Nevada Vs Boise State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Wolf Pack travel to Boise to take on the Broncos as Nevada is looking for its first win over Boise State on the road since 1997
Nevada looks to end long road losing streak against the Boise State on Saturday
WEEK 5: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Boise State Broncos
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium; Boise Idaho
TV: Fox Sports 1
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS1, by following this link.
RADIO: Nevada is on ESPN 94.5 in Reno and Boise State is on KTIK 93.1 in Boise.
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the series 30-12. In the last meeting, Boise State won in Reno 31-27 back in 2018.
ODDS: Boise State -6.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 8.6
FEI PROJECTION: Boise State by 15.2
The Nevada Wolf Pack will try to snap a nine-game road losing streak against the Boise State Broncos on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolf Pack are 2-1 and are coming off a bye week and have not played in two weeks. In their last outing, Nevada dropped their first game of the season to Kansas State 38-17. Boise State is 2-2 and their most recent contest was last week on the road when they defeated Utah State 27-3.
Can the Wolf Pack win their first game at Boise State since the love theme to the movie “Titanic” was on the music charts? Here are my three keys for a Nevada win and a prediction.
Shore up a porous run defense
In three games this season, the Wolf Pack defense has given up close to an average of 188 yards per game which places them 10th in the Mountain West in the run defense category. In Nevada’s last game against Kansas State, the Wolf Pack defense gave up a total of 269 rushing yards to the Wildcats. Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn ran for 127 yards himself against Nevada two weeks ago.
The Nevada run defense has been below average in the early part of this season and it needs to tighten up. The Wolf Pack are facing a Boise State team that has three running backs (George Holani, Tyler Crowe and Cyrus Habibi-Likio) that have totaled more than 60 yards rushing between the three of them so far this season.
The Broncos may not be an elite rushing offense but they did gain 148 yards rushing in their 27-3 win over Utah State last week .The Broncos are quite capable of going off for a big rushing day so it is up to the Wolf Pack defense to clamp down on run defense.
Get the running game going, but don’t forget about the passing game
The Nevada Wolf Pack offense is designed to be a pass-first offense. QB Carson Strong has a dynamic and talented arm and he has talented receivers to throw to in Romeo Doubs, Cole Turner and Tory Horton. The Wolf Pack will be without Elijah Cooks as he will miss the remainder of the season due to an injured foot.
Despite the loss of Cooks, the Wolf Pack are still humming along as one of the better passing offenses in the conference. The Wolf Pack are second in the Mountain West in passing yards per game as they are averaging 353 passing yards per game. The Wolf Pack do face a Boise State pass defense that has recorded seven interceptions in three games this season. The Wolf Pack passing attack will need to be on its best game and protect the ball while moving the ball vertically against the Bronco pass defense.
However, I feel that for the Wolf Pack to win this game, they must get the running game going. The Wolf Pack should not abandon their pass-oriented attack but they must get their running backs going to take advantage of a porous Bronco run defense.
The Broncos are last in the Mountain West in run defense as they are giving up an average of 210 rushing yards per game through four games. Last week, the Broncos defense only gave up three points to the Aggies but gave up 235 rushing yards.
While the Wolf Pack should stay true to their passing game roots, they needs to get their running backs Toa Taua (25 carries, 155 rushing yards) and Devontae Lee (27 carries 93 yards, two touchdowns ) going early in often to balance the offense and to attack the Broncos run defense.
Stop (or at least limit) Khalil Shakir
The main receiving target for Boise State’s QB Hank Bachmeier is senior Khalil Shakir.
In four games, Shakir has caught 27 passes for 448 yards and has scored three touchdowns. Shakir is averaging 112 receiving yards per game which is second in the Mountain West conference in that category. In Boise State’s win over Utah State last Saturday, Shakir caught seven passes for 113 yards and scored a touchdown in the Broncos 27-3 win over the Aggies.
Shakir is a talented receiver that the Broncos will use to get the offense going so it is up to the Wolf Pack secondary to try to limit him. Nevada will be without starting strong safety Tyson Williams on Saturday against the Broncos due to an injured knee he suffered in the game against Kansas State. Williams has played in 32 games for Nevada and his experience will be missed.
Without the services of Williams in the secondary, the job of trying to stop (or at least limit) Shakir will be difficult but the Wolf Pack secondary must complete the task in order to defeat Boise State for the first time since 2010.
This is one of the more important games for the Wolf Pack in this 2021 season. Nevada has lost 16 of the last 17 games to Boise State and has not beaten the Broncos since 2010. Also, the Wolf Pack have not beaten Boise State in Boise since 1997. If Nevada has aspirations of winning the Mountain West, then they must beat the team that has had their number recently, the Boise State Broncos.
And this year is the best chance for the Wolf Pack to beat Boise State as the 2-2 Broncos have had their problems so far this season. The Broncos have struggled in run defense and run offense and despite beating Utah State 27-3, Boise State played well but that game was more a matter of Utah State making boneheaded mistakes.
I do not believe that Nevada, with two weeks to prepare for this game, will not make those same dumb mistakes that the Aggies did last week. The Wolf Pack will need to add a generous dose of the running game to complement their passing attack. The Wolf Pack will need to contain Broncos wide receiver Kahlil Shakir in order to defeat Boise State on Saturday.
Given the importance of this game, I believe that the Wolf Pack can defeat the Broncos and get that rare win against the Broncos in a close, hard fought contest.
Nevada 26 Boise State 21