If there was a ever a good time for the 21-point underdog Nevada football team to be playing Boise State, this probably wouldn’t be it.
Sure the Wolf Pack are at home in Mackey Stadium where the last five games between the two teams have been fairly close. But the Broncos are coming off a frustrating loss to BYU – and appear eager to take out their frustration on whoever they had next on the schedule.
In this case, it’s Nevada – which has lost seven games in a row and has statistically one of the worst offenses in college football. Combine that with Boise State’s defense looking to make up for an ugly game against the Cougars last week, and this one would seem to have all the makings of a blowout.
Now talking to the Boise State coaches this week you’d think they were playing Georgia.
“We’re going to have a huge challenge going on the road this week,” head coach Andy Avalos said.
Said defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson, “I know it’a going to be a task on Saturday night, especially going to their place. We have a lot of respect for what they do and a lot of respect for their coaching staff.”
Added defensive line coach Frank Maile: “They are a good football team. People will look at their record and judge it off that but these guys are a good football team. They’re physical, they are tough and I think they are coached well.”
Boise State’s coaches said what they had to this week, but the stats don’t come close to matching up to the praise the Wolf Pack were given this week. Nevada ranks No. 110 in scoring offense at 20.8 points per game and 126th in total offense at 284.1 yards per game. The Wolf Pack are No. 119 in passing offense at 175.9 yards per game, and 113th in rushing at 108.22 yards per game.
Simply put, Nevada’s offense is not very good – and the Boise State defense should have a big day.
The Nevada defense ranks No. 72 in total defense at 380.4 yards allowed per game and No. 90 in scoring defense at 28.1 ppg. Boise State’s offense should also should be in position to have success.
Still, that doesn’t mean Boise State plans to take them lightly.
“They might not have anything to lose in the eyes of the world but pride is always on the table and they take pride in what they do,” Maile said. “They will come out to fight and we have to be ready for that fight. It’s going to be a street fight.”
The one variable is the weather. A rain-snow mix turning to all snow is expected in Reno throughout the evening and during the game. Temperatures also will be in the 30s.
Boise State has three games left. Wins against Nevada and at Wyoming next week would clinch the Mountain Division for the Broncos, and a 3-0 finish with a win over Utah State at home on Black Friday would assure the Mountain West title game will be played at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Dec. 3.
The loss to BYU certainly didn’t sit well with Boise State’s players and coaches, but the silver lining was it had no impact on the league title. The Broncos are the only undefeated team in Mountain West play at 5-0, and sit in prime position down the stretch.
A win at Nevada is the first step.
“Within the division and the whole conference its tight right now so being at our best every single week maters,” Avalos said. “We’re having fun…being in the position where all our goals are right in front of us and knowing that achieving our goals all comes down to us, one week at a time.
“We have so much sitting right in front of us.”
Kickoff Saturday is set for 8:30 p.m. MT from Mackay Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The Lithia Ford of Boise Pregame Show will be live from Reno at 7 p.m. MT on the BNN YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.