Nevada vs. New Mexico State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Nevada Wolf Pack begins the Ken Wilson era with a Week 0 contest on the road against New Mexico State
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The Ken Wilson Era begins for Nevada with a road contest against New Mexico State
WEEK 0: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. New Mexico State Aggies
WHERE: Aggie Memorial Stadium; Las Cruces, New Mexico
WHEN: 8 p.m. MT
STREAMING: The game can be streamed on ESPN Plus or get a free trial with FuboTV
RADIO: Nevada is on ESPN 94.5 in Reno and New Mexico State is on KXPZ 99.5 in Las Cruces.
SERIES RECORD: Nevada leads the series 13-2 over New Mexico State. The last meeting was in 2021 in Reno, where Nevada won 55-28.
WEBSITES: NevadaWolfPack.com, the official Nevada athletics website | NMStateSports, the official New Mexico State athletics website
GAME NOTES (PDF): Nevada | New Mexico State
ODDS: Nevada -9
SP+ PROJECTION: Nevada by 12
FEI PROJECTION: Nevada by 21
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Nevada 33.33, New Mexico State 25.42
Mountain West Football: First Look At The New Mexico State Aggies
The wait is over.
The 2022 football season is here.
I do not need to tell you to get excited because I know you, the reader, are already excited. I bet you are so excited that you just can’t hide it.
Enough of me quoting lyrics from The Pointer Sisters, time to talk Nevada Wolf Pack football. The Ken Wilson era begins for Nevada on Saturday in Las Cruces as the Wolf Pack take on the New Mexico State Aggies.
The Wolf Pack will not only have a new coach making his debut this season, the Wolf Pack team will have a bunch of new players making their debut. Some of those new players will be playing at key positions such as quarterback. It will be a new coach, new look and new systems making their debuts for the Wolf Pack on Saturday.
The Wolf Pack will be taking on a New Mexico State team for the second straight season. Last time these two teams played, the Wolf Pack easily took care of the Aggies in Reno. Like Nevada, New Mexico will have a first year coach making his debut in Jerry Kill. So this contest will be two teams debuting new head coaches and new philosophies on a Saturday afternoon in the Land of Enchantment.
Can the Wolf Pack and their new players and new system score a win in Ken Wilson’s debut? Here are my three keys and a prediction for Nevada’s contest against New Mexico State.
Three Keys to a Nevada Victory
Establishing the running game
You have read about this all offseason and guess what, you are going to read it once more: The Wolf Pack lost a lot of talent on offense from last season’s team.
Carson Strong is gone and so are the top seven pass catchers from last season. Those pass catchers are either at the NFL or hit the transfer portal and are at new schools.
The Wolf Pack don’t have a lot of known players in the wide receiver and tight end department going into this season. But what Nevada does have are two big, strong and talented running backs in Toa Taua and Devonte Lee.
With Coach Wilson placing an emphasis on a balanced attack led by the running game, Taua, Lee and Oregon transfer Cross Patton (whose father is Big Boi from OutKast and here is hoping I get to drop this fun fact many times during the season) need to be the focal points in establishing the ground game for the Wolf Pack.
Establishing the ground game will be important, especially for a Wolf Pack offensive line that will have brand new starters this season. Aaron Frost was supposed to be the lone returner on the offensive line but he might be lost for the season due to an injury during fall camp.
Also, another reason to establish the run game in this game is because New Mexico State was horrible in stopping the run last season. The Aggies were ranked 112th in FBS last season in rush defense as they gave up 197.5 yards per game on the ground.
It will be essential for Nevada to run the ball early and establish the ground game and dominate the line of scrimmage early. If the Wolf Pack can do that, then they can take care of the second key which is.
Get the new look wide receiver/tight end group involved early and often.
The Wolf Pack have mostly new faces in their wide receiver group in 2022. Jamaal Bell is the lone Nevada receiver who recorded a catch last season so this group is a big unknown.
Nevada went to the transfer portal and players like B.J. Casteel (Arizona), and Dalevon Campbell (Illinois) have been added to the receiver group. Joining that group of receivers is freshman Victor Snow, who performed well in Nevada’s spring game.
With the mostly new faces at wide receiver and the tight end group, it is important for Nevada’s starting quarterback to spread the ball around to players like Casteel, Curtis, Campbell and Tyrese Mack in order to find a number two option to run alongside Jamaal Bell.
This receiver group, along with the tight ends such as Cooper Shults and Jacob Munro, is mostly unknown and unproven so in this contest against New Mexico State, the quarterback for Nevada must get them involved early.
Nevada’s defensive line putting pressure on New Mexico State’s offense
New Mexico State will be breaking in three new starters on the offensive line and the Aggies are quiet about who their quarterback might be. It looks like it could be juco transfer Diego Pavia, junior Weston Eget, or true freshman Gavin Frakes.
The important thing here is that New Mexico State will have a mostly new offensive line and uncertainty at quarterback, so it is important for the Wolf Pack defensive line to put pressure on them early and often, one thing they were very capable of doing throughout last season.
This season, however, the Wolf Pack defensive line only returns one starter in Dom Peterson. He, along with James Hansen (Utah State), Louie Cresto (Oregon), William Green (Liberty), and returning player Christopher Love must apply pressure on New Mexico’s offensive line and disrupt the Aggies offensive rhythm.
The Wolf Pack will open up the 2022 season with a new head coach and new schemes on offense and defense. Combine that with new players at key positions (some with limited playing experience) expect the Wolf Pack to endure some serious bumps this season and in their season opener.
Good thing for the Wolf Pack is that their opponent, New Mexico State, is also breaking in a new head coach and new systems on both sides of the ball as well. So in this contest, the winner may be the team that plays smart and avoids critical mistakes.
The Wolf Pack do have an edge over New Mexico State in that Nevada’s depth is a little bit better than the Aggies. That case is true when it comes to the defensive line where New Mexico State does return some talented players on their front seven but beyond that, the depth is thin,
I expect the Wolf Pack to lean in on their running game and better depth to pull out a close contest against New Mexico State. And also, give new Wolf Pack head coach Ken Wilson a victory in his debut as head coach.
Nevada 33, New Mexico State 28