Nevada Football: Three Keys And A Prediction For Nevada Vs New Mexico
The Nevada Wolf Pack return to Reno looking to snap a two game losing streak against the New Mexico Lobos
Can The Wolf Pack Offense Get It Going Against New Mexico?
After a two-game road trip, the Nevada Wolf Pack return to Reno to host the New Mexico Lobos. The contest between the Wolf Pack and the Lobos will start at 7:30pm PST and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
The Wolf Pack return home after a road trip that saw them lose their contests against Utah State and Wyoming by a combined score of 67-13. Nevada continues to struggle on offense and their performance against the Wyoming Cowboys last week was abysmal. Despite gaining 335 yards of offense, the Wolf Pack only produced three points against the Cowboys courtesy of a Brandon Talton field goal.
Nevada is facing a New Mexico team that is really struggling this season. The Lobos have lost five straight games and are one of two teams in the Mountain West that does not have a conference win. The Lobos are bad on defense and on the offensive side of the football it is not a whole lot better either.
New Mexico will be without the services of starting quarterback Sherion Jones who is suspended indefinitely by the team after Jones reportedly exposed himself on New Mexico’s campus. On the field, it is safe to say that the Lobos are in a very bad place right now as they travel to Reno to face the Wolf Pack.
Can Nevada finally get their offense going and scoring points against a porous Lobos defense?
Here are my keys and a prediction
Will Nevada’s offense finally show up this week?
I have said on this site for weeks that Nevada’s offense must step up and play better and this week is no exception. Nevada must get better production and play from its offense.
Nevada head coach Jay Norvell and his staff must put their thinking caps on and scheme up a way to get the Wolf Pack offense going. Also, the Wolf Pack must get better play from quarterback Carson Strong as he has not thrown a touchdown pass since the opener against Purdue. I think handing the ball off to running back Toa Taua and seeing if he can find some running lanes and screen passess to Romeo Doubs could help Strong move the offense.
Bottom line, the Wolf Pack needs to score points that are not just Brandon Talton field goals and given Nevada’s opponent, there is a chance for that to happen on Saturday night.
The Lobos are last in the Mountain West in passing defense (344.9 ypg) and scoring defense (37.6) so I expect the Wolf Pack offense to actually score some touchdowns. For Nevada fans, the Wolf Pack offense scoring touchdowns would be a nice change of pace.
Stop Ahmari Davis
New Mexico does one thing well this season and that is run the ball. The Lobos are third in the Mountain West in rushing offense as they have averaged a little over 211 yards rushing this season so far.
Their leading rusher is senior running back Ahmari Davis who is second in the conference in rushing yards at 743. Davis is averaging 106 yards rushing per game has scored six rushing touchdowns.
With the Lobos starting quarterback suspended, Davis should see a large workload running the ball on Saturday, It is up to the Wolf Pack defensive front, which is better stopping the run than defending the pass, to stop Davis and halt New Mexico’s rushing attack.
Limit turnovers and limit penalties
The Nevada Wolf Pack have simply not taken care of the football this season. Through eight games, the Wolf Pack have turned the ball over 19 times this season which is the fourth most in the nation. And when it comes to penalties, the Wolf Pack are equally bad in that category. Nevada is the most penalized team in the Mountain West and some of these penalties Nevada is committing are killing offensive drives.
The turnovers and penalties are one of the reasons why Nevada has struggled this season and especially against good teams.
New Mexico is not a good team given their play and record but if Nevada plays a sloppy, penalty filled game against the Lobos, the Wolf Pack could find themselves once again defeated on Saturday.
Prediction and Score:
Poor offensive performance, penalties and turnovers have torpedoed the Nevada Wolf Pack in the last two weeks and all season as well. Nevada has performed poorly against good teams and this season is proof that Nevada has a long way to go before challenging for a Mountain West championship.
But here comes the New Mexico Lobos and they are arguably one of the worst teams in the Mountain West in 2019. Their coach Bob Davie is almost certain to be fired, their defense is bad and their offense is below average and just lost their quarterback due to an indefinite suspension.
The Lobos want to run the ball and the Wolf Pack defense is somewhat good at stopping the run so that is a plus for Nevada. The issue remains is can the Nevada offense score touchdowns and that been a struggle this season.
Given the issues for Nevada’s offense I do not see them blowing out the Lobos but I think that Coach Norvell and company will call plays on Saturday to help out quarterback Carson Strong and that offense. I think because of that and the Wolf Pack defense getting some key stops on defense that will be enough for Nevada to snap their two-game losing streak.
Score: Nevada 35 New Mexico 31