UNLV vs Nevada: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Wolf Pack and the Rebels square off in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon
Nevada Faces Off Against UNLV as the Wolf Pack look to keep the cannon blue to close out the season.
WEEK 13: Nevada Wolf Pack (2-9, 0-7 MW) vs. UNLV (4-7, 2-5 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 26th –3:00 PM PT/4:00 PM MT
TV: Mountain West Network (Click here to stream the game on the Mountain West website)
RADIO: Nevada is on ESPN 94.5 in Reno and UNLV is on 1100AM and 100.9 FM in Las Vegas
SERIES RECORD: Nevada leads the series 28-19. The last meeting was in 2021 in Reno where Nevada won 51-20.
ODDS: UNLV (-12.5)
SP+ PROJECTION: UNLV by 13.9
FEI PROJECTION: UNLV by 8.2
The Nevada Wolf Pack will take on their rivals to the south, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday in Las Vegas for the Fremont Cannon.
The Wolf Pack will take to the field for the last time in this 2022 season to hopefully snap a nine game losing streak. Should Nevada lose to UNLV, it will be the Wolf Pack’s first winless conference season since 1956 when they were in something called the Far Western Conference. Nevada really needs this win to close out this dreadful season on a high note by beating their in-state rivals and to keep the cannon blue.
(Fun Fact: The Teams in the Far Western conference were Nevada, UC Davis, Humboldt State, San Francisco State and Chico State. The head coach for Nevada when the Wolf Pack went winless back in 1956 was Gordon McEachron. I think Gordon McEachron sounds like a character from Succession or some prestige cable drama that I’m sure people watch but I don’t know anyone that does.)
Anyway, back to the preview. The Wolf Pack are facing a UNLV team that is 4-7 and coming off a crushing loss to Hawaii last Saturday. That loss may have kept the Rebels from being bowl eligible but UNLV needs to win and hope there are not enough 6-6 teams to fill all the bowl spots for UNLV to go bowling.
Nevada is looking to avoid a tenth straight loss and looking to keep the cannon blue.
Can the Wolf Pack defeat UNLV and officially crush the Rebels bowl hopes?
Here are my three keys and a prediction for the Battle for the Fremont Cannon between Nevada and UNLV.
Whoever the QB is, the play must be better
The quarterback situation for Nevada is uncertain heading into this contest(what a surprise the starting QB position has been uncertain all year) As of me typing up this preview, Coach Ken Wilson has not named a starting quarterback for the UNLV game.
Barring something unforeseen, Wilson will be deciding between Shane Illingworth (who is dealing with a left shoulder injury) and Nate Cox who is a senior and has no eligibility left. No matter who the quarterback is,the play at that position must step up
Against Fresno State, Cox completed 16 of 38 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Cox however did have those three turnovers that were costly. In Illingworth’s last game two weeks ago against Boise State, Illingworth completed 13 of 30 passes for only 123 yards.
What would also help the QB play for Nevada get better is the wide receivers stepping up as well. Last week against Fresno State, the Wolf Pack wide receivers dropped a bunch of 50-50 passes from Cox and that would have helped Nevada move the ball on offense.
Better receiver play and better quarterback play will go a long way to help Nevada’s chances of beating UNLV on Saturday. If the QB and as a whole, the offense plays poorly get ready for a long night in Vegas for Nevada. And not the long fun type of night in Vegas kind either.
Win the turnover battle
In Nevada’s 41-14 loss to Fresno State, the Wolf Pack turned the ball over three times. QB Nate Cox (who made a surprising start but it wasn’t a surprise when you realize it was Senior Night in Reno and a very nice nod from Coach Wilson to start Cox) threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
The 2022 edition of the Nevada Wolf Pack is not a team full of talent or experience so it is important for Nevada to win the turnover battle. Nevada especially needs to win the turnover battle against an UNLV team that is third in the Mountain West in turnover margin.
Nevada is second in the conference in turnover margin but Nevada must do a better job at protecting the ball this week. Whoever ends up at quarterback for the Wolf Pack, if it’s Illingworth or Cox, they must protect the ball.
The Nevada offense as a whole needs to protect the football better if they want to keep the Fremont Cannon blue.
Establish the ground game
Nevada lacks a lot of offensive weapons this season but in the last few games, Toa Taua has shown he is still a reliable tool on offense.
In the last three games, Taua has 271 yards and has given the Nevada offense a consistent spark that it sorely needs. Against Boise State Taua rushed for 103 yards at an average of 6.04 yards a carry and last week against Fresno State, Taua rushed for 93 yards at an average of 5.47 yards a carry.
Nevada’s offense will need to establish the ground game with Taua and hope the passing game is not messing things up. Nevada is so devoid of any talent and a good offensive line that it needs all the help it can get in the form of Taua’s rushing ability.
Establishing the ground game would be much needed against an UNLV team that gave up 167 yards rushing against Hawaii last week. If the Wolf Pack can establish the ground game against UNLV, then they have at least a chance to beat the Rebels on Saturday.
Final Score Prediction
UNLV 28 Nevada 10
Nevada has lost nine straight games and can not close out this disastrous season with a loss to their instate rivals in UNLV.
For Nevada to pull off the victory, they need better quarterback (and wide receiver) play, protect the ball and avoid costly turnovers and establish the ground game. Getting the ground game going is critical for the Wolf Pack if they want to win and keep the cannon blue.
However, Nevada does not have the talent to match up against a UNLV team that is looking to bounce back after a brutal loss to Hawaii last week. Nevada’s poor offense just does not have enough to match up against the Rebels offense.
Nevada will put up a fight because it is a rivalry game but in the end the cannon will be painted red as UNLV will defeat the Wolf Pack.
Now I am going to go start watching Succession to see if there is a character named Gordon McEachron.