Nevada senior wide receiver Trevor Insley is living one fantasy of many little boys, and he already has the inside line on living another.
Insley is a star player, having made 263 receptions for 4,406 yards over his three-plus seasons with the Wolf Pack. And when he's done playing football, Insley said: "I want to be a fireman. For some reason, fire just excites me. It's interesting to me." He said he has spoken to a fire department battalion chief in Reno, Nev., who promised to help him further that career goal when his football career is over.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Insley will be trying to set three NCAA Division I-A records and then move on to the pros. He needs 113 yards Saturday against Idaho to pass Wyoming's Marcus Harris for the career receiving yards record. With three games remaining in his season, Insley is 33 catches away from breaking former teammate Geoff Noisy's record for career receptions. In addition, with 99 catches for 1,461 yards this season, he needs 535 yards to pass Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards for the season receiving yards record.
"It's pretty exciting," Insley said of his record chase. "But more of my focus is on getting to the conference championship [Nevada is 3-5, 2-1 in the Big West Conference]. That's our main focus right now. If records come with that, that's great."
Insley has played in a pass-oriented offense since his days at San Clemente (Calif.) High School. He credits his high school coach, Mark McElroy, for teaching him "about leverage and how to get open."
Nevada, which deploys four wide receivers on a majority of plays, is well known for its prolific receivers. Alex Van Dyke (129 catches in 1995) and Damond Wilkins (114 catches in 1996) led Division I-A in catches their senior seasons and they rank fourth and fifth, respectively, on the Division I-A single-season list for receptions.
The Wolf Pack passes so much that Insley is on the verge of breaking all those records despite playing behind Noisy for the past three years.
"My true freshman year, [Noisy] took me under his wing," Insley said. "I watched him and learned from his mistakes as well as what he did right. . . . This offense is a wide receiver's dream."
Near the Breaking Point
Westminster (Mo.) wide receiver Scott Pingel needs 22 catches in his final two games to break Howard Twilley's 1965 single-season all-division record for receptions per game (13.4)--one of the longest-standing NCAA individual football records. Pingel, who broke Jerry Rice's all-division record for career receptions in his first game of the season, has 113 catches in eight games for an average of 14.1 per game. . . .
Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne needs 321 rushing yards in his final two games to break Ricky Williams's career record of 6,279. Wisconsin's last two opponents are Purdue and Iowa, who rank fifth and 11th in the Big Ten Conference in rushing defense. . . .
Minnesota strong safety Tyrone Carter needs six tackles Saturday against Penn State to break the NCAA career record for defensive backs set by Tulane's Mike Staid from 1991 to '94. Carter has 475 tackles. "I think Carter's as good a defensive player as we've ever played against, as long as I've been here," Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said this week.
Bates Starts Young, Moves Fast
According to Arizona State sports information director Mark Brand, Sun Devils freshman linebacker Solomon Bates, 17, is the youngest Division I-A player this season. Bates, who was born April 18, 1982, has started the past five games and for the season has 37 tackles, five tackles for a loss, a pass deflection, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. . . .
For every positive development in the Pac-10 this season, there are the Negative Pac-10 Notes of the Week: Washington's Terry Tharps had a one-yard kickoff return last week against Stanford. He caught the ball five yards deep in the end zone, ran sideways, and was almost tackled for a safety. Naturally, the Huskies then drove 99 yards for a touchdown. In the same game, Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo had more yards of total offense (502) than the Stanford team (481). . . . Southern California, which earlier this season led the nation in turnover margin, has committed eight turnovers in its past two games and has averaged three a game over its current four-game losing streak. This week, the Trojans may have yet another starting quarterback--John Fox, who started at quarterback in 1997 but began this season as a linebacker.
Marshall Loses Its Force
Marshall's streak of 10 quarters without allowing a touchdown could end this week against Kent, as the Thundering Herd could be missing four starters on defense. Linebacker Andre O'Neal (knee) and free safety Rogers Beckett (concussion) are questionable after suffering injuries last week against Northern Illinois. Defensive lineman Giradie Mercer had a death in the family and linebacker John Grace will be tending to his sick father in Florida. Grace and Mercer are the team's top two tacklers. Plus, running back Doug Chapman, the team's leading rusher, isn't expected to play after injuring his knee last week. . . .
In addition to ranking fifth in the nation in rushing at 145.5 yards per game, Iowa State's Darren Davis has a streak of 682 consecutive carries, spanning 25 games, without losing a fumble; he has handled the ball 849 times in his career and lost just one fumble. . . .
Southern Methodist's players will wear commemorative decals on their helmets for the rest of the season in memory of golfer Payne Stewart, who was killed in an airplane crash last week. The coaches wore black ribbons on the sideline last week in SMU's homecoming game against Rice. Stewart graduated from SMU in 1979.
Joneses Stand Alone
Saturday was a tough day to keep up with the Joneses. Virginia senior Thomas Jones rushed for 164 yards against Florida State, and his younger brother, Julius, a freshman at Notre Dame, rushed for 146 against Navy. Thomas Jones's effort moved him into the national rushing lead with an average of 159.1 yards per game, just ahead of Texas Christian's Ladainian Tomlinson (155.5). . . .
Texas sophomore quarterback Major Applewhite has guided the Longhorns on game-winning drives in the fourth quarter six times in 20 career games, including last week's 71-yard drive against Iowa State that resulted in a field goal as time expired. . . .
Expect Notre Dame, which has won four consecutive games, to be brought back to Earth this week at No. 4 Tennessee. The Fighting Irish's wins have come over teams with a combined 13-18 record and all have been in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame has lost its two road games this season and won't be warmly welcomed by the 102,000 orange-clad fans in Knoxville.