San Jose State vs. Nevada: Keys to a Spartans Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Spartans hit the road for a West division battle with Nevada. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for against the Wolf Pack.
Is another upset in the making?
WEEK 10: San Jose State Spartans (5-4, 3-2 Mountain West) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (6-2, 3-1 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 6 — 7:00 PM PT/8:00 PM MT
WHERE: Mackay Stadium; Reno, NV
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS2, by following this link.
RADIO: The San Jose State broadcast can be found in and around the San Francisco Bay Area on 860 AM (KTRB). The Nevada broadcast can be found throughout Reno on 94.5 FM.
SERIES RECORD: Nevada leads the all-time series 22-10-1. In the last meeting on December 11, 2020, the Spartans defeated the Wolf Pack, 30-20, in Las Vegas.
LAST WEEK: San Jose State beat Wyoming at home, 27-21, while Nevada defeated UNLV at home, 51-20.
ODDS (as of 11/2, via Vegas Insider): Nevada -10
SP+ PROJECTION: Nevada by 6.9
FEI PROJECTION: Nevada by 14.7
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Nevada 86.31% win probability
Now just one win away from clinching bowl eligibility, the San Jose State Spartans hope to finish that business on the road this Saturday against the Nevada Wolf Pack.
It won’t be easy, however, since Jay Norvell’s team successfully defended the Fremont Cannon against UNLV and surely haven’t forgotten how last year’s game against the Spartans slipped away. Here’s how San Jose State can beat Nevada.
Three Keys to a San Jose State Victory
1. See whether the Wolf Pack can defend a mobile quarterback.
Nick Nash has given the Spartans offense a new look that could come in handy against the Wolf Pack defense. They did a good job of containing Charles Williams last weekend, but Nash and running back Tyler Nevens could confound the Wolf Pack with the right play-calling touch.
The only other running quarterback that Nevada has faced this year is Kansas State’s Will Howard, who scored twice and ran for 56 yards on 12 carries while allowing Deuce Vaughn to do his thing. Nash could do the same if offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven rolls him out of the pocket to throw on the move, which could have the effect of slowing a pass rush that has put up a 9.7% team sack rate to date. He won’t need to run for another 100 yard to make a massive impact (though, of course, it couldn’t hurt).
𝗦𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗔𝗡𝗦 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗜𝗞𝗘 𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗦𝗧. ⚔
Nick Nash takes it up the middle, @SanJoseStateFB takes a 7-0 lead over Wyoming.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 30, 2021
2. Get big games out of the secondary.
Whether it’s Romeo Doubs or Justin Lockhart attacking the sidelines or Cole Turner with a head of steam down the seam, it won’t be a surprise when Nevada quarterback Carson Strong decides to stretch the field. Needless to say, the game could turn on how well cornerbacks Bobby Brown II and Nehemiah Shelton hold up against very tough assignments.
The good news? Brown and Shelton have quietly been solid this season, combining for 17 passes defended, and Derrick Odum’s defense has been here before. Strong threw the ball 48 times against the Spartans last year and averaged only 5.4 yards per attempt. The trick will be whether they can turn successful defensive plays into the turnovers: SJSU had two interceptions last week against Wyoming… but they still have just three on the year with 43 passes defended overall, the second-most in the FBS.
3. Let the Wolf Pack beat themselves.
San Jose State seems to have figured out how to be more disciplined in recent weeks, picking up just five penalties in the last two games, which could take on more importance against a Nevada team that can sometimes get in its own way.
The Wolf Pack had a season-high 12 penalties for 100 yards against UNLV last weekend, the fourth time this year they’ve been tagged with at least ten flags, and while it hasn’t often caught up with them it very well could if the defense plays stout and the offense can limit possessions over the course of the contest.
Nevada looks like they’re on a roll, so the Spartans figure to be tested often by the Air Raid. The problem is that San Jose State didn’t really figure out how to slow the likes of USC and Western Michigan for good; even New Mexico State and UNLV got a few good licks in more recently. They might be able to harass Carson Strong here and there, but it’s hard to envision them doing it for four quarters.
Nevada 42, San Jose State 27