Sep 122006
 
Authors: Scott Oxarart

(CSTV U-WIRE) RENO, Nev. – Nevada running back Robert Hubbard complained about a bruised rib and knee last week and the lack of practice cost him his starting spot.

The lack of playing time Saturday ended his streak of 100-yard games at three as he finished the game with 71 yards.

“I was a little beat up going into game,” Hubbard said. “As a result of being beat up, I didn’t get as many reps in the first team squad in practice. Once I got in the game I felt good. But Luke (Lippincott) worked hard this week and he deserved the start.”

In his first career start, Lippincott finished with 10 yards on seven carries, but a 4-yard loss changed the momentum in his running. As a result, freshman Brandon Fragger got his first chance at playing time and impressed his coaches.

“(Fragger) was strong,” Ault said. “He might be the fastest (running back) we have.”

Fragger finished the game with 24 yards on seven carries.

Other backup Kyle Eklund had one carry for 4 yards on the last play of the game.

Eklund struggled last week and fumbled a ball that led to a touchdown against Fresno State.

Despite the backup role, Ault assured that Hubbard is still a crucial part of the Nevada offense.

“He’s still our No. 1 guy,” he said.

Spencer on Bilitnekoff List

Nevada wideout Caleb Spencer was named to the Bilitnekoff Award Watch List.

The Tallahassee Quarterback Club presented the list Sunday and Spencer was one of 53 receivers selected and is the only Nevada player.

The senior from Oahu, Hawaii, earned first team All-WAC honors last season and is picked to repeat this season.

He led the team last season in receptions (67), yards (889) and touchdown catches (7).

This season he leads the team in receiving with 45.5 yards a game.

Inconsistent hands

There’s plenty of hype surrounding sophomore receiver Marko Mitchell and his 6-foot 4-inch frame, but that doesn’t make up for his inexperience.

Mitchell showed his playmaking ability in the second quarter against the Sun Devils with a touchdown grab on a fade route. Quarterback Jeff Rowe floated a pass from 10 yards out and Mitchell out-jumped his opponent to get his hands on the ball, then held on as he came crashing back to the turf.

His touchdown was the first of his career at Nevada.

Mitchell’s shown in practice that he can catch almost anything thrown within a five-foot vicinity, now it’s just learning to take care of the ball.

Mitchell was involved in two turnovers in Saturday’s 52-21 loss to No. 25 ranked Arizona State and they came at pivotal points.

Mitchell lost control of a ball in the first half that was intercepted and had the ball knocked out during a tackle on the next drive.

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