November 29, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the floor of U.S. Senate congratulating the University of Nevada Wolfpack on their upset victory of Boise State. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery.
“When you talk about the top teams in college football since the start of the century, you have to talk about Boise State University. A lot of people know about their famous blue turf and their quick, creative offense. Even casual college football fans can talk like experts about the stunning trick plays that led the Broncos over a heavily favored Oklahoma team in a 2007 bowl game.
“It is decidedly one of the most dominant programs of the decade. How dominant? Since Boise State joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2001, it had lost just four conference games in 10 years.
“On Friday night in Reno, it lost its fifth.
“Boise State came in ranked third in the country, and was on track for its third undefeated season in five years. It had a shot at the national championship. But thanks to the University of Nevada Wolf Pack and its brilliant head coach, Chris Ault, Boise State is no longer in the running. And now when you talk about the top upsets in college football, you have to talk about Nevada.
“Nevada and Boise State have been rivals for a long time – back when they played in the Big Sky and Big West Conferences, and in the Western Athletic Conference where they play today. They’ll soon leave the WAC together to join the Mountain West Conference, and the rivalry will continue. Though some recent games have been close – the 2007 one went to four overtimes – Nevada hadn’t won since 1998.
“But this year’s Nevada team has been among the best in school history. It leads the conference in offense, rushing yards and points scored. After this weekend’s win, it is ranked 14th in the country.
“Still, beating a powerhouse like Boise State was no piece of cake. No one had beaten the Broncos since December 2008. The Wolf Pack were 14-point underdogs. They were down 17-0 late in the second quarter. Then quarterback Colin Kaepernick led an incredible second-half comeback and forced overtime.
“They won the game when a 5-foot-6 freshman from McQueen High School in Reno, a young man named Anthony Martinez, kicked the most important field goal in state history.
“It wasn’t that long ago that the University of Nevada didn’t even field a Division I team. Now our proud program has knocked off one of the toughest teams in the nation.
“It’s no fluke. Coach Chris Ault is an exceptional leader and a good man. I’m proud to call him a friend.
“I’ve known Chris for a long time. When he was just 23 years old, he became the youngest high school head coach in the state, leading the Bishop Manogue Miners in Reno. I was a member of the school’s athletic booster club, and I was impressed with Chris Ault from the day I met him.
“He led the Wolf Pack as its quarterback in the 1960s, as its athletic director two decades later, and has been its head coach three times, totaling 26 years. He’s one of the smartest coaches in the country. A few years ago he invented the Pistol offense. Now schools across the nation, and even some NFL teams, are copying it.
“In fact, only two men enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame are still actively coaching at the sport’s highest level: the legendary Joe Paterno and Nevada’s Chris Ault.
“At the end of October, I was in church in Reno when a tall young man sat down next to me. It was Nevada’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, preparing himself spiritually for the next game. In Friday’s game, he became the first player in NCAA history to throw for more than 2,000 yards and run for another 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.
“Sometimes it’s true what they say – that it’s just a game. But this is one of those times when it’s much more. This remarkable, memorable win means so much for an underrated and underappreciated athletic program, for a great university and for the whole state of Nevada.
“Congratulations to Coach Ault, Colin Kaepernick, Anthony Martinez and the Wolf Pack. I never doubted you would pull it off.”