Nevada Football: Three Keys And A Prediction For Nevada Vs Wyoming
Nevada returns to action on Saturday as they take on the Wyoming Cowboys. Here are three keys and a prediction for this contest.
Can Nevada Corral The Cowboys?
The Nevada Wolf Pack will return to action to take on the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday afternoon. This game will be in Laramie,Wyoming at 11am PST and will be broadcasted on AT&T Sportsnet.
Nevada is looking to bounce back after a poor performance last week in Logan, Utah against Utah State. Doomed by penalties and poor play on offense, the Wolf Pack were abysmal in a 36-10 loss at the hands of the Aggies. This week, the Wolf Pack travel to Wyoming as they look to score a victory against the Cowboys.
The quarterback position for Nevada will see another change as Carson Strong returns as the starting quarterback for Nevada. The announcement of Strong being named the starter was announced on Tuesday when Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell said that Malik Henry, who started the last two games at QB for Nevada, would not be playing for the rest of the season to focus on academics.
With Henry done for the season, the job is now Strong’s for the foreseeable future and it is up to him to get this Nevada offense back on track against Wyoming. The Wolf Pack take on a Cowboys team that is coming off a 23-10 victory against New Mexico last Saturday. The Cowboys used a bruising and effective rushing to overpower the Lobos in the win and now the Wolf Pack must attempt to stop the Wyoming rushing offense.
Can the Nevada offense get itself right with Carson Strong returning as the starting quarterback? Can Nevada’s defense try to halt the Cowboys rushing attack?
Here are my keys and a prediction for Nevada-Wyoming
Can Nevada’s offense get it together and play better
In Nevada’s first drive against Utah State last week, the Wolf Pack moved the ball down field and into the red zone where it looked like they were about to score a touchdown. After a holding penalty and false start penalty called against Nevada’s offense, the drive stalled and the Wolf Pack had to settle for a field goal.
After that first drive, the Nevada offense had eight three and outs, one interception and one safety in the first half against Utah State. The Wolf Pack offense was just abysmal after that first drive and did not score a touchdown until their final possession of the game when it was well out of reach for Nevada.
Stating the obvious, Nevada’s offense must perform better than they did against the Aggies last week. With Carson Strong as the starting quarterback again, it is up to him to help try to get this Wolf Pack offense going. It is going to be a struggle due to the lackluster play by the Wolf Pack offensive line but for Nevada to win on Saturday, the Wolf Pack offensive line along with Carson Strong and the rest of that offense must perform better than they did last week.
Stop Wyoming’s run offense
It is no secret that the Wyoming Cowboys want to run the ball.
The Cowboys are second in the Mountain West in rushing offense as they are averaging 236 yards rushing per game. Wyoming has three players who have totaled over 300 yard rushing so far this season and those players are quarterback Sean Chambers (547 rushing yards) and running backs Xazavian Vallady (425 rushing yards) and Titus Swen (337 rushing yards). Wyoming is not the best at passing the ball as Chamber’s has only completed a little over 40 percent of his passes this season but the Cowboys want to run the ball, period.
The task for Nevada’s defense this week is that they must stop the Cowboys rushing attack and force Chambers to throw the ball. Wyoming’s offensive line is very good at opening up running lanes and protecting the quarterback as they have only given up seven sacks this season. It’s going to be a challenge for Nevada since defensive end Kameron Toomer will be out for this game with an ankle injury but the Wolf Pack must shut down Wyoming’s rush attack and make the Cowboys offense one dimensional.
Rely on Toa Taua
Despite the Wolf Pack offensive line struggles, they have been decent at run-blocking for Toa Taua. So far this season Taua has rushed for 513 yards this season and is averaging about four yard per carry. Those numbers have been a lifeline for a Wolf Pack offense that has struggled to gain any consistency this season
For Nevada to win on Saturday they must get the running game going and that starts with getting Toa Taua involved early. If Nevada can get Toa Taua going (and it won’t be easy as the Wyoming defense is giving up 2.8 yards per rush against the opposition this season) then that takes the pressure off of Carson Strong who has not played well since the second half of the Purdue game.
A good running game led by Taua can help out a freshman quarterback and could help Nevada to secure a win on the road against Wyoming on Saturday.
Prediction and Score
This is a game that Nevada does have a chance to win because the one thing Nevada’s defense is good at is stopping the run and the Wyoming Cowboys are a run first, second and third offensive team. But Nevada will have their hands full stopping the Cowboys top three rushers in Sean Chambers, Xazavian Vallady and Titus Swen and with the Wolf Pack being without Toomer and Lucas Webber due to injuries, that task gets harder for Nevada’s defense.
On offense for Nevada, this offensive line must play better and protect Carson Strong and open up lanes for Toa Taua to run to give the Wolf Pack a shot at beating Wyoming. But the Cowboys defense is a stout unit and is very good at stopping the run.
The Wolf Pack defense can keep them in the game but the Wolf Pack offense has been inconsistent and will prevent them from winning in Laramie on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Wyoming 29 Nevada 14