Nevada vs. Purdue: Game Preview, TV & Radio Schedule, Livestream, Odds, More
The Nevada Wolf Pack open up the 2019 season at home on Friday night against the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Nevada Wolf Pack Host The Purdue Boilermakers In The 2019 Season Opener
WEEK 1: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Purdue Boilermakers
WHEN: Friday, August 30 — 6:30 PM MT/5:30 PM PT
WHERE: Mackay Stadium, Reno, Nevada (seat capacity 27,000)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.
SERIES RECORD: Purdue leads the series 1-0. The lone previous meeting between Nevada and Purdue was on September 24, 2016, where Purdue defeated Nevada, 24-14.
ODDS: Purdue -11
FEI PROJECTION: Nevada by 2.2
For the Nevada Wolf Pack faithful, the 2019 football season is finally here.
The Wolf Pack will start their season on Friday night in Mackay Stadium as they take on the Purdue Boilermakers of the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers are coming off of a 6-7 season in which they defeated Big Ten champion Ohio State Buckeyes in convincing fashion, 49-20, last October. Purdue does feature one of the most explosive players in the country in sophomore Rondale Moore, who leads a pass-oriented attack that should give the Wolf Pack defense (especially a young but talented secondary) a challenge.
Nevada is going to start a new quarterback as Carson Strong will get the start for the Wolf Pack on Friday. Strong will be the first freshman quarterback to start for Nevada since 1998, so this will be interesting to see how he performs in his debut. And for those Wolf Pack fans expecting to see the much talked about quarterback Malik Henry to take the field on Friday, Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell said on Tuesday that he won’t play two quarterbacks, but Henry is ready if needed.
The Wolf Pack are double-digit underdogs against the Boilermakers, so for the Wolf Pack to pull off the rare Power 5 victory on Friday, they’ll need to bring their top game.
Here are three keys for the Wolf Pack’s contest against the Purdue Boilermakers.
1. Contain Rondale Moore
This is easier said than done for the Nevada defense when discussing the explosive sophomore Rondale Moore. Moore,the 2019 preseason All-Big Ten team selection was dynamic in his freshman season in 2018. Moore totaled 2,215 all purpose yards while scoring 14 touchdowns as he earned All-American honors in 2018.
Purdue is a team that likes to pass the ball a lot, so expect new starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar to put the ball in the air and, most importantly for Purdue, get the ball to Moore.
It is going to be a tall task for this Wolf Pack defense to contain Moore but for Nevada to defeat Purdue on Friday, the Wolf Pack standouts on defense, like Gabe Sewell, Lucas Weber, and Malik Broady, must identify when Moore has the ball and corral him to the best of their abilities.
2. Carson Strong must get off to a good start early
Carson Strong was named the starting quarterback ten days ago, beating out three other players for the job and also due to Cristian Solano being out due to an injury to his hand. Strong has only thrown one pass at the collegiate level and that was last season when he completed a four-yard pass against Portland State. It is important for Nevada to see that Strong starts off on a positive note against the Boilermakers on Friday.
Purdue’s defense does return some key players from last season but they were the same players on that Boilermaker defense that was ranked last in total defense, passing defense and next to last ins scoring defense in 2018. This Wolf Pack offense must be able to exploit this Purdue defense and Strong must be able to do some damage on Friday.
Strong benefits by having a very good set of skills players in Elijah Cooks, Kaleb Fossum, Romeo Doubs and running back Toa Taua. If he can manage the game and keep the offense moving along in the right direction, then Nevada’s chances of winning on Friday improve.
Speaking of Toa Taua….
3. Get Toa Taua involved early and often.
In 2018, Taua exploded onto the scene as he tallied up 872 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns. Taua’s stellar play was one of the reasons why he earned the 2018 Mountain West Freshman of the Year award.
In 2019, I expect Taua to improve on those numbers as the Wolf Pack will look to lean on him to help out their freshman quarterback. Purdue’s defense was a statistically average unit against the run, so it is going to be up to Taua and the Wolf Pack offensive line to try to find rushing lanes for Taua to run through in order to make things easier for Strong on Friday night.
This is an opportunity for Nevada to secure a victory over a solid Big Ten team in Purdue on Friday night. It won’t be easy for the Wolf Pack as the defense will have to attempt to contain Rondale Moore. Purdue’s pass-happy offense will definitely test the Wolf Pack’s secondary so it is critical for Nevada to corral Moore and stop the Boilermakers passing attack.
On offense, the Wolf Pack have a bevy of playmakers at wide receiver, but Carson Strong has hardly any college level playing experience so the Wolf Pack will have to rely on running back Toa Taua to give Strong some help in moving the offense.
Both Nevada and Purdue’s offenses are dynamic and explosive so I feel this will be a close, high-scoring contest but that Nevada will come away with the close victory due to Taua’s play and the defense making enough stops to slow down the Boilermakers.
Prediction Score: Nevada 38, Purdue 35