONCOS WIN TITLE OUTRIGHT Boise State won at Nevada, 41-34, to claim the WAC championship outright.  The Broncos are 7-0 with one game remaining against Fresno State on Friday.  It’s the fifth time that Boise State has won the title outright and the Broncos’ sixth title in the past seven years.  In each of its previous outright titles, Boise State was 8-0 in conference play (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006; shared title in 2005 with 7-1 mark).

BRONCOS UNDEFEATED AGAIN Even years have been good to Boise State recently.  In 2004, Boise State was 11-0 in the regular season before losing to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl.  In 2006, the Broncos ran the table and were the only undefeated team in the nation with a 13-0 mark after a victory in the Fiesta Bowl.  In 2008, Boise State is again undefeated at 11-0.  With a 7-0 record in conference play, the Broncos are also looking to post a perfect 8-0 mark in the WAC for the fifth time since 2002.

WAC WITH FIVE BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS For the first time since 2004, the WAC has five bowl eligible teams: Boise State, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Nevada and San Jose State.  Hawaii would become the sixth if it wins one of its two remaining games.  The last time the WAC had six bowl eligible teams was in 1998 when it had seven (four of those played in bowls).  The most teams the WAC has ever had participate in bowl games was in 1992 when it had five.

BOISE STATE 9TH IN BCS RANKINGS In the fifth BCS rankings, Boise State remained 9th for the third straight week.  The Broncos have an average computer ranking of 10th as they are ranked 8th by Anderson & Hester, 11th by Billingsley, 10th by Colley, 11th by Massey, 12th by Sagarin and 9th by Wolfe.  The BCS poll throws out the best and worst computer ranking to get the average and factors in the USA Today and Harris polls to calculate the BCS rankings.  Boise State earns an automatic bid into one of the BCS bowls if it is the highest ranked non-BCS team ranked in the top 12 of the BCS poll at the end of the regular season or if ranked in the top 16 and is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.  In the sixth rankings of 2007, Hawaii was 15th and in 2006, Boise State was 11th.

NATIONAL POLLS Following its win at Nevada, Boise State remained ninth in all three polls: AP, USA Today (coaches) and Harris Interactive.  Boise State’s ranking of ninth is the highest the Broncos have ever been ranked during the regular season.  Boise State has been ranked in the top 25 at least once in each of the last seven seasons.  At least one team from the WAC has been in the polls every week since Sept. 17, 2006 (43 consecutive polls).

2008 BOWL LINEUP The WAC is affiliated with three bowl games this season. WAC teams will play in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M. against a Mountain West opponent, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu against a Pac-10 opponent and in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho versus a team from the ACC.

WAC SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH POINSETTIA BOWL San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl officials announced they have signed a contingency agreement with the WAC that impacts the 2008 and 2009 bowl games.  The contract stipulates that if the bowl’s agreement with the Pac-10 doesn’t yield a bowl eligible team with six or more wins, then the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will get a team from the WAC.  The bowl’s primary agreement with the Pac-10 calls for the San Diego postseason game to receive the seventh place team. The WAC agreement is activated only if that team fails to reach the required six wins.  This year’s game will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 5:00 p.m. (PT) and will be shown on ESPN.

BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Since 1997, the WAC has been an official part of the Bowl Championship Series. The WAC champion will receive an automatic berth in one of the five BCS bowl games if ranked in the top 12 of the BCS Standings (and is the highest ranked team from a conference without an automatic bid) or if ranked in the top 16 of the BCS Standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls. The BCS Standings are determined by a formula involving polls and computer rankings. This year’s National Championship Game will be played in Miami on Jan. 8, 2009.

WAC OWNS THIRD BEST SIX-YEAR BOWL WINNING PERCENTAGE Over the last six years, the WAC has the third best winning percentage in bowl games of any conference in the nation. The WAC has sent 22 teams to postseason games from 2002-07 and those teams won 54.5 percent of their games with a 12-10 record. WAC teams won one of four bowl games in 2007, three of four games in 2006, one of three games in 2005, two of four games in 2004, three of four in 2003 and two of three in 2002. During this six-year span, WAC teams are 7-4 in bowl games against teams from conferences that have an automatic berth into the BCS.

