Nevada Football: San Jose State Vs Nevada: Three Keys To A Wolf Pack Victory
Here are three keys and a prediction for the contest between Nevada and San Jose State
Can Nevada Get Back On The Winning Track Against San Jose State
The Nevada Wolf Pack return to action this Saturday afternoon as they take on the San Jose State Spartans in Reno, Nevada. Kickoff for this contest will be at 1 pm and it will be televised on the AT&T SportsNet network.
The last time Nevada was in action it was two weeks ago when Hawaii blasted the Wolf Pack 54-3. The 51 point loss was the worst loss suffered by Nevada since 1950 and the worst loss in the 53 year history of Mackey Stadium. Nevada must shake off this brutal loss and get back on the winning track and it starts this Saturday against the Spartans.
The Hawaii loss has had Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell questioning the mental toughness of his team and wondering if this 2019 edition of the Wolf Pack football team has what it takes to power through the hard times. “Every team has a different personality and the personality of our football team is we’ve just been inconsistent in our mental toughness” Norvell said after the Hawaii game.
Norvell also went on to say about the team’s mental toughness that “we do it at times very well and other times we’re not nearly good enough”. Nevada is going to need to find that consistent mental toughness this Saturday against a San Jose State team that has a 3-2 record and is coming off an 32-21 victory over New Mexico last Friday night.
The Wolf Pack will make another change at quarterback as Malik Henry will get the start this Saturday. By now, we all know the story of Malik Henry, the one time Florida State commit and one of the featured players on Netflix’s Last Chance U. Now, Henry gets the chance to lead a Wolf Pack offense that is abysmal passing the football. The Wolf Pack are ranked 115th in FBS in passing efficiency and the hope for Nevada is that Henry can spark this anemic passing attack.
Can the Wolf Pack get back to their winning ways against San Jose State? Here are three keys and a prediction for San Jose State vs Nevada.
Better Play from Nevada’s Offense
Through five games this season, the Nevada Wolf Pack offense has been just awful. Nevada is last in the Mountain West in scoring offense (19.8 points per game), 10th in rushing offense (127 rushing yards per game) and next to last in total offense (331 yards per game). The issues for Nevada’s struggles on offense can be blamed on a below average offensive line that will now be without starting left tackle Jake Nelson for the rest of the season due to injury.
The Wolf Pack offense that will now be led by Malik Henry, must find a way to overcome the shoddy offensive line and start being more productive on offense. Henry is a talented quarterback with mobility and that will have to be utilized to get the ball to Nevada’s playmakers at wide receiver. If this can be done, then Nevada has a good chance to win on Saturday.
Contain San Jose State’s Passing Offense
The Spartans have one of the best passing offenses in the Mountain West so far this season. San Jose State is third in the conference in passing yards per game as they are averaging 310 passing yards per game. Spartans quarterback Josh Love has completed over 60 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,418 yards and seven touchdowns and only one interception.
Josh Love’s main target in the passing game is wide receiver Tre Walker. Walker is averaging a little over 14 yards a catch and is one of the best deep threats in the Mountain West. Walker is a player that the Wolf Pack secondary must account for when the Spartans are on offense.
The Wolf Pack secondary has had trouble against good quarterbacks this season as Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald have torched the Nevada secondary. Josh Love is a good quarterback and the Nevada secondary must be able to corral him and Tre Walker in order to win on Saturday.
Nevada Must Play With Urgency
As Coach Norvell has said this week, the Wolf Pack have not play with a consistent mental toughness throughout season so far. I would add that the Wolf Pack have lacked a sense of urgency to go along with their inconsistent mental toughness.
Despite a 3-2 record, this is a game that Nevada must win in order to strengthen their hopes of being bowl eligible for a second straight season. For Nevada to win. They must play with a sense of urgency and be mentally tough against an improved Spartans team that is looking to secure a rare road victory in conference play under Bret Brennan.
We will see if Nevada can play with a consistent mental toughness on Saturday.
Prediction and Score
This game against San Jose State on Saturday is a must win for the Wolf Pack. Nevada needs a bounce back in the worst way after getting demolished by Hawaii by 51 points two weeks ago. The Wolf Pack still have issues on offense and now it is up to Malik Henry to inject some energy into Nevada’s offense. This game for Nevada won’t be easy as the Spartans boast a talented passing attack led by Josh Love who will present a challenge for a Nevada secondary that has struggled to stop good passing offenses this season.
This is a tough game to predict but I think Nevada playing with a sense of urgency and Malik Henry making plays will be the difference as the Wolf Pack will win a close one in Reno.
Score Prediction: Nevada 35 San Jose State 30