Wolf Pack rounds out regular season on the road to face Colorado State
Nevada end road regular season as they face Colorado State
WEEK 13: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Colorado State Rams
OR: Canvas Stadium: Fort Collins, Colorado
WHEN: Saturday at 6 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Nevada Football is on ESPN 94.5 in Reno
SERIES REGISTRATION: Colorado State leads the series 12-4; The last meet between the schools was on November 10, 2018, where Nevada won 49-10.
CHANCES: Nevada (-4)
SP + PROJECTION: Nevada by 2.3
FEI SCREENING: Nevada from 3.2
Here are my three keys to a Nevada victory and a Nevada-Colorado State prediction
Improve running defense
While Nevada’s pass defense has been strong this season, the run defense has floundered. The Wolf Pack is giving up an average of 4.46 yards per carry, which is good for the tenth in the Mountain West. State the obvious here, but those stats aren’t good for Nevada’s run defense.
Last week, in the triple overtime loss to the Air Force, Nevada allowed 522 rushing yards (522 rushing yards !!!). That porous running defense has been a problem for the Wolf Pack for much of this season and needs to be stepped up this week against the Rams.
Colorado State is a favorite running the ball as they’ve averaged 158 rushing yards per game this season. The Rams’ leader this season is David Bailey as he has run for 738 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Rams quarterback Todd Centino can also come out of the pocket (447 rushing yards, two touchdowns).
In order for Nevada to end the regular season on a winning note, the Wolf Pack needs to do better by stopping the race this week than it did last week. Stopping the Rams’ quick offense is key to a victory in Nevada.
Find and contain Trey McBride
This Colorado State-Nevada contest is a game that will feature two of college football’s best tight ends: Cole Turner of Nevada and Trey McBride of Colorado State.
While Cole Turner has been a productive tight end with some of the best catches of the best times this season, it’s actually Trey McBride who leads the Mountain West among the tight ends in receiving (84) receiving yards (1,008). and yards per catch (12 yards per catch). With wide receiver Dante Wright, Trey McBride provides the Rams’ offense led by quarterback Todd Centino with a formidable opponent for the Wolf Pack defense to stop.
As the Colorado state defense tries to stop Cole Turner and the many weapons the Wolf Pack offense possesses, the Wolf Pack defense must focus on containing Trey McBride and limiting his impact on Saturday night.
Neutralize the Colorado State Defensive Line
Just as this game will feature the top two tight ends in the country, this game will feature two of the best passing racing units in Nevada and Colorado State. Nevada’s defensive line led by Sam Hammond, Tristan Nichols and Dom Peterson has been stellar this season as the defense has registered 34 sacks this season.
Colorado State’s defense line is just as strong as they’ve allowed just 3.9 rushing yards per carry and their defensive line star is Scott Patchan. This season, Patchan has recorded 63 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss. Eight sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Patchan’s stellar game this season is why he is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year at Mountain West.
Nevada’s offensive line will have a tough test trying to neutralize that Rams’ defensive line, but for the Wolf Pack to win on Saturday they need to be able to hold Patchan and this talented Colorado State defensive line.
Prediction and score
Nevada are looking to end the regular season on a winning note this Saturday against Colorado State. The Wolf Pack gave up the last two games in a tight and heartbreaking fashion against San Diego State and the Air Force, mostly due to slow starts and poor running defense.
For Nevada to break that two-game losing streak, the Wolf Pack will need to play good football for the full four quarters. The Wolf Pack need to dramatically improve their defense against last week’s run and crack down on Colorado State skill players like Dante Wright and Trey McBride. Nevada must be able to consolidate its offensive line and neutralize the Rams’ defensive line led by Scott Patchan.
Ultimately, the Wolf Pack can take the win due to their explosive offense and despite Colorado State’s talent, they’ve been mostly inconsistent during their five-game losing streak. I like the Wolf Pack in another close competition for Nevada.
Note: Nevada 45 State of Colorado 40