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November 28, 2010
Nevada's Matthews grabs top honor
Nevada built itself into a competitive team and a ranked program on the strength of a dominant run game out of the "Pistol" formation.
When Boise State and the nation's No. 1 rush defense visited Reno on Friday, Nevada proved it's not a one-dimensional team.
Wolf Pack wide receiver Rishard Matthews caught 10 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a 44-yard touchdown in a 34-31 OT stunner over Boise State to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors.
Matthews, a junior college transfer who enrolled in January, caught six passes for 133 yards in the first half, then made a bigger impact in the second half. Matthews caught a 7-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 31 after running for a 44-yard score on a reverse as the Wolf Pack climbed back from a 24-7 deficit.
"I told him this week he needed to step out of his shadow and show that he can do it," Nevada coach Chris Ault told the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal.
In the Egg Bowl, Mississippi State fans got a look at what an explosive player can do in the running game and the passing game, thanks to redshirt freshman WR Perkins.
Perkins caught three passes for 140 yards and had touchdown catches of 33 and 36 yards in a 31-23 victory over Ole Miss. He also rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries. On the way to 319 all-purpose yards, Perkins was a factor in the return game, too, with 65 yards on kickoffs and 16 yards on a punt return.
"We are not loaded with playmakers," Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said. "We have guys who make plays, but we are not loaded with playmakers. He is one of our playmakers. We needed him to step up, and he had a huge game. He had some explosive plays that we needed."
Michigan came up just short of playing for the national title when it lost 42-39 to Ohio State in 2006. Since that loss, the Wolverines have scored only 27 total points in the past four seasons against Ohio State.
Heacock's defense had a dominating effort in the 37-7 win Saturday, holding the Wolverines to a season-low 351 yards.
Michigan picked up chunks of yardage at times, but the Wolverines managed only one touchdown for their lowest scoring output since scoring 17 points in a loss to Michigan State on Oct. 9. Ohio State has held Michigan to single digits in three of the past four meetings.