The Nevada Wolf Pack look to finish strong in their bounce back season.
Nevada will meet with in-state rival UNLV for the 44th time on Saturday in the battle for the Freemont cannon. Nevada leads the all-time series 27-16 and the Fremont cannon has been blue for nine of the last 11, including the most recent two meetings.
On paper, Nevada looks to have a big advantage over the Rebels as they only trail UNLV in rushing yards. On Saturday, UNLV’s 23rd ranked rushing offense will face the Wolf Pack’s 23rd ranked rushing defense- that’s where the similarities end.
Nevada has been immaculate at limiting opponent’s scoring over their last 10 quarters, only allowing a total of 22 points (all in their last two games after holding San Diego State scoreless in the 2nd half) and holding those opponents scoreless in seven of the 10. Nevada’s last two games, Colorado State and San Jose State, they’ve only allowed a combined 104 rushing yards on 59 attempts and just 460 total yards of offense.
The Wolf Pack will hope to close out the regular season on a five game winning streak before heading into their first bowl game in three years. Here’s how they achieve that and hang on to the 19th-century replica Howitzer, the beloved John C. Fremont cannon-
NEVADA’s KEYS TO VICTORY
Slow down LT
UNLV’s speedy Senior running back, Lexington Thomas, isn’t having quite the year he had last season, though he’s still been extremely affective out of the Rebels backfield. Thomas has ran for over 100 yards in UNLV’s last two games as he surpassed 3,500 rushing yards for his career. UNLV’s passing is hit or miss from game to game and they tend to rely on Thomas’ running ability quite often.
They sit at 115th in the country in passing, though they’re averaging a strong 224 yards per game on the ground. If Nevada’s defense can continue their recent ways and keep Lexington Thomas in check, there’s a very good chance they’ll finish the regular season on a high note.
Let er’ fly, Gangi
Nevada’s Senior quarterback, Ty Gangi, has been having a heyday throwing the football. Over the last two contests he has thrown for 718 yards on 68 attempts, including five touchdowns and just one interception. Gangi will be facing the 111th pass defense in college football on Saturday and it looks like his gunslinger ways could definitely continue and lead Nevada to victory. Nevada’s offense have a plethora of weapons that should be able to expose UNLV’s weaknesses on defense.
Nevada has 4-5 receivers that can explode for 100+ yards in any game. Lately that guy has been Gangi’s new favorite target, Freshman sensation, Romeo Doubs, who has gone for 100+ receiving yards in each as well as contributed two scores. Throw the ball well, hang onto the ball, and Nevada should beat UNLV.
Don’t sleep on the Rebels
Everyone knows a college rivalry game can go either way on any given day. Though I don’t expect Nevada to go into the game expecting to blow their southern Nevada rivals away, that’s what could hurt them more than anything. Nevada is clearly the better team here, and if they stay level-headed when they enter Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, they should finish the season with a satisfactory 8-4 record.
UNLV sits at just 3-8 on the season, don’t let their record affect your performance.