Nevada vs. Air Force: Keys For A Wolf Pack Victory
Here is how the Wolf Pack can get a win
Two struggling defenses will face off in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this Saturday as the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-2) and the Air Force Falcons (1-2) both look to rebound after tough losses last week.
The Wolf Pack have looked very promising on offense at times last week accumulating 582 total yards. Ty Gangi threw for 320 yards on 29-of-50 and both Toa Taua and Kaleb Fossum had exceptional performances. Taua averaged 11.3 yards per carry and ran for 170 yards on 15 attempts while bulldozing his way into the end zone on three separate occasions. Fossum, who is in his first season of eligibility at Nevada after transferring from Washington State, had a breakout game with 150 yards on 14 catches. Nevada’s offense is loaded with weapons. The only problem is figuring out when and how to use them.
Nevada’s defense on the other hand, not nearly as promising. With several veterans on the squad, it seems they would be performing at a higher level, though opposing offenses have really exploited the young guys when they’ve been given a chance. With one sophomore and three freshman defensive backs, it’s been tough getting the four veteran DB’s some rest. Odds of winning when your offense goes for 582 yards and 6 touchdowns is extremely high, unless your defense gives up 63 points.
This will be only the fifth meeting between Nevada and Air Force with the Falcons taking three of the first four, including the last two. Three of the four games have been within a touchdown and all high scoring. Nevada’s only win was a 45-43 result back in 2013 at Mackey Stadium. Nevada has been unable to keep the Falcons from scoring less than 42 in all four meetings. If history means anything, as well as how the defenses have performed as of late, this is an easy over pick for me with William Hill having the over/under line at 64.
NEVADA’S THREE KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Time to have a hay-day passing.
Air Force has allowed an average of 413.5 yards passing to BCS opponents this season and that alone should give Nevada the edge in my opinion. Expect Nevada to go deep early and often against the Falcons. Gangi had problems overthrowing receivers on deep routes last week, though he should settle in and find his groove against a less talented secondary this week. On paper, this looks like a career day in the making for Gangi and company. McLane Mannix and Kaleb Fossum should also both have a day to remember.
2. Minimize special teams woes.
Blocked punts and kick returns are win killers. There’s just something about Nevada special teams giving up huge plays in the past. Most recently, a 98 yard kickoff return to add to Diante Johnson of Toledo’s touchdown total. Don’t get overzealous and overrun kicks and punts. Stay composed. Special teams scores are exciting and the ultimate momentum shifter. Air Force doesn’t have a Diante Johnson of their own, but treat every team as if they do.
3. Don’t sleep on the passing game or the rushing game.
Everyone knows Air Force is going to run the ball 90% of the game though they do have receivers that can catch and a quarterback in Junior Isaiah Sanders than can throw. Nevada allowed 131 yards just from Toledo’s quarterback last week but assumed more of a passing attack than they will this Saturday. Air Force only had 11 completions last week against Utah State, though every receiver averaged over 10 yards per reception. Defensive backs have to stay disciplined and can’t get over aggressive or they may be chasing Falcon receivers down the sidelines.
Nevada goes into Falcon Stadium and gives Jay Norvell his first road win as the Wolf Pack’s head coach. Nevada gets its first conference-opening win since 2014 vs. San Jose State.
Nevada 48 – Air Force 38