Nevada VS Fresno State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Nevada VS Fresno State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Fresno State

Nevada VS Fresno State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Nevada VS Fresno State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

The Wolf Pack travel to central California to take on Fresno State in a pivotal conference match-up.

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Nevada Will Hit The Road To Face Fresno State Key Conference Contest

WEEK 8: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

WHERE: Bulldog Stadium; Fresno, California

TV: Fox Sports 1

SERIES RECORD: Fresno State leads the all-time series 28-17. The last meeting was on December 5th 202 when Nevada defeated Fresno State 37-26.

ODDS:  Fresno State (-3)

SP+ PROJECTION: Fresno State by 9.4

FEI PROJECTION: Fresno State by 3.3

The Nevada Wolf Pack travel to central California to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in a contest that is crucial in the chase to play for a Mountain West championship.

Here are my three keys for a Nevada victory and a prediction.

Contain Jake Haener and the Fresno State passing attack

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is having another stellar season throwing the ball. Haener is leading the Mountain West in passing yards (2,326), touchdowns (six) and quarterback rating (162.26) Haener also leads the conference in passing yards per game as he is averaging 332.3 passing yards per game. While all the talk and focus has been on Carson Strong (and rightfully so) Jake Haener has been the top passer in the Mountain West so far this season.

Last week against Wyoming, Haener only completed 15 of 28 passes for 96 yards but he did throw for two touchdowns. So despite the low passing yards, Haener was able to play well enough to lead Fresno State to victory last week. And the Wolf Pack defense must be able to slow him down this Saturday. 

The Wolf Pack front four led by Tristan Nichols (eight sacks, best in the nation), Dom Peterson  and Sam Hammond  must be able to get pressure on Haener to force him into bad decisions. And the Nevada secondary led JoJuan Claiborne, Mikael Bradford, Jordan Lee and the rest of the defensive back field must be able to cover the Bulldogs receivers such as Jalen Cropper (48 receptions, 546 yards, 10 touchdowns) and the rest of the talented Fresno State receivers.

For the Wolf Pack to defeat the Bulldogs, it starts with slowing down Haener and the Fresno State passing offense.

 

Protect the ball and Carson Strong

While Fresno State is known for their offense, their defense is a unit that is one of the better units in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs are second in the Mountain West in pass defense (183.3 passing yards per game) and have recorded 19 sacks this season. Fresno State’s defense has shown that it is a unit that can stop the opposition’s offense and force turnovers..

Last week against the Cowboys, the Bulldogs forced five turnovers, sacked Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers three times and gave up zero points in a 17-0 victory.  Fresno State’s defense performed very well on the road and is looking to do it again this week against Nevada.

For Nevada to come away with the road win against Fresno State, the Wolf Pack must protect the ball and protect Carson Strong who has been dealing with a left knee issue due to him having arthroscopic surgery  before fall camp. The Wolf Pack cannot give this Fresno State team more possessions on offense to score so it is important to protect the ball and Carson Strong on Saturday. 

 

Get the ball to the Wolf Pack playmakers on offense.

If the Wolf Pack can protect the ball and Carson Strong, then that will give Strong the opportunity to get the ball to a plethora of talented playmakers.

Between Cole Turner, Romeo Doubs, and Fresno native Tory Horton for the receiver unit and the running backs Toa Taua and Devontae Lee, the Wolf Pack have the offensive firepower to attack the Fresno State defense.

It is essential for the Wolf Pack playmakers to play great on Saturday against a Fresno State defense fresh off of shutting out the Cowboys. For Nevada to win, the playmakers at the skills positions must step up big.

 

Prediction

Nevada’s hopes of playing for a Mountain West championship truly starts on Saturday in Fresno when the face off against the 5-2 Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are a very talented offense led by quarterback Jake Haener but the Bulldogs defense has been very good this season especially against the pass. Last week Fresno State stuffed the Wyoming offense and shut them down in a 17-0 victory. This defense from the Bulldogs is a formidable unit that the Wolf Pack must deal with.

The Wolf Pack must protect both Carson Strong and the football from the Bulldogs and avoid turnovers. Also Nevada must get the ball to its playmakers on offense and put pressure on Fresno State QB Jake Haener. If Nevada does that then they’ll have a very good chance of winning on the road.

In Nevada’s last game against Hawaii, the Wolf Pack played a strong second half as they shut down the Rainbow Warrior offense and scored two touchdowns on their way to defeating Hawaii. Also in that contest, Nevada forced five turnovers against Hawaii while committing none themselves.

Can Nevada repeat their same performance from last week against Fresno State. It’ll be a close and hard fought contest but Nevada has the talent to pull it off.

Nevada 38  Fresno State 35

 

 

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