In 1978, Boise State along with the rest of the Big Sky Conference schools was reclassified NCAA Division 1AA in football from the NCAA Division 2 status. 1978 was one of the few years that Boise State and Nevada did not play a football game. The University of Nevada was also reclassified in Division 1AA in football and joined the Big Sky Conference in 1979.
Boise State won the first game in the series in Boise 10 to 7. The head coach of the Broncos was Tony Knap and the head coach of the Wolf Pack was Jerry Scattini. From 1971 to 1975, these two coaches faced each other and Tony Knap's teams' would come out on top in 4 of the 5 contests.
In 1976, Boise State hired Jim Criner to coach the Broncos and the University of Nevada hired a young Nevada former player named Chris Ault. Chris Ault went on to become the most successful football coach in the history of Nevada football. He took his Wolf Pack to the NCAA Division 1AA National Championship game in 1990 after defeating the Boise State Broncos in a triple overtime in a NCAA semi-final playoff game. Chris Ault would retire as football coach in 1995 and assume responsibilities as the Nevada athletic director. Chris Ault's personal won-loss record versus the Broncos was 8 wins and 10 losses. Boise State was the only Big Sky team to have a winning record over Nevada.
Nevada became the first football playing member of the Big Sky Conference to leave the Big Sky for NCAA Division 1A football. Nevada joined the Big West Conference in 1992. Boise State and Nevada did not play a game in 1992, but the series was continued in 1993 and 1994. Boise State and Nevada did not play in 1995, but resumed play as members of the Big West Conference in 1996 when both the University of Idaho and Boise State University joined the Big West Conference and became NCAA Division 1A members.
Jeff Tisdel was the Nevada head coach in 1996 and his Nevada teams beat the Broncos 3 consecutive times from 1996 to 1998 becoming the only Nevada coach to have a winning record (3-1) against the Broncos. Tisdel's Nevada team lost the game to Boise in 1999, and Tisdel was replaced by Idaho's head football coach, Chris Tormey. Nevada also left the Big West Conference in 2000 joining the rapidly changing Western Athletic Conference. Boise State and Nevada did not play in 2000, but started play in 2001 as conference members again, this time members of the WAC.
Former Idaho coach, Chris Tormey was the head coach of Nevada in 2001 when Boise State and Nevada first met on gridiron as WAC members. While Tormey was head coach of Nevada, the Broncos beat Nevada three times by lopsided scores. In 2001, it was 49 to 7, 44 to 7 in 2002, and 56 to 3 in 2003. After the 2003 loss to Boise State, Nevada Athletic Director Chris Ault fired Coach Tormey, hired himself as head football coach, then resigned as athletic director.
Chris Ault would coach his Nevada team to a 58 to 21 loss in the final game of the 2004 season, bringing his all time record against Boise State to 8 – 11.
A Brief Look: The Nevada Wolf Pack
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