Life is like the Nevada Wolf Pack football team.
You never know what you're gonna get.
Two weeks ago, they lost to their in-state rival UNLV in front of their home crowd, 23-17. A week ago, their defense stopped New Mexico's dangerous running game and beat the Lobos 35-17. The team played exceptionally well on both sides of the football, and held all of the Lobos runners to 135 yards rushing. It was a morale booster, and gave the team hope going into their game against Wyoming.
Then, Saturday happened.
Nobody expected it to occur, but it did. Wyoming, who had been winless all year long, overcame a last minute surge by the Nevada offense and pulled off the upset, 28-21. Despite good performances by QB Tyler Stewart, wide receivers Jerico Richardson and Hasaan Henderson, the Pack could not stop Wyoming running back Brian Hill, who ran through the defense with ease, netting 188 yards and QB Cameron Coffman had a nice day as well, passing for 3 TD's and no interceptions.
It was a tough loss to say the least.
When a team like Wyoming, who gives up 34 points a contest, can stop two potential 1,000 rushers like James Butler and Don Jackson, there's a problem that needs to be addressed.
Nevada coach Brian Polian told ESPN that Wyoming is a better team than their 1-6 record suggests.
"I feel like they won the physical battle today," he said. "We didn't get off blocks. We didn't tackle. There were multiple times where we hit the running back on the line of scrimmage and the pile moves forward for 4 or 5 yards. That's not acceptable."
This 2015 Nevada team is mind boggling. They are a team with really good football players. They have really good coaches like defensive coordinator Scott Boone, Nick Rolovich, Bill Teerlinck and Ron Hudson. Brian Polian has had a lot of success as an assistant and is a special teams specialist. It's not like these guys don't know what they are doing.
The problem with this team is, they cannot stay consistent.
In the case of the UNLV and Wyoming games, Nevada falls behind, surges back, and then can't win the game. These are games that they should have won. UNLV is 2-5 on the year, and Wyoming is 1-6. No disrespect to any of those teams, but Nevada has more talent on both sides of the football.
With the talent on this team, they should be 5-2. They boast the most talented defense Nevada has fielded in a long time. However, on Saturday, they failed to record a sack for the second straight game, and couldn't stop Coffman nor Hill. The offense looked stiff in certain moments. Stewart had a pretty solid game, but also missed some key throws to both Richardson and Henderson.
Tyler Stewart expressed his displeasure to the Reno Gazette-Journal's Chris Murray.
"I can’t miss those throws, that’s the bottom line," said Stewart. "They’re both wide open and both would have been touchdowns. I can’t do that to us."
The good news is, the season isn't over. Realistically, this team could run the table and finish 8-4. They aren't out of the division title race by any stretch. This team has enough talent offensively and defensively to turn it around and go to a nice bowl game. You gotta know that Polian and his troops will be working extra hard this week for Saturday's showdown against Hawaii.
The Wolf Pack have a major advantage going into Saturday's game, with a key member of Hawaii's offense possibly out.
#NCAAF #Hawaii - Max Wittek, Knee - is questionable Saturday (10/24) at Nevada— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) October 18, 2015
Hawaii has a decent offense, but their defense is not too great. They rank 94th in the nation as they give up an average of 32 points a game. Don Jackson and James Butler should have a bounce back game for the Wolf Pack, and Tyler Stewart will continue his improvement as the Wolf Pack should win 21-17.
Will the Wolf Pack make a late season surge? With the talent on his team, anything's possible. This team should finish 6-6, and finish 2nd in the West Division of the Mountain West.
Can anyone say Idaho Potato Bowl?