Despite Nevada being officially eliminated from a bowl game, it still has something to play for this weekend. The Wolf Pack will take on the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins. The storyline is Jay Norvell, who’s in his second season with the Rams after leaving the Wolf Pack.
Nevada lost to Norvell last year, and I’m sure Wolf Pack fans want nothing more than to get a win against him this time around.
Nevada (2-8) (2-4) @ Colorado State (4-6) (2-4)
Location: Canvas Stadium
Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 18 at noon
Broadcast: Mountain West Network
Betting Line: Colorado State by 11.5 points. The over/under is 48.
History: This will be the 19th time these programs have matched up. The Rams own the series 13-5, and 8-1 against Nevada in Fort Collins.
Keys to the Game
- Hand Jay Norvell a loss
Norvell has always had a way with words (such as talking about Deion Sanders & Colorado.) In last year's matchup between these two teams, Norvell and Ken Wilson got into a verbal altercation during pre-game.
There’s plenty of reason to want Norvell and Colorado State to lose. Nevada doesn’t have anything else to play for, so its motivation is going to come from wanting to hand Norvell the loss.
In five seasons with the Wolf Pack, Norvell was 33-26, 23-17. The Rams won the first reunion matchup in Reno last year, so handing them a loss on their home turf would be icing on the cake.
2. End Colorado State’s bowl game hopes
Colorado State needs to win their last two games against Nevada and Hawaii to reach six victories and an invite to a bowl game. The Rams haven’t gone bowling since the 2017 New Mexico Bowl.
If beating Norvell wasn’t enough motivation, Nevada has a chance to spoil. This is also Nevada’s best chance to surpass last year’s win total since it faces Wyoming next week.
It’ll also put big bonus points on Wilson’s name, and slightly increase his chances of staying with Nevada next year.
3. Control Colorado State’s passing game
Nevada’s defense, especially its secondary, has played pretty good football at times this season. It’s once again going to be put up to the test against Colorado State and its powerful passing game.
The Rams lead the Mountain West with 319.7 passing yards a game and average 25.9 points a game. Even their rushing game is improving after the Rams rushed for 183 yards on 44 carries in last week’s win.
Part of the passing game success is credited to former Nevada wide receiver Tory Horton. So far, Horton has collected 872 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 81 receptions.
Nevada fans (including me) want nothing more than to see defeat in Norvell’s eyes. Will it happen? Probably not.
I’m going with a 24-17 win for the Rams. While the Wolf Pack have plenty of motivation, the Rams are just simply playing for more. With a bowl game on the line, Colorado State will be throwing everything it has at Nevada.
I do hope Wilson comes out with some aggression. If Nevada can score early (something it’s struggled with all season) we could have ourselves an upset. I know Wilson has had this marked on his calendar, and for all Wolf Pack fans' sake, they need a win.