Wolf Pack football drops to 1-2 in conference play and 1-6 overall after a nail biting loss to the Colorado State Rams on Oct. 14t in Fort Collins, Colorado.
While the Pack failed to come away with a victory this past weekend, this was one of the best offensive passing displays Nevada put on all season. Starting Quarterback Ty Gangi fits like a glove within the offensive scheme now. Gangi has thrown for four touchdowns in back-to-back games and didn’t commit a single turnover in the game against the Rams. En route to the close loss Gangi threw for a whopping 428 yards, completing a little over half of his passing attempts. Freshman McLane Mannix was Gangi’s favorite target during their game against the Rams, as McLane gathered 150 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. Usually the leading receivers are between Wyatt Demps and Mannix, but Brendan O’Leary-Orange was the runner-up in receiving yards with 111 and one touchdown on four receptions. Nevada’s rushing game was nonexistent against Colorado compiling a meager 56 yards on 31 attempts. With Jaxson Kincaide out, Kelton Moore was supposed to be the workhorse back, but didn’t make great use of his touches. On his 14 touches Moore was only able to gain 29 yards, making the offense one-dimensional for a great deal of the game.
Even though Nevada’s offense was prolific, the defense gave up far too many yards on the ground and through the air. Colorado QB Nick Stevens threw for 384 yards, four touchdowns completing just over 70 percent of his pass attempts. Along with getting diced up through the air, Nevada couldn’t stop a nose bleed in the ground game as Rams running back Dalyn Dawkins averaged 11.2 yards a carry, 191 yards and a touchdown. On top of Dawkins’ performance, the rest of the team including Dawkins, combined for 224 yards on the ground. Nevada’s Asauni Rufus was the only Pack player that recorded a takeaway, recovering a fumble that was forced by Ahki Muhammad. Nevada is still playing their 3-3-5 defense, usually sending a linebacker on a blitz or dropping everyone into coverage. While this defense is supposed to help stunt opposing teams’ vertical threats, the ground game can be tough to stop on occasion. Defensive linemen are supposed to hold up their man and open holes for the linebackers to fill if the running back gets the ball. The linebackers in Nevada’s defense are not filling the gaps, and the defensive backs are forced to come up and help play run support. While this is in every defensive back’s job description, a team’s leading five tacklers shouldn’t consist of four defensive backs and one linebacker. If any running back, especially one as quick as Dawkins gets to the second level the defensive backs are put in a tough position to make a host of open field tackles.
The chance of Nevada making a bowl game at this point is practically impossible. For Nevada to have a shot at a bowl game the team will need to win every game on the rest of its schedule. The possibility of doing such is overtly slim with matchup against Boise State in two weeks and San Diego State in four weeks. Nevada plays the Air Force Falcons at home, on Oct. 20 with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff time.