WAC TOPS NATION IN ALL-TIME BOWL RECORDS The WAC’s nine teams have an all-time record of 33-27-2 (.548) in bowl games. That winning percentage is the best among the 11 FBS conferences based on current membership. The ACC is second at .529 followed by the SEC (.528) and Pac-10 (.523).

TWO WAC PLAYERS RANKED NUMBER ONE In this week’s NCAA stats, the WAC has two players leading the nation in statistical categories.  New Mexico State defensive back Derrick Richardson ranks number one in tackles per game with 12.7 while Idaho’s T.J. Conley is the country’s top punter with a 47.4-yard average.

HOLBROOK ONE OF TOP QUARTERBACKS IN THE NATION New Mexico State senior quarterback Chase Holbrook is ranked in the top five in several national active career leader categories.  In his third year at the FBS level, Holbrook is second in attempts per game (43.7), completions per game (30.3), completions (1,062) and yards per game (333.8), third in total yards (11,683), completion percentage (69.46) and attempts (1,529) and fourth in touchdown passes (85).

IAN JOHNSON ACTIVE RUSHING TOUCHDOWN LEADER Boise State senior running back Ian Johnson is the nation’s active leader in career rushing touchdowns with 55.  He is second in overall touchdowns scored with 56.  Johnson is fifth in rushing yards with 4,028.  He became the fourth WAC running back to reach 4,000 yards joining LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1997-00; Steve Bartalo, Colorado State, 1983-86; and Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991-93.

NON-CONFERENCE The WAC is 17-18 (.486) in non-conference games this season. WAC teams have competed against the Big East (1-0), Big Sky (3-0), Big Ten (0-1), Big 12 (0-5), Conference USA (2-0), Great West (1-0), FBS Independents (0-1), MAC (2-1), Mountain West (2-5), Pac-10 (2-4), SEC (1-1), Southland (1-0) and SWAC (2-0).  The WAC is 1-8 versus AP top-25 non-conference opponents as Hawaii lost at No. 5 Florida on Aug. 30, Utah State lost at No. 18 Oregon on Sept. 6, Louisiana Tech lost at No. 14 Kansas on Sept. 6, Nevada lost to No. 12 Texas Tech on Sept. 6, Nevada lost at No. 6 Missouri on Sept. 13, Utah State lost to No. 22 Utah on Sept. 13, Fresno State lost to No. 10 Wisconsin on Sept. 13, Boise State beat No. 17 Oregon on Sept. 20, and Utah State lost to No. 8 BYU on Oct. 3.

TEAMS RACK UP VICTORIES Since the 2003 football season, the WAC’s top teams have established themselves as some of the most successful programs west of the Mississippi River. Boise State has won 67 games over the last six years while Hawaii has 51 wins, Fresno State has 46 and Nevada has 40. Only USC (68) has won more than Boise State. There are 53 Division IA programs west of the Mississippi that include all of the teams from the WAC, Big 12, Mountain West and Pac-10 and several teams from the Big Ten, Conference USA, SEC and Sun Belt.

WAC TRIO WITH 164 WINS Boise State, Fresno State and Hawaii have combined for 164 victories since the 2003 season. That total is the fifth most of any FBS conference’s top trio.

WAC COACHES THIRD IN NATION The WAC’s nine coaches have averaged 71 wins over their careers, the fifth best average as a group of all FBS conferences’ coaches.

COACHES MOVING UP RECORD LISTS A couple of WAC coaches are working their way up the NCAA coaching record lists. Nevada head coach Chris Ault is in his 24th season as a head coach and is 197-90-1, the sixth winningest active coach in the FBS. San Jose State’s Dick Tomey is the eighth winningest active coach as he is in his fourth year with the Spartans and 28th overall with a record of 181-135-7. Tomey previously won 63 games at Hawaii from 1977-86 and 95 games at Arizona from 1987-2000. Tomey has coached 323 games, the fourth most among active coaches. In WAC games only, Fresno State head coach Pat Hill has 64 conference victories, the fourth most in league history while Tomey has 48 WAC wins, the sixth most.

