Nevada vs. Hawaii: Three Keys To A Wolf Pack Win
The Wolf Pack will clash with the Warriors on Saturday night. Here’s our preview of how Nevada can stay undefeated and beat Hawaii.
The Wolf Pack face another tough test.
WEEK 13: Nevada Wolf Pack (5-0) vs. Hawaii Warriors (2-3)
WHEN: Saturday, November 28 — 8:00 PM PT/6:00 PM HT
WHERE: Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, HI
TV: Spectrum Sports Pay-Per-View
STREAMING: For fans on the mainland, the game can be streamed using the Team1Sports application, which is available for download on Android and Apple devices and over-the-top platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire. Please note that the game will not be available on desktops or laptops.
You can also find the audio broadcast on TuneIn.
RADIO: The Nevada broadcast can be found in and around Reno on 94.5 FM and elsewhere on the Wolf Pack Radio Network. The Hawaii broadcast can be found on the ESPN Radio affiliate in Honolulu, on 1420 AM and 92.7 FM.
SERIES RECORD: Nevada leads the series 14-10. However, in the last meeting on September 28, 2019, the Warriors routed the Wolf Pack in Reno, 54-3.
LAST WEEK: Nevada defeated San Diego State at home, 26-21, while Hawaii lost to Boise at home, 40-32.
ODDS (as of 11/25, via Vegas Insider): Nevada -7
SP+ PROJECTION: Nevada by 9.6 (71% win probability)
FEI PROJECTION: Nevada by 1.3
Though they aren’t the only undefeated football team in the Mountain West, the Nevada Wolf Pack stand alone in first place as the sole team with five conference wins to date. The road won’t get any easier this weekend, however, with a late-night date against Hawaii on the docket.
Todd Graham’s Warriors have been up-and-down in his first year at the helm, but they’ve rarely been out from week to week, nearly storming back to steal a victory from the Boise State Broncos just last week. Though it may be cliche to call this a trap game, that’s exactly what it could be if the Wolf Pack are hung over mentally from their taut victory over San Diego State last week and forget the beatdown that this same team put on them at home a year ago.
Here’s how Nevada can improve to 6-0 by beating the Warriors.
Three Keys to a Nevada Victory
1. Don’t overlook a pretty good secondary.
San Diego State’s defense might be the best in the conference, but Hawaii has put together a quietly impressive season that, in this particular game, could create some headaches. The Warriors’ 4-2-5 defense actually leads the Mountain West in both passes defended (19) and interceptions (7), and they’re second in completion rate allowed (54.2%) for good measure.
In all, it makes for one of the season’s unlikeliest strength-on-strength matchups, so Carson Strong and company will need to be precise to avoid making the kind of mistakes that can change of a game.
2. Put the clamps on Chevan Cordeiro.
Cordeiro may not be the best quarterback in the conference right now, but you could make a pretty convincing case that he is the most important one. No one in the Mountain West has accounted for more plays and he currently ranks third in averaging 295 yards of total offense.
In particular, Cordeiro has been a lot more important on the ground than a lot of people anticipated. His 264 rushing yards lead all Mountain West quarterbacks; once you adjust for sacks, that number shoots up to 394 at a whopping 7.72 yards per attempt. Long story short, shutting him down will put a lot more pressure on other contributors that they haven’t proven they can consistently handle, which will work in Nevada’s favor.
3. Get Toa Taua and Devonte Lee involved.
Nevada has tended to lean on its running back duo to slam the door in the second half of games, but there should be opportunities for both to soften things up for the Air Raid. For as stingy as Hawaii has been against the pass, opponents have run at them early and often and the Warriors have struggled for answers, allowing 5.13 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns on 44 attempts per game.
If the passing game is slow to gear up, then, Taua and Lee could be key in helping the Wolf Pack move the chains and set up for the next big pass play.
Things can get weird on the islands and though it’s hard to extrapolate too much from just two games, Hawaii has looked much tougher to beat at home than on the road. This looks like the kind of game that could become a track meet, which would put the pressure on each defense to step up and make a big play. If that’s what it comes down to, and I think it will, I’d trust the Wolf Pack’s talent on that side of the ball to help them survive.
Nevada 42, Hawaii 35