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Wolf Pack Prepares for Ranked Foe Saturday


Image: Nevadawolfpack.com.

Nevada faces its first test of the season Saturday as they host #22 ranked Arizona at Mackay Stadium for its annual “Whiteout Game.”

The Wolf Pack not only come in with high spirits, but they also come in as an 11.5-point underdog. If history tells us anything, that margin is certainly fair seeing as Nevada is 4-19 all-time against ranked opponents.

“We have our hands full but we’re excited about the opportunity,” said Coach Brian Polian. “I don’t think our guys are intimated. We obviously have a very strong respect for this opponent.”

The opponent Coach Polian is referring to is an Arizona team with an explosive offense. It’s the same offense that averaged 34 points per game a season ago. Last week their offense seemed to pick up where they left with a 42-point outing against little known opponent Texas San Antonio.

Arizona’s offense is led by QB Anu Solomon who passed for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns last year as a freshman. Solomon’s backfield mate is just as dangerous — running back Nick Wilson who is coming off a 1,375 yards, 16 TD campaign a season ago.
Arizona is also led by a bevy of tall wide receivers. And they utilize each and every one them, as they usually line up in four receiver sets. They’re as quick tempo as quick tempo can get.

Nevada Senior Linebacker Brian Lane Jr. is aware of this fact and he looks to do everything in his power to stop this offense.

“They want to spread us out and get to the perimeter and get one-on-one situations,” Lane said. “We get 11 hats to the ball and we’ll shut it down really good. They can’t run on our front four, so we’ll shut that down as well. We just have to stay poised and just rise to the occasion.”

Rising to the occasion is what Arizona’s defense will try to do as they lost their heart and soul of their defense a week ago in LB Scooby Wright (knee); he was the national defensive player of the year in 2014. With him out, Arizona’s top three tacklers from last year are gone. The Wildcats allowed 28.2 ppg in 2014, so this group isn’t especially good.

So this is another opportunity for Nevada Quarterback Tyler Stewart to perform well against a not so great defense.

Despite Nevada’s not so favorable spread it’s definitely a game they can win. The key for a big Nevada upset is Nevada’s defense vs. Arizona’s skill players. If Nevada can fly to the ball like Brian Lane said they certainly can set themselves up for a huge victory.

As for the offense, they can’t afford to be conservative. The team needs to do what they do best and run the ball and exploit the one on one matchups.

Overall this has the makings of an exciting high scoring game. It’s certainly not one to miss. Come out in full support wearing your white Wolfpack gear.

Tarrian Rodgers
Tarrian Rodgershttp://thisisreno.com
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.