Here is a Q&A from Pistol Whipping The WAC about this weekends game. To see the questions that I answered check out their Q&A post
1. For those who do not know how big is this rivalry between Nevada and UNLV?
It's as big as any in college football, just not with the 80,000 plus stadiums to fill. You've got to understand, it's north and south. It's red and blue. You've got a school with over 100 years of tradition playing against an upstart program (well now 50 years old I guess isn't that upstart) that has had higher levels of success in a shorter amount of time. You've got kids who are from Vegas going to school in Reno and kids who are from Reno going to school in Vegas. You've got coaches who help to fuel the rivalry at times through their actions and statements in the media. There have been fights. There have been bowl implications at stake. And you've got the only two major colleges in the state playing on what is generally an even playing field, talent wise, for the bragging rights of the state.
2. The Pistol offense has not done too well this year so far, how does the Wolf Pack get back on track offensively against UNLV?
I think that's a matter of opinion. The Pistol looked great against Grambling and actually out performed Texas Tech (one of the most high powered offenses in the nation) in terms of all stats sans scoring. Against Missouri, the first half the offense totaled 17 points and 227 yards against one of the top teams in the country. Unfortunately the second half didn't turn out as well as the team started trying to play catch-up which took them out of their game plan.
Against UNLV the offense needs to do what it has been doing, but they need to find a way to get the football into the endzone. Eliminate costly turnovers and penalties inside the opponents 30 yard line will help as well.
3. Defense has been an issue what does Nevada need to do stop UNLV on offense?
The defense needs to get pressure on the quarterback. Clayton's had a great season so far, but he is still a young QB and and the defense needs to get him to force throws and make some bad decisions. Against the run, they need to limit Summers to short gains and contain Clayton from running free. Lastly, they need to avoid breakdowns in coverage. Obviously with players like Crabtree and Maclin the past few weeks, they've gone up against the best in America. They can't get lulled into taking it easy against a guy like Wolfe though or they will get burned.
4. With RB Luke Lippincott gone from last years team who has take over his offensive production?
It's probably a situation where it has to be split between Kaepernick and Taua. I think that Kaepernick is suddenly going to be asked to carry a lot more of the load for this team and it will be interesting to see how he responds. A lot of people think that losing Lippincott and Fragger was losing our #1 and #2 but actually according to the two deep, Taua was our #2 starting the season. There are some very good young guys who will have to pick up some of the work load as well. Look for Lampford Mark to see meaningful time this Saturday. He's supposed to be similar to Fragger but faster. And UNLV should remember Fragger since he went for 146 and 2 scores at Sam Boyd in 2006.
If it's possible to beat last years game, this one could do it. I can see a close game with a lot of ups and downs. I have to lean with the Wolf Pack winning this one because they've had the extra week to rest a prepare vs. UNLV having back to back overtime games. Both teams need this game bad, but for different reasons. The Rebels could use it to solidify a path to a bowl game. Nevada needs to right the ship heading into conference play. I'm saying a one score game with a lead change or two in the 4th quarter.
Good luck this Saturday and here's to a great game, injury free. Go Wolf Pack!