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Know Thy Enemy: Nevada Wolfpack

Who are these pack of wolves from Reno?

NCAA Football: Purdue at Nevada David Calvert-USA TODAY Sports

2019 record: 1-0 (0-0)

Key Numbers + Info (2019 season)

Head coach: Jay Norvell

OOC Opponents: Purdue, Oregon, Weber State, UTEP

Points per game: 34

Points allowed per game: 31

Avg. yards per rush: 4.4

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.3

Avg. rush yards per game: 112

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 108

Rushing TDs: 1 for, 0 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 295.00

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 423.00

Passing TDs: 3 for, 4 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 58%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 65%

Top returning rusher: Toa Taua (178 carries for 872 yards and six TDs)

Top returning receiver: Kaleb Fossum (70 receptions for 875 yards and seven TDs)

Top returning tackler: LB Gabriel Sewell (92 tackles, 7.5 for loss.)

Top returning sacks: LB Lucas Weber (6.5 sacks)


  • After one game, Nevada is at a whopping 68 to 22 pass to run ratio but that was dictated by game flow as they were trying to mount a comeback. Purdue was slightly less focused on the pass with 64 to 36 pass to run. Last season, the Wolfpack were 53 to 47 pass to run while their opponents were the opposite, going 53 to 47 run to pass.
  • Last season, the Pack led their opponents in total yards by a margin of 5,600 to 5,038. They passed the ball more than their opponents to the tune of 3,624 to 3,192 while holding a slight advantage in the rushing department 1,976 to 1,846.
  • The highest point total they scored is 72 in a win against Portland State. The lowest that they scored is 3 against Fresno State. The most points they gave up is 63 against Toledo. The lowest that they gave up in a loss is 31 against Boise State. The lowest that they gave up in a FBS win was 10 against Colorado State.

Key players to watch

1. Toa Taua 5’9 210 RB Sophomore

  • He’s an underrated athlete that can find a gap in the defense and attack it. Very good at catching passes out of the backfield. Used primarily as an inside the tackles type of back.

2. Daniel Brown 5’11 180 CB Senior

  • Possibly the Mountain West’s best cornerback prospect. He had a great interception that led to the game winner last week against Purdue.

3. Carson Strong 6’4 220 QB Freshman

  • He’s a big tall kid with a pretty above average arm and an innate feel for the pocket for such a young player. Was incredible for a true freshman making his first start against a Power 5 opponent.

Keys to an Oregon win

  • The LOS. Oregon needs to control the line of scrimmage with their powerful offensive line against the 3-3-5 defense that Nevada runs. Nevada’s DC is a familiar face in Jeff Castille who made his bones with the 3-3-5 formation at West Virginia and Arizona. DC Andy Avalos is very familiar with Nevada as he coached against them for several years in the MWC. I would bring pressure with five at most. Nevada’s offensive line isn’t that talented. The Ducks need to settle on a right guard once and for all. Dallas Warmack got exposed badly and Steven Jones had to come in for him despite hardly playing the position.
  • Run game. The linebackers for Nevada are very poor overall and with an offensive line as talented as the Ducks have, it’s simple, Arroyo. Given the 3-3-5 front, I’d run the ball against a pass focused defense until they show that they can adjust.
  • Discipline. The secondary will have to play lights out in terms of discipline as Nevada runs an offshoot of the Air Raid. The defense had some struggles containing Washington State the past several years. They will need to focus primarily on the slot (Fossum) and the running back out of the backfield (Taua). I would have Jevon Holland as the “Big Nickel” to cover these two avenues and the cornerbacks TG4 and Lenoir play straight man to man on the receivers. Up front, gap integrity is the phrase of the day.

Keys to an Oregon loss

  • Prevent offense, the Marcus Arroyo special”. What does it do for you? prevent you from truly putting away the opponent and losing. Arroyo needs to keep up the offensive pressure until the clock reads 0:00. None of this abhorrent, vile, disgustingly predictable play calling that cost the Ducks the game last week. To his credit, he did admit that he messed up not trusting his receivers to make plays.
  • Justin Herbert. Dude needs to get it together mentally. I don’t know if it’s coaching or a severe lack of trust in his receivers but he cannot or simply refuses to throw to a covered receiver. He has virtually 0 sense of anticipatory throws in his arsenal. Also, he needs to keep the ball more on read option plays, the offense is entirely one dimensional if he doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s him protecting himself and his draft stock but it’s a glaring issue. The one play he did make to Spencer Webb was Webb “Mossing” the Auburn DB more than anything.
  • Turnovers. Nevada upset the Boilermakers due to critical turnovers on special teams and on offense. Not turning the ball over would be great.

What are the odds?

(all odds courtesy of and

The Westgate Superbook has Oregon being 24 point favorites. O/U is set at 61. The money line is Oregon -3000 Nevada +1200

William Hill has Oregon being 24 point favorites. O/U is set at 61.5. The money line is Oregon -2000 Nevada +1100.

Bovada has Oregon as 24 point favorites. O/U set at 61.5 has Oregon as 24.5 point favorites. O/U set at 61.5