We have a college football nightcap on Saturday night on the west coast. The Nevada Wolf Pack travel to California for a meeting with the San Diego State Aztecs at 10:30EST. The Aztecs are looking to finish up the end of the season on a high note, after a rather successful year thus far. Unfortunately for San Diego State, they will need Fresno State to lose to Wyoming and Boise State to reach the Mountain West Championship.
It sounds a bit absurd that a potential 10-2 team, in the Mountain West, will not be playing in the championship, but they can blame the surging Fresno State Bulldogs for that. Fresno State certainly don’t have automatic wins the next two weeks, though. Wyoming can be a Jekyll and Hyde opponent, while Boise State is 1st in the other division in the Mountain West. Barring upsets, San Diego State will finish 10-2. After tonight, they take on New Mexico next week. They will be favorites in that one as well. Fresno State does hold the tie-breaker over San Diego State, if they do in fact finished tied.
The key this week is to take Nevada seriously. They’re an 2-8 football team, but they are coming off a 59-14 win against San Jose State and may have found some confidence. Before that victory, Nevada were on a three-game losing streak. Their other win this year came against Hawaii. So, it isn’t the most impressive portfolio for Nevada. The Wolf Pack are still trying to recapture the magic they had when Colin Kaepernick was their quarterback, so it’s been a minute. The highlight of that era was a win over Kellen Moore and the Boise State Broncos to block their Rose Bowl invite. Kyle Brotzman anyone?
Nevada could play spoiler again tonight and officially remove San Diego State from the Mountain West Championship. The Aztecs had a tune-up game two weeks ago heading into a bye, as they blew out San Jose State by a score of 52-7. It was a nice opportunity to go through the depth chart and give some others some playing time. With a struggling Nevada team coming to San Diego, it’s time to keep the intensity level up and not look past the Wolf Pack. Head below for our free Nevada vs. San Diego State pick.
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. San Diego State Aztecs Betting Odds:
vs. San Diego State -16(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Nevada vs. San Diego State Pick:
San Diego State lost their all-purpose back, Donnel Pumphrey, to the NFL after last season. He was a dynamic player that did it all for the Aztecs. Out goes Pumphrey, and in goes Rashad Penny. Penny is picking up right from where Pumphrey left off in the backfield. He’s rushed for a whopping 1,602 yards and 17 touchdowns in total.
Penny has been awarded the MWC Player of the Week award eight times. Pumphrey ran behind an impressive offensive line, and Penny has the same luxury at San Diego State. The Aztecs are 14th in the country with 247.3 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Christian Chapman isn’t counted on very often, but when he is, Chapman has been on point.
Chapman has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He hasn’t touched over 100 yards passing the last three weeks, but with the running game as effective as it’s been, they’d be stupid to air it out. Their marquee win this year came against Stanford, a 20-17 win early in the season. Stanford was frustrated by an underrated San Diego State defense.
They rank 7th in the nation, allowing just 295 yards per game. The Aztec defense also frustrated Arizona State, so they have shown to be able to handle good offenses, too. Ty Gangi has been solid for Nevada at quarterback. He’s the one guy the Aztecs must be aware of. He’s thrown for 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, with 4 touchdowns rushing. Their offense is 56th in the nation, averaging 391 yards per game.
They’ll need a near perfect performance to upset San Diego State. Penny is going to get his against a Nevada rush defense who are struggling in 2017. The Wolf Pack are 110th in the nation with 204.6 yards allowed per game. The Nevada offense must find a way to counter that, and I don’t think they’ll be able to against a really good San Diego State defensive unit. Nevada won’t be able to match their physicality and ultimately get worn down. San Diego State should be in for a 3 touchdown win on Saturday night.