Following on the heels of their match against Weber St., the Wolf Pack look to take on a struggling UTEP team next Saturday, Sept. 21.
In UTEP’s last game, their offense was only able to tack on three in a 38-3 beatdown against Texas Tech. If the Miners are to compete with Nevada, they will have to stick to their gameplan. Miners’ head coach Dana Dimel’s trademark this season has been establishing the run, as they’ve only thrown the ball a combined 39 times in their first two games.
The rushing attack is led by senior running back Treyvon Hughes, with aid from quarterback Brandon Jones. Hughes has been very productive this season, with 33 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Jones, a senior transfer from Bakersfield Community College, is largely considered a dual-threat with a tendency to trust his feet more than his arm. The senior has not been able to find his groove on the ground or through the air this season. Jones has completed sub 50 percent of his throws. On the ground, he’s picked up 60 yards but has also lost 28, resulting in only 32 net yards as a ball carrier.
When Jones does throw, his favorite target has been Tre’shon Wolf. The sophomore leads the team in catches and receiving yards—five catches for 104 receiving yards and a touchdown. UTEP’s offense will face a tough opponent in a stout Wolf Pack front seven. Standout Nevada defensive back, Daniel Brown, should help to keep the Miners in check next week through the air.
Defensively, UTEP doesn’t fare any better. This season brought on eight new starters on the defensive side of the ball for the Miners. In UTEP’s first game, against FCS opponent Houston Baptist, they allowed 30 points and 413 total yards of offense.
In game two, against Texas Tech, the Miners continued their defensive struggles, surrendering 264 yards through the air and 160 yards rushing. If UTEP has any intention of changing this trend, they will have to lean heavily on returning defensive linemen, Denzel Chukwukelu and Chris Richardson, and on linebacker Sione Tupou.
UTEP will need to force turnovers if they have any intention of keeping this game close. This may be too big of a challenge for a team that has only forced two turnovers in this season. Overall, Nevada has a great chance to build momentum heading into conference play
Devansh Mehra can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.