The Fresno State Bulldogs are riding a three-game winning streak as they head to Reno to take on the Nevada Wolfpack. The Bulldogs are 7-3 overall and are tied for first in the Mountain West at 5-1. Nevada is 3-2 in conference play and 6-3 overall. With only two games remaining, the Bulldogs have to be pleased with their record and where they stand in the Mountain West. A victory against Nevada this week would keep the Bulldogs in a great spot at the top of the MWC.
The Bulldogs last three games have been against some of the weaker teams in their conference. Since losing to Boise State on October 13, Fresno State has beaten Wyoming, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Those teams have a combined record of 7-20 this year and did not put up much of a fight against the Bulldogs. Nevada will be a much more difficult opponent, especially in Reno.
Junior quarterback Derek Carr leads the powerful Fresno State offense. Carr is currently second in the nation in both yards (3070) and touchdown passes (30). He has been effective at spreading the ball around and has completed at least 20 passes to 6 different receivers. Freshman Davante Adams is Carr’s favorite target with 71 catches for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns. The ‘Dogs can also run the football with senior Robbie Rouse, the all-time leading rusher in Bulldog history. Rouse has 1101 yards on the season, his third straight season going over the 1000 yard mark.
Fresno State’s offense should be able to move the ball and put up points against the Nevada defense. The Wolfpack ranks 95th in the country in scoring defense allowing an average of 31.9 points per game. Nevada has not held an opponent under 20 points in a game the entire season.
The Bulldogs defense has played well this season. As a unit, the ‘Dogs lead the nation in interceptions with 17 and are 11th in sacks with 28. Safety Phillip Thomas is having a stellar senior season leading the nation with 7 interceptions. Sophomore corner Derron Smith is tied for second in the country with 5 interceptions.
Fresno State’s defense will have its hands full with Nevada on Saturday. Nevada averages 260.6 yards per game on the ground, 8th best in the country. Using their pistol offense, the Wolfpack are able to pick up yards in bunches on the ground. Running back Stepfon Jefferson is the main weapon with 1341 yards and 16 touchdowns. Quarterback Cody Fajardo is also an effective runner with 655 yards on 5.9 yards per carry. The ‘Dogs have struggled against running quarterbacks and this Nevada offense in the past, and they will need to step up their game on Saturday.
Prediction: Fresno State 52 – Nevada 38
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*Daniel is a Fresno State alumni and loyal Bulldog supporter. He is currently a Feature Contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.