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WAC Players to Watch Blog

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 2, 2008


The WAC players to watch and to look out for in each week's games.

WAC Players Blog

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By Erik Lord

Fresno State…(Note:  First game is Monday, Sept. 1st)  Fresno State LB Ben Jacobs.  With the departure of LB Marcus Riley, the team’s leading tackler and 2007 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, Jacobs (a 6-3, 225 lb sophomore) will have to improve on his breakout performance last year (81 tackles) and put pressure on Rutgers QB Mike Teel, and help to slow down the talented cast of Scarlet Knight receivers.

Hawaii…Hawaii QB Inoke Funaki was listed third on the depth chart for the Florida game last week.  When he finally got on the field, after signal-callers Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch struggled, Funaki showed why he was named the Warriors’ starter out of spring ball—leading Hawaii to its only two scores of the game.  Look for Funaki to lead Hawaii Saturday against the Wildcats of Weber State.

Idaho…Idaho redshirt sophomore QB Nathan Enderle.  Enderle (6-5, 225), showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, although he completed too many passes to the opponent (18) as Idaho finished last in the WAC in pass efficiency.  After a tough season opener against PAC-10 Arizona, with 0 TD and 3 INT, Enderle comes home to face in-state rival Idaho State.  He should have a big game against an overmatched Bengals secondary that allowed Boise State to throw at will for 352 yards and 3 TDs.

Louisiana Tech…Bulldogs’ Special Teams Units.  Kansas is balanced on offense and defense and has tremendous speed.  If Louisiana Tech has any advantage on the field it will be the element that helped them upset Mississippi State in the season opener—special teams.  The Bulldogs’ special teams units are truly special, featuring a pair of flashy returners—WR Phillip Livas and WR Phillip Beck—along with power-legged P Chris Keagle who will play a huge role in establishing field position.

Nevada…Nevada WR Marko Mitchell and WR Mike McCoy.  Mitchell and McCoy, both seniors, are good playmakers who have the ability to stretch the field (they finished 2007 as #1 and #2 in the WAC, respectively, for receiving yards per catch).  Against Texas Tech, who has a stout run defense, the pair will have plenty of opportunities to make big plays through the air.

New Mexico State…GAME CANCELLED

San Jose State…Spartans junior QB Kyle Reed.  Reed, a 6-3 transfer from Cal, stepped in last week to guide the Spartans to a comeback win against U.C. Davis—capped off by a thrilling TD pass with eight seconds left in the 4th quarter.  Reed, whose heroic efforts have catapulted him from third to first on the depth chart, will have to be terrific this week as San Jose State travels to Lincoln for a showdown with Nebraska.  The Huskers have shown susceptibility through the air, so Reed should have a decent day if he can limit the turnovers.

Utah State…Utah State senior LB Jake Hutton and junior LB Paul Igboeli.  It’s Oregon.  Sure, it’s not the Oregon of early last year—the Ducks have no proven quarterback to turn to with Dennis Dixon graduated, Nate Costa out for the season (knee), and Justin Roper questionable for Saturday (concussion).  But the Ducks have no shortage of playmakers, and RB Jeremiah Johnson is electric.  The Aggies will answer with two of the best linebackers in the nation—Butkus Award hopefuls Hutton and Igboeli.