HARRIS, PAYSINGER NAMED WUERFFEL TROPHY FINALISTS Louisiana Tech senior linebacker Quin Harris and San Jose State senior center Justin Paysinger are two of only 13 finalists for the 2008 Wuerffel Trophy announced last week.  The prestigious award is presented to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.  A committee that includes the Wuerffel Trophy national directors and selection committee members will vote on the finalists later this month, and the winner will be formally announced on December 9.

ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT A total of nine WAC football players were named to the 2008 first-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District teams.  Members of CoSIDA voted on the selections.  To be eligible for the teams, a player must have at least a 3.20 GPA and play in 50 percent of his team’s games.  Those named will now move on to the Academic All-American ballot which will be released later this month.

Academic All-District First Team Members
Richie Brockel, Jr., RB, Boise State (District 8)
T.J. Conley, Sr., P, Idaho (District 8)
Dallas Dobbs, Gr., LB, Boise State (District 8)
Moses Harris, Jr., DB, Fresno State (District 8)
Quin Harris, Gr., LB, Louisiana Tech (District 6)
Derek Hoke, Gr., OL, Utah State (District 8)
Andrew Jackson, So., OL, Fresno State (District 8)
Vince Pascoe, So., RB, Fresno State (District 8)
Vinny Perretta, Sr., WR, Boise State (District 8)

ALL-WAC TEAMS The 2008 all-WAC teams will be announced on Monday, Dec. 1.  A first and second team will be selected as voted upon by the nine head coaches.  The Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will also be announced at that time.

GUY TO STEP DOWN AT END OF YEAR Utah State AD Scott Barnes announced Monday that head football coach Brent Guy will step down as the Aggies’ head coach effective at the end of the season. USU has one game left on its schedule as the Aggies host New Mexico State on Saturday, Nov. 29.  Guy is finishing his fourth season at the helm of the Aggies, posting an 8-38 record, including 2-9 this year.  USU is currently in seventh-place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 2-5 league record.  Guy has been head coach of the Aggies’ all four years of their tenure in the WAC, compiling a 7-24 conference record under him.

TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

(9/9) Boise State Broncos (11-0, 7-0 WAC)
Has held its WAC opponents to 84 points ... the WAC record for an eight-game season is 89 set by TCU in 1999 ... held Nevada to 144 rushing yards, 181 yards below its average ... has recorded 11 or more wins in five of the past seven seasons ... its 34 wins since 2006 are the most in the nation ... is 59-4 all-time in WAC games ... has won 48 consecutive regular season home games, including 37 straight in conference ... has won 37 of its last 38 home games (.974), the best home winning percentage in the nation since 2003 ... is the highest scoring team in the nation since 2000 averaging 41.38 points over 112 games ... Kyle Brotzman has made all 115 of his PATs, an on-going school record (the WAC record is 128).

Fresno State Bulldogs (7-4, 4-3 WAC)
Tom Brandstater was 5-of-18 for 71 yards in the game at San Jose State ... he completed passes to five different receivers, but none to leading receiver Seyi Ajirotutu who had his 23-game streak of catching at least one pass snapped ... Anthony Harding has exactly 200 yards rushing over his past two games with 101 two weeks ago and 99 last week ... junior KR A.J. Jefferson is the nation’s active career leader in average yards per kickoff return at 33.38 and is tied for the career lead in touchdowns scored via kick return with 3 ... the Bulldogs have 42 blocked kicks since 2002, the most in the nation in that time ... has 14 BCS wins since 2000, tied for the second most among non-BCS teams during that time.

Hawaii Warriors (6-5, 5-3 WAC)
Had seven sacks against Idaho, tied for the most by a WAC team this year ... Greg Alexander hooked up with Malcolm Lane for an 82-yard touchdown pass against Idaho, the eighth longest pass play in school history ... senior LB Solomon Elimimian is the WAC’s active leader in career tackles with 404 ... he is second among active players in the nation and 40 shy of breaking the WAC record of 443 set by UTEP’s Robert Rodriguez (2001-04) ... UH is 24-0 when scoring 40 or more points since 2005 ... has won 12 of its last 13 home games and 20 of 22 ... played six road games this year, the most since 2003 ... is 9-3 in WAC road games since 2006 ... has posted a non-losing season in WAC play for the eighth year in a row.

