The Utah State Aggies and Nevada Wolf Pack meet at Mackay Stadium for a Thursday night Mountain West showdown. Utah State are attempting to get their campaign on track after two disappointing games against Boise State and San Diego State. Neither game were a ballgame, with Boise State winning 42-13 and 38-7 in favor of San Diego State. I don’t know if the offense or defense was worse for Utah State.
This is a team that typically prides itself around playing solid defensive football, so I’d say that’s been more of a disappointment for them. When Matt Wells took a job at Texas Tech to leave Utah State, the program was left with a void. Gary Anderson coached Utah State from 2009 to 2012, and brought them from 4-8 the first two years to 11-2 in his final season there in 2012.
Following a short stint at Wisconsin, Anderson spent three years in Oregon State where it was a massive failure. The Beavers were well below .500 in every season, as they were a doormat for their rivals. Utah State needed a replacement, so back to Utah State for Anderson. He led the Aggies to a score of 7-6 with a loss against Kent State in the Frisco Bowl, 51-41.
Nevada are coming off a win in Las Vegas to capture the Fremont Cannon in a rivalry game. They painted the cannon back to blue to end UNLV’s tenure as the winner. Nevada has bigger plans this season, though. They’re aiming for a high quality bowl game, and are off to a good start with a record of 2-0. Their toughest game left is San Diego State. Win that game and there’s a good chance they could go undefeated.
This is a better Nevada team than we’ve seen the last two years. The development of quarterback Carson Strong plays a big role in Nevada’s success this season. Strong is the catalyst of this offense, and is making a case for NFL teams to take a look at him when he declares for the draft.
I realize he’s beaten up on Mountain West teams, but so did Josh Allen, and dicing up Wyoming isn’t easy. That’s not to say Strong is going to be a top-10 pick in the draft like Allen. He threw for 420 yards and 4 touchdowns on a good Wyoming defense in the season opener. We’ll see if he can keep it rolling on Thursday night. Head below for our free Utah State vs. Nevada pick for November 5, 2020/
Utah State Aggies vs. Nevada Wolf Pack Betting Odds:
Utah State vs. Nevada Prediction:
Carson Strong has looked cool under center for Nevada. He is the most impressive quarterback that I’ve seen at Nevada since Colin Kaepernick. Strong has passed for 770 passing yards and 6 touchdowns with no interceptions through to games. He’s recorded at least 350 yards passing in each game against Wyoming and UNLV.
There hasn’t been any complaints with Strong. Nice arm and his decision making has been on point. With a solid running game between Toa Taua and Devonte Lee, Nevada has a well built offense that is capable of putting up impressive numbers.
Nevada has scored 37 points in back-to-back weeks against Wyoming and UNLV. Scoring 37 points on UNLV is nothing to brag about, but in a rivalry game, it’s not as bad as it would seem. The Wolf Pack were aware that UNLV wasn’t going to take that game off. Despite that, though, Nevada were still able to pull away for a 37-19 win.
The Nevada defense held UNLV to 207 yards passing through the air, which was the difference in keeping the Rebels at bay and preserving the cover for Nevada. Jason Shelley has been terrible at quarterback for Utah State. He has passed for 92 yards and 88 yards in his first two games, with 2 interceptions and a touchdown.
Utah State are next to last in the FBS with only 209 yards accumulated per game. That’s their entire offense, not just through air. The passing game has recorded only 102 yards per game while the ground game has notched 107 yards a game. That is not going to be nearly enough versus the Wolf Pack. I’m on Nevada to pull away in the second half to win and cover in this one.