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Profile of an Opponent: Nevada Wolf Pack

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School: University of Nevada
Website: Nevada WolfPack
Mascot: Wolf Pack
Location: Reno, Nevada
Blogs: The Pack Critic (not updated recently)
Conference: Western Athletic Conference
2007 Record: 6-7 (4-4)
2008 Prospectus: Heck yes

Season Statistics: (National Rank)

  • Rushing Offense: 214.08 (12)
  • Passing Offense: 253.38 (40)
  • Passing Efficiency: 145.11 (16)
  • Total Offense: 467.46 (11)
  • Scoring Offense: 33.46 (27)
  • Rushing Defense: 174.23 (78)
  • Pass Defense: 240.77 (76)
  • Pass Efficiency Defense: 135.52 (86)
  • Total Defense: 415.00 (79)
  • Scoring Defense: 32.15 (95)
  • Turnover Margin: -0.23 (76)
  • Sacks: 2.00 (64)
  • Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (51)

Generally: Nevada achieved some success last year by going to the New Mexico Bowl, and ultimately losing to New Mexico, 23-0. That being said, Nevada is known more for "The Pistol" offense than anything else. I thought this article from American Football Monthly regarding the Pistol Offense was as good an explanation that I've seen (Part 1 is subscription only). I of course had a great misconception that the Pistol is intended to be a passing and offensive juggernaut, but that's not necessarily the case. According to the aforementioned The Pack Critic, the Pistol is a north-south running based offense. Go figure.

Offense: Colin Kaepernick returns for the Wolf Pack and he can be dangerous running the ball as well as passing the ball. Kaepernick rushed for 53 yards a game, but rushed for 146 yards in Nevada's spring game (I'm not sure what that says about the Nevada defense) and for the most part last year, Kaepernick was pretty efficient, 10th in the nation in passing efficiency. Kaepernick officially took the reins against Fresno State (essentially not playing the first 4 games of the year) and finished the year with 19 passing touchdowns and only 3 interceptions and one of those interceptions came against Nicholls State in what what mop-up duty. That's a pretty good clip.

Nevada's leading rusher returns for his senior year, Luke Lippincott, who rushed for 1,420 yards adn 15 touchdowns (good for 109.25 yards a game and 25th in the nation). Lippincott didn't play in Nevada's spring game and sophomore running back Vai Taua had 10 carries for 57 yards.

Nevada does return all 4 of their top 4 receivers, including Marko Mitchell (53 rec. / 1,129 yds. / 8 TDs), Kyle Sammons (37 rec. / 668 yds / 4 TDs), Mike McCoy (32 rec. / 617 yds. / 4 TDs) and Lippincott (26 rec. / 295 yds. / 3 TDs).

The Wolf Pack will have to replace 2 starters along their offensive line and their tight end.

Defense: This is where the bad news may get worse. Nevada was 79th in total defense last year and only returns 5 starters (DL-Mundrae Clifton, LB-Jerome Johnson, LB-Joshua Mauga, LB-Kevin Porter, and SS-Uche Anyanwu).

Nevada's pass defense was slightly better (in terms of national rank) than the run defense, but opposing offenses allowed an average of 32.15 points a game, and opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 135.52.

The Wolf Pack weren't much better stopping the run, allowing 174.23 yards a game and considering Nevada only returns 1 defensive lineman, this could be a long year. Of course it's worth noting that Nevada does a pretty good job of possessing the ball on the offensive side of the ball as noted in TPC

YouTube: It's hard to find YouTube footage of Nevada doing a ton of great things. That's not to say that Nevada isn't talented, it's just that it's hard to find. Up first, about 7 minutes of highlights against Fresno State last year. You can certainly tell that Mitchell is pretty good and Kaepernick is both a talented runner and he can throw the ball as well. Kaepernick is nifty, finds guys and is resourceful. The Wolf Pack's receiver McCoy is pretty good too. One thing is incredibly evident, that Nevada's defense is awful and I know that this is just highlights, but I can't count the plays that Fresno State just ran up the gut.

Fresno State vs Nevada - 2007 (via toadlife)

 

Highlights from the Boise State and Nevada was a freaking show and Kaepernick shows again how nifty he is. Not only that we get to see how nice of a runner Lippincott is, but son of a gun that's a bad defense, and I've seen some bad defenses in my day.

Nevada vs. Boise State 2007 (via WACfanatic)

What I Think: If Nevada had any semblance of a defense then I'd be very hesitant to be brazen about how I think this game transpires. Here's the problem for Nevada, and Red Raider fans have been on this side of the fence for quite some time, but the more I see of Nevada's offense, the more I really enjoy watching these guys play, but the defense is awful. Nevada has a really nice set of skill players, but again, it's a defense that only returns 5 starters from last year and if this Texas Tech offense and defense are as good as advertised, then I think that the Red Raiders put up a ton of points and should hold Nevada to a touchdown or two.