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Arizona football: Cats in way of Nevada's last goal

Wolf Pack's top priority checked; bowl win is next
2012-12-05T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:12:57Z Arizona football: Cats in way of Nevada's last goalPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 05, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Written on signs throughout Nevada's locker room, on the playbooks distributed each week and on handbooks handed out every year are three distinct goals.

"Coach (Chris) Ault is a goal-oriented leader, and I love that about him, to be able to see those goals in front of you," tackle Jeff Nady said. "They start with, win your in-state rivalry.

"Our next one was to win the Mountain West Conference. The last is to win a bowl game."

The Wolf Pack beat UNLV but didn't win their league.

"We can still finish our season two out of three," Nady said.

When they play the Arizona Wildcats in the Dec. 15 New Mexico Bowl, the Wolf Pack will be participating in their eighth straight postseason game.

"This becomes a signature game against a Pac-12 team," Ault told reporters Monday. "The beauty of this bowl game is that there's no motivation needed. They're a good football team."

Nevada has won only two bowl games during its run - in 2005 against Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl, and in 2010 against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Ault refuted any talk of revenge; Nevada lost to New Mexico in the new Mexico Bowl five years ago.

"When you got to a bowl game, every year's a new year," he said. "With this football team, I'm thankful we've got that opportunity."

The coach called his own defensive unit "inconsistent," both this year and for the past four seasons.

He still seemed annoyed Nevada - which begins practice today to prepare for the bowl - had lost home games by one to both South Florida and San Diego State this year.

"You're doggone right we should have won," Ault said. "We should be at a minimum of nine wins, but we aren't."

The coach said the Wildcats are "probably, talent-wise, a little bit better than Fresno" State, which beat the Wolf Pack by 16.

"They've got the leading rusher in the country," he said. "I think they run the ball extremely well.

"Their quarterback is second-team all-Pac-12. Two big receivers on the outside. They've got some nice talent, without question."

So does Nevada, which, until losing 27-21 to Boise State on Saturday, was the only team in the nation to score 30 or more points in every game this season.

Nady said he is "looking forward to" playing a team with Arizona's "talent level" in the bowl.

"To make it to a bowl game is an awesome thing," he said. "A lot of people aren't playing another game. That right there is a privilege."

Bowl prowess

Nevada's New Mexico Bowl game against the Arizona Wildcats is the Wolf Pack's eighth straight postseason appearance. Here's how they fared:

Year Rec. Bowl

2011 7-6 Lost Hawaii Bowl to Southern Miss 24-17

2010 13-1 Won Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Boston College 20-13

2009 8-5 Lost Hawaii Bowl to Southern Methodist 45-10

2008 7-6 Lost Humanitarian Bowl to Maryland 42-35

2007 6-7 Lost New Mexico Bowl to New Mexico 23-0

2006 8-5 Lost MPC Computers Bowl to Miami 21-20

2005 9-3 Won Hawaii Bowl against Central Florida 49-48

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Pac-12 South football standings

Team W L T PCT
Utah 6 1 0 0.857
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857
ASU 6 1 0 0.857
UCLA 6 2 0 0.750
USC 5 3 0 0.625
Colorado 3 5 0 0.375

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 7 1 0 0.875
Stanford 5 3 0 0.625
Washington 5 3 0 0.625
Oregon State 4 3 0 0.571
Cal 4 4 0 0.500
Washington State 2 6 0 0.250
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