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Nevada Football: Keys to Victory (and bowl eligibility) against San Jose State

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The Wolf Pack are one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the 10th time in 11 years, but the San Jose Spartans stand in their way

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolf Pack play arguably their biggest game of the season on Saturday against the San Jose State Spartans. A win would grant them bowl-eligibility, but a loss could keep them out of a bowl with Utah State and San Diego State coming up to finish the season. Here's what Nevada needs to do to get the all-important 6th win.

1. Stop Tyler Ervin

The Spartans feature one of the best running backs in the conference in Tyler Ervin. He has the second-most rushing yards in the conference with 1,239, and currently has 12 rushing touchdowns. The defensive line, led by Rykeem Yates, will need to win the battle up front in order to keep Ervin in check on the ground. However, the Spartans aren't afraid to throw to him, so the linebackers will need to make sure to stay on him during passing plays.

2. Keep feeding Hasaan Henderson

At the beginning of the year, I picked Hasaan Henderson as the breakout star for the season. While Henderson has put together some nice games, he hasn't been able to do it consistently, for whatever reason. Last game, he caught 5 passes for 136 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. Nevada's offense is at its best when they are running the ball, but passing situations, Henderson needs to step up and be the guy for Tyler Stewart. If Henderson can continue his momentum from last game, the Pack should be in good shape offensively.

3. Bump up Dameon Baber's snaps

One of the biggest surprises of the season so far has been the play of true freshman CB Dameon Baber. He didn't even play in the first three games of the season, but opened some eyes in his first career game against Buffalo with two interceptions. Last week, he really shot onto the scene, when he intercepted three passes in the fourth quarter, tying a conference record for most interceptions in a game. Ball-hawking is a trait that is tough to teach, and it seems like Baber has it. The more he plays, the better chance Nevada has at turning the ball over.

4. Pull out all the stops

This game is pretty much the season for Nevada. After SJSU, their two remaining games come against Utah State and San Diego State, both very good teams. Their best chance for win #6 will come against the Spartans, and the coaching staff needs to do all that is necessary to win the game.

Prediction: Nevada 21, SJSU 17

The Wolf Pack played very well against Fresno State, and I expect them to continue their momentum and come out firing on Senior Day. It'll be a close one, but Nevada gets the edge at home.