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Reno 411: Boise State vs Nevada game preview

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NCAA Football: Nevada at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Game facts

  • Time: Saturday, October 13th, 8:30PM
  • Location: Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV
  • Weather at kickoff: 58°, clear
  • Odds: Boise State by 17
  • TV: CBS Sports
  • Radio: KBOI 670 AM
  • Commentators: Rich “Viennese“ Waltz, Aaron “Brian Doyle” Murray, Cassie “Sassy“ McKinney

Other facts

1. Reno 911

Boise State definitely laid an egg offensively on Saturday and that egg was rotten. We’ll know this weekend if that performance was an outlier because Nevada is known to run the exact same defense that has now TWICE sunk the Broncos battleship. On top of that, Nevada has a much more varied and efficient offense than the one we saw against the Aztecs...if you had Boise going from NY6 darling to upset-alert at Reno in the course of 4 weeks in your office pool...well, I hope you never collect your winnings.

2. Pierced heart

“Pierced spleen” may be more apropos as the Broncos will be without their top tackler for the rest of the season. Deandre Pierce suffered a freak season-ender at _yoming and will not be able to rejoin the squad. This means freshman Tyreque Jones will be thrown to the wolves (pack) this week after a semi-solid debut against San Diego State (4 tackles). Oh, did I mention that David Moa is likely done for the year as well? Why do bad things happen to good fanbases?

3. Patterns

Nevada has won every other game this season and Boise State has lost when they’ve faced a 3-3-5 defense...Nevada lost last week and guess which defense they run? As Keith Jackson used to say, “Whoooooa, Nelly”.

4. Juniper creepus

Streaks

Nevada - Lost 1

Boise State - Lost 1 :(

Strunk (and White)

Best name on the roster

Sophomore running back Russell Booze is my personal favorite.

Best picture(s) on the roster

Senior linebacker Lucas Weber is going to be a karate instructor, police officer, or private investigator in Hawaii once his football career is over. Sorry, thems the breaks.

Players to watch

Ty Gangi, QB

Gangi couldn’t go last weekend in the Wolf Pack’s loss to Fresno but he’s trying his darnedest to return this weekend. Currently, he’s listed as simply “not 100%” but Gangi at 80% is probably better than back-up Cristian Solano. On the year, Gangi has 11 TDs and 6 INTs, but is a run threat and makes this offense go. If the Broncos get into a score-fest, it would be better for us if he was on the sideline.

Toa Taua, RB

The true freshman running back is the younger brother of former Nevada standout Vai Taua and one of the biggest recruits to sign with the Wolf Pack in recent history. He leads the team in rushing yards with 433 and has done it with just 64 touches...a 6.8 YPC average. Taua isn’t a huge back (5’8”), but he’s solid (205 lbs.) and not going to respond to arm tackles. Seize him!

Malik Reed, LB

The senior LB is a team captain and for good reason. He’s just outside the top 10 in career sacks at Nevada and was an All-Mountain West first-teamer last season. This season, he was on the preseason Bednarik and Nagurski Award watch lists. This season, he’s already off to a hot start—he has 4 sacks in 6 games and 26 tackles.

McLane Mannix, WR

The sophomore wideout doesn’t lead the team in receiving yards (he’s about 40 yards behind Kaleb Fossum), but he does lead the team in efficiency. He averages 18.2 yards per catch and has scored 5 TDs already on the year. Definitely keep an eye on this man (nix).

Dameon Baber, S

The senior DB was a preseason All-Mountain West pick and Phil Steele tagged him as the 13th best free safety in the country. Last season, he became just the 3rd player in NCAA history to score three times in one game on returns (punt return, punt block return, INT return). Baber is a stud...don’t test him—much.

Players NOT to watch

Gangi might not be able to go...at least at full-strength. DB EJ Muhammed is done for the year. DT Adam Lopez and LB Lucas Weber (of amazing mustache fame) are likely out.

Keys to victory

  • Stop the run. Nevada sets up a lot of their offense with the run (as do most teams), so stonewalling their fleet of powerful backs will force them into difficult downs and distances. If Nevada is able to run clock, it will really put the Broncos in a tough position.
  • Establish the run. One game isn’t a trend...but 4 games is. The Broncos have not run the ball well this season despite Alexander Mattison’s best efforts, and need to start doing just that if they hope to alter the trajectory of this season. Last weekend, the Broncos faced the #2 rushing defense in the country...this week, Nevada represents the #47-ranked rush D in the nation. Not great...but not that bad either (Broncos are 44th).
  • Protect the ball. Turnovers really killed the Broncos last week. In fact, without them...San Diego might not have score more than one TD. Ugh...now I’m reliving that debacle all over again.
  • Don’t lose. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?!

Score prediction

Boise State 40, Nevada 28