Regular Season Finale

There are six straight home wins, and five consecutive Western Athletic Conference victories.

Then, there's this: Another successful outing in Ruston on Saturday would give the program its first eight-win season in 10 years.

You could argue that all of its started with one of the most deflating losses in recent memory at Tech --- its shellacking in the 2007 finale at Nevada.

Not only did that knock the Bulldogs out of postseason contention in Derek Dooley's initial year at the helm, it humbled them.

A season later, the arrival of Nevada at The Joe certainly affords this already bowl-eligible '08 squad --- Tech beat New Mexico State on the road 35-31 a week ago to get to 7 wins --- its long-delayed chance to settle the score.

But Dooley says he isn't using that as motivation. "I don't ever do the revenge thing," he said. "You should be motivated to play a WAC opponent, no matter what happened the year before."

Still, there was what happened, you know, the year before. Nevada held Louisiana Tech to a mere 55 yards rushing --- including minus-24 in the third quarter -- in what became a 49-10 blowout on the final day of November.

"What I was most disappointed about last year," Dooley finally allows, "is that I don't think we ever competed. That's going to be our focus."

Nevada, also bowl eligible this season, is coming off an impressive game against No. 9 Boise State, though the Wolf Pack ultimately fell 41-34 --- snapping a two-game winning streak.

"What a phenomenal football team," Dooley said. "And that starts with great coaching. They are as good as any team in country on offense what you really see on defense is they are as good as any at stopping run."

Harassed all night, former WAC freshman of the year Colin Kaepernick was limited to just 19-of-50 passing against Boise. Still, he managed 241 yards and a touchdown by air, adding 70 yards on the ground. The Wolf Pack remain tops in the NCAA in rushing (308.6 yards per game), and rank first in total offense in the WAC with 511.6. Leave out non-conference losses to Texas Tech and Missouri, and Nevada is averaging 31 points per game.

"We have to prove we can compete against them, and we haven't done that," Dooley said. "I don't think you can stop their offense; they are too explosive."

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have found consistency in their rushing attack --- the team's first touchdown reception by a receiver, after all, came just last week --- but currently sit at last in the WAC and 107th in the country with 147.8 passing yards per game.

A bottom-feeding, but opportunistic Wolf Pack pass defense allowed 414 yards and three scores against Boise in its last contest, but also picked off three throws.

"They whooped us good last year and they whooped us good the year before --- and they look even better this season," Dooley said. "It's going to be a big challenge."

Tech won last week again on the strength of a rush offense that put up 226 yards and three scores. Tech, the No. 2 rushing team in the WAC, averages 195.9 yards per game.

"Our running game starts with Daniel Porter," Dooley said. "Patrick (Jackson) has come in and really done well down the stretch, as well. When both of those guys are running well, we tend to move the ball on offense."

Nevada, however, has a defense with numbers similar to that of Tech, better against the run than the pass. "Something," Dooley said, "has to give." Luckily, this season, it's not a chance a postseason bid.

Nevada (6-5 overall, 4-3 overall) at Louisiana Tech (7-4, 5-2) 1:30 p.m., Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston

TV: Cox Sports TV; ESPN GamePlan

Radio: KXKZ, 107.5 FM; Webstreaming: Gametracker:

Notes: Tech's run defense has allowed only 99.5 ypg, second in the WAC and 11th in the nation. … This series is tied at four games apiece. … Of Nevada's five losses so far this year, two have come against ranked opponents and both are from the Big 12, Texas Tech and Missouri.

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