Nevada vs. Hawaii: Keys for a Nevada Win
Nevada looks to avoid a third straight loss as they take flight to Hawaii
Wolf Pack need this win.
Two of the nations top 20 passing quarterbacks vs. two of the nations worst passing defenses is the perfect recipe for a shootout.
Hawaii is undefeated in conference play at 3-0 with a total record of 6-2 on the season. They have yet to lose at home though they are coming off a non-conference blow out loss at BYU last weekend. Hawaii hasn’t played the level of competition that Nevada has to this point and even took three overtimes to beat a winless San Jose State team at the end of September. The Rainbow Warriors will look to stay atop the Mountain West’s West division, though it may not be an easy task.
Nevada sits at 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. The Wolf Pack will be looking to bounce back after a devastating 27-31 loss to one of the Mountain West’s top football programs, Boise State. If not for a few crucial turnovers, they may be sitting at 2-1. Nevada will look to keep their bowl dreams alive and get back to .500 on the season.
KEYS FOR NEVADA’S SUCCESS
Slow the Cole McDonald and John Ursua connection
This one is obvious. Hawaii’s quarterback, Cole McDonald, ranks third in the nation in passing at 335 yards per game with 26 passing touchdowns which ranks second in the country. That was plenty enough to get him our Mountain West Wire midseason player of the year. Getting pressure on McDonald could go a long way.
McDonald has several weapons on offense though his favorite target is easily Junior wide receiver John Ursua who has 64 receptions for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns. He alone has more receiving touchdowns than 83 teams in the country. In case you didn’t guess it, his touchdowns rank #1 of all receivers in college football. Double coverage on Ursua in the red zone sounds like a good idea.
Short completions to Mannix
I think this might be a key every week from last week on. McLane Mannix is the most explosive playmaker on Nevada’s offense (possibly the entire team) and he has shown that nearly every time he touches the ball. He is averaging 19.4 yards per catch which ranks 27th in the country and can probably outrun any defensive back in the country.
Mannix caught a 5 yard slant pass last week and outran Boise State’s defense so fast he may have wore out his Adidas’ on that one 50 yard touchdown dash. When Hawaii’s defense presses, get the ball to Mannix and let him make a play. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mannix needs more touches.
Without a Boise State 99 yard interception return for a touchdown, Nevada more than likely comes into the Hawaii game off a big home victory against a top Mountain West team. Nevada had three fumbles last week against the Broncos, though it was the interception return that sealed the Wolf Pack’s fate. Hang onto the football this Saturday and there is a good chance Nevada will head home next weekend to face San Diego State one win closer to bowl eligibility.