Idaho Vandals (2-10, 1-7 WAC)
Opened with a 14-play, 74-yard touchdown drive in the game at Hawaii ... Tino Amancio tied his career-long with a 52-yard field goal, tied for the second longest by a WAC kicker this season ... Amancio became the first Vandal to make every PAT attempt in his career with 82, which includes 29 this season ... senior T.J. Conley punted four times for 203 yards at Hawaii and remains the national leader with a 47.4-yard average ... his 220 career punts are seventh most among active players ... true freshman Kama Bailey became Idaho’s single-season kickoff return yardage leader with 902 yards ... senior C Adam Korby started every game Idaho played during his career (47) ... has lost 14 straight road games, the third longest streak in the nation.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-4, 5-2 WAC)
Phillip Livas’ 68-yard touchdown reception against New Mexico State was the first passing TD by a Tech wide receiver this year ... has averaged nearly 35 points per game during its four-game win streak ... senior RB Patrick Jackson is the WAC’s active career leader, tied for sixth in the nation among active players, 11th all-time in WAC history and second in Tech history in all-purpose yards with 5,017 ... junior DB Antonio Baker has averaged 8.4 tackles per game in his career, the 10th best among active players in the nation ... senior PR Philip Beck has averaged 14.86 yards per punt return in his career, the best among active players in the nation ... junior DL D’Anthony Smith is tied for first as the nation’s active career leader in assisted sacks with 10.

Nevada Wolf Pack (6-5, 4-3 WAC)
With 241 passing yards against Boise State, Colin Kaepernick became the fifth different player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in a season ... only two teams have averaged 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing per game in a season (Houston, 1968 and Arizona State, 1973) ... Nevada is currently averaging 308.5 yards rushing and 203.0 yards passing per game ...  Kaepernick has 16 rushing touchdowns on the season while Vai Taua has 15 ... senior WR Marko Mitchell has caught a pass in 25 straight games and in 36 of the 37 games in his career ... senior PK Brett Jaekle is first in the nation in active career extra point attempts with 211 ... his 351 career points are the fourth most among active players nationally.

New Mexico State Aggies (3-8, 1-6 WAC)
Trailed 28-10 at Louisiana Tech before scoring three straight touchdowns to take a 31-28 lead ... senior QB Chase Holbrook has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game 24 times and 400 yards 10 times in his career ... he has 85 career TD passes, the most in NMSU history ... Holbrook cracked the 3,000-yard passing mark for the third straight season, tying an NCAA record ... senior A.J. Harris is the school’s all-time career leader in receptions with 263, the second most of any active player in the nation and tied for 17th most in NCAA history ... he has caught a pass in 44 straight games, the longest streak in the WAC ... senior Chris Williams is second among active players in the nation in career receiving yards (3,537).

San Jose State Spartans (6-6, 4-4 WAC)
Ater a 5-2 start, finished the regular season losing four of its last five games ... against Fresno State, senior Sean Flynn made his first start at quarterback and was 20-of-36 for 170 yards ... SJSU was held to negative rushing yards for the second straight week with minus five against Fresno State (-23 versus Nevada the previous week) ... senior DT Jarron Gilbert’s 41.5 career tackles for loss are the most among active players in the WAC and are a school record ... senior DB Christopher Owens has 13 interceptions in his career, tied for the eighth most among the nation’s active players, but has not had one since the opening game of this season ... head coach Dick Tomey is the first vice-president of the American Football Coaches Association this season.

Utah State Aggies (2-9, 2-5 WAC)
In its last game, trailed 35-17 in the third quarter before scoring three straight touchdowns to take a 38-35 lead in the Louisiana Tech game ... the 10 points in the first quarter were USU’s most in the opening stanza this season and the most since 10 in the Hawai’i game last season, a span of 18 games ... freshman Robert Turbin’s three rushing touchdowns were the most by an Aggie since Emmett White had three in a game against Weber State on Nov. 17, 2001 ... has 15 TD passes this season, four more than its total from all of last year ... Otis Nelson has caught a pass in 29 straight games, the third longest active streak in the WAC ... senior LB Jake Hutton has averaged 8.4 tackles per game in his career, the ninth best among active players in the nation.