Nevada has tough task ahead as it goes up against Fresno State in college football action

After a painful loss against intrastate rival UNLV, the Nevada football team has a tough task ahead of it against one of the Western Athletic Conference's top teams in Fresno State.

The Wolf Pack (1-4, 0-1) will travel to Fresno for a 7:05 p.m. game Saturday at Bulldog Stadium. The game will be televised live by KOLO-TV Channel 8.

Nevada looks to rebound from last week's 38-7 loss against UNLV.

"People in our locker room our hurting right now," said Nevada Coach Chris Tormey after the UNLV game. "We'll use this pain to get stronger. I told them I was proud of the way the've practiced and I was proud of their effort.

"I've never been in a game like this against our rival when we weren't competitive. This is the first time it's ever happened to me, so it's tough."

Nevada continues to go through growing pains as 20 freshmen have made their debut this season. But Tormey said he still believes Nevada can compete with the Bulldogs.

"If we continue to practice the way we have and continue to get better, if we do that, good things will happen for us," he said.

Fresno State has been impressive against the Pac 10's UCLA (a 24-21 loss) and California (a 17-3 win). The Bulldogs are coming off a win in its conference opener against Rice.

Fresno State returns 15 starters from last year's team, which shared the WAC title. The game will feature two of the WAC's top quarterbacks in Fresno State's David Carr and Nevada's David Neill.

The Bulldogs also have a talented corp of receivers, including Rodney Wright. On defense, the Bulldogs are led by all-WAC returning players, tackle Alan Harper and middle linebacker Tim Skipper.

Led by Derrick Ward, who is also back this season, the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 49-24 at Reno last season. Ward rushed for 176 yards. Neill did throw for 376 yards in that contest.

Nevada is led defensively by senior co-captain Josh Smith. The middle linebacker leads the team with 53 tackles, 41 unassisted.

Among other defensive leaders are Garrett Humphrey, who is averaging two tackles for loss per game.

Punter Derek Jones also ranks second in the WAC with a 41.8-yard average.

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