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The Blitz: Chance encounter
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Got a new favorite player. His name is Chance Kretschmer and he is a genuine put-away-wet tough cowboy. He's also the WAC's leading rusher, and the dude came to Nevada as a walk-on and has bulled his way up this fall from fourth on the depth chart. Chance comes from Tonopah, Nev., a town so small -- pop: 3,086 -- he was born 120 miles away in the nearest hospital. The 6'1", 220-pound freshman walk-on RB got his chance at Nevada after Oregon transfer Herman Ho-Ching failed to qualify and soon Chance began dazzling Wolfpack coaches -- and opponents -- with his great vision and brutal toughness.

Just ask La. Tech, who he gashed for 242 yards last Saturday -- 91 of which came after contact. He also ripped UNLV for 150-plus, almost the combined amount that Northwestern's Damien Anderson, Arkansas' Cedric Cobbs and BYU's Luke Staley amassed against the Rebs.

"He has the most unbelievable vision of any back I've ever been around," says Nevada RB coach Jim Mastro. "He understands blocking schemes so well that he knows exactly where the holes will be, then he hits 'em so hard, he's gone."

Nevada coach Chris Tormey had once seen Kretschmer perform, but it was at the Reno Rodeo in '98 when he was a calf roper. These days Kretschmer is tying up defenses, averaging 155 yards per game (almost double the WAC's second-leading rusher.) In fact, his 361 yards after contact is almost the total for the conference's No. 2 guy.

·More WAC. Talked to a DC familiar with David Carr. The biggest improvement in the Fresno State QB, and the reason why he's gone from second-team all-league to Heisman contender, is the 6'3", 225-pound senior has gotten over his "Backup QB Syndrome." Carr, who spent his first three years at Fresno backing up Billy Volek (now a Tennessee Titan), didn't have the confidence or belief that the Bulldogs were truly his team. "He's improved so much it's unbelievable," says the DC. "Last year, he missed a lot of deep balls. Now, he's hitting everything and you can tell he's in total control."

·Give credit to FSU corner Stanford Samuels for being a stand-up guy. Miami attacked Samuels hard last Saturday. UM wide receiver Andre Johnson, who had five catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns, was Ken Dorsey's primary target. "We lost by 22," Samuels said. "I gave up three touchdowns. It doesn't get any clearer than that." Maybe, but he shouldn't take all the blame. Johnson's a tough matchup for any DB and FSU got no pass rush. This year's Seminole corners aren't what they normally are. They're also very young and green, but the Noles' style of playing "thump-and-run" coverage doesn't work as well when a QB is comfy in the pocket. It is nice that Samuels has the grit to look at himself after the loss, unlike the FSU receivers. They seemed to have no trouble pointing the finger at freshman QB Chris Rix, who took a beating and still tried answering the bell.

Bruce Feldman covers college football for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at

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