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Nevada Football: Three keys for the Wolf Pack to win back the Fremont Cannon

Here are three keys that the Wolf Pack need to follow in order to defeat UNLV and retake the Fremont Cannon.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Nevada Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Battle for the Fremont Cannon as the Nevada Wolf Pack travel to Las Vegas to face the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday at 1pm on ESPN3. Both teams come into this contest with identical 4-7 records and are looking to close out the season on a high note with a win. For the Wolf Pack, here are the three keys for a Nevada victory on Saturday.

-Nevada’s offense must exploit a vulnerable UNLV defense.

* The Rebels defense have given up an average of 36 points per game which is third to last in the conference. The Rebels defense has allowed 22 passing touchdowns and 26 rushing touchdowns this season so it goes without saying that UNLV’s defense is very charitable. This is a golden opportunity for Ty Gangi (1108 passing yards, seven touchdowns, six interceptions), James Butler (1140 yards, nine touchdowns) and Wyatt Demps (629 yards, nine touchdowns) to have big days on Saturday for the Wolf Pack to retake the cannon.

-Stop UNLV’s rushing attack.

* The Rebels as a team are averaging 247 yards rushing per game this season which ranks them 15th in the nation in that category and are led by a two-headed rushing attack of Charles Williams (715 yards, three touchdowns) and Lexington Thomas (632 rushing yards, eight touchdowns). Thomas has been dealing with an ankle sprain injury that he suffered on October 29th against San Jose State and is not a 100 percent but will play. The Wolf Pack have struggled to stop the run this season as they have given up an average of 308 yards rushing on the ground this season. If the Wolf Pack are to win this game and paint the cannon blue, they must stop a talented UNLV rushing attack.

- Nevada must create turnovers and limit the Rebels to field goals in the red zone.

* Should Nevada struggle in stopping UNLV’s offense in this game (and given the issues the Wolf Pack have had in stopping opposing offenses in the last few weeks, this is a possibility), then Nevada must find a way to force UNLV to turn the ball over and this will not be easy to do as the Rebels have only turned the ball over 12 times this season. Should UNLV get to the red zone, the Wolf Pack must tighten up on defense and limit the Rebels to field goals to limit the damage. If Nevada can force turnovers and hold UNLV to field goals, then that gives the Wolf Pack a chance to win on Saturday.