When the 2015 Wolf Pack schedule came out earlier this year, fans and students alike all looked at the schedule casually, with one game unanimously circled as the can’t miss game.
The Nevada football team doesn’t sell out too many home games, but this week should be an exception with Nevada’s cross-town rivals UNLV stepping into MacKay Stadium.
Like many rivalries, the UNLV and Nevada rivalry stems from a dark and heated history, with Nevada edging the series total with a record of 24-16.
This Saturday both teams look to rewrite another chapter in their storied rivalry. Both teams come in fresh off of wins.
However, both teams will agree last week’s wins don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what’s in front of them on Saturday — and that’s the Fremont Cannon.
“Winning this game and keeping the cannon is not our birthright just because it’s happened a lot in the recent history,” said Coach Brian Polian. “We have to earn it. We absolutely have our work cut out for us.”
Nevada certainly has its work cut out, as they play a very motivated UNLV team. UNLV is coming off an 80-point game; it was against a bad FCS team. But if you score 80 points, you can’t really look the other way at that.
Speaking of UNLV’s offense, they average 30 ppg; that’s good for 70th in the nation. The Rebels run a dual back offense much like Nevada. UNLV averages 238.5 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry.
So Nevada’s front seven better bring their best game. If UNLV’s run game is a no-show, they also have a very skilled wide receiver in Sophomore Davante Boyd. Boyd averages nearly 20 yards per catch and has three touchdowns on the year.
Defensively UNLV comes in with a very strong secondary led by strong safety Peni Vea. UNLV comes in being susceptible to the run allowing 203.3 yards per game, which is equivalent to 5.2 yards per carry. UNLV’s biggest weakness plays into Nevada’s biggest strength, and that is running the football.
For all intents and purposes, that may be the key to landing the Fremont Cannon. Whose front line can force their will? The winner of this game will have to win the battle inside. Both teams like to be physical in the run game.
This game will certainty not be for the weak of heart. Both teams come in wanting to win badly. Not only is it the first Mountain West game for both teams, but you’re also facing your cross-town rivals.
Rivalry games always mean more when there is something at stake. Wolf Pack Athletics said Monday afternoon it has distributed all but 4,000 tickets for Saturday’s home game against UNLV.
Coach Polian is expecting a full house. This is certainly a game fans don’t want to miss, and it should be a dandy.
Tarrian Rodgers is a writer and journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno. Tarrian has a year left to graduation and is looking forward to grad school where he will be studying Sports Management. When he isn’t studying trying to be the next Bob Costas, you can catch Tarrian at your local sporting event with his tablet in hand looking for the latest scoop.