WHEN: Thursday, November 5 -- 7:30 PM, PST
WHERE: Bulldog Stadium; Fresno, CA (41,041)
RADIO: Fresno's two ESPN affiliates, 940 and 1600 AM, will broadcast the game in English and Spanish, respectively.
SERIES RECORD: The Bulldogs lead the series vs the Wolf Pack, 27-18-1, and have won the last three meetings between the two.
WEB SITES: http://www.gobulldogs.com/, Fresno State's official athletics site | http://www.nevadawolfpack.com/, Nevada's official athletics site
It's been another rocky week for the Bulldogs and it's been over a week since their most recent beat down, a 42-14 loss to Air Force in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, what's already been an bad season on and off the field continued to get worse, as a freshman walk-on wide receiver decided to take out his personal frustrations in a violent way on the social media platform Yik-Yak by threatening the livelihood of his fellow students.
Thankfully, nobody was harmed, the player was arrested on felony criminal threat charges, immediately dismissed from the team. In light of the seriousness of this incident it again brings to mind a perplexed feeling of pondering what is going on in the Fresno State locker room.
There have been three arrests this season and several players have been dismissed, though none to the level of this latest incident. Regardless, there's still a football game to be played, so without further ado, we'll attempt to articulate a few keys that could help the Bulldogs win their second conference game of the year.
1. Pass The Ball
I hate to be redundant, but really I don't think Fresno State is going to win another game this year unless they can accomplish the two keys I wrote about in the preview to the Air Force game. Every opponent from here on out, including Nevada, is going to dare Fresno State to throw the ball against them.
Kilton Anderson has been given the reigns at quarterback and has been given time to develop. After going 14/39 with no touchdowns and one interception to go along with a 4.5 yard average per pass, Anderson has plenty of room to improve. Lets not all put this on Anderson's shoulders, for as badly as he's missed receivers at times, there have also been many times the receivers have just dropped the ball, and that's not a metaphor.
This will be Anderson's fourth game starting for the Bulldogs. The offense will need to and should show some improvement from the continuity that hasn't existed to this level all season. Lucky for Anderson and the Bulldogs, they'll be facing the No. 11 pass defense (of 12 teams) in the Mountain West conference.
2. Stop The Run
Fresno State is 12th in the MW vs. conference opponents against the run. In Fresno State's five conference games this season they've given up an average of 288.60 yards per game at an average of 5.01 yards per carry. They've also given up a conference worst 18 touchdowns on the ground. Just to give that last stat some context, San Diego State and Nevada have only given up four touchdowns on the ground, which is tied for the lead in conference. That certainly doesn't bode well for the Bulldog rushing attack this Thursday night, but back to the rush defense...
Hawaii, the second worst team in rushing defense has been rushed against 308 times in conference this season. That's 20 less carries than what's been rushed against the Bulldogs, and yet Fresno State has still given up more yards on the ground than Hawaii (1434 - Hawaii; 1443 - Fresno State).
This next part is usually where I would like to put some sort of silver lining that could give the Red Wave some hope to offer some reprieve to the season long woes on the ground, so... The good news is the Bulldogs don't have to face the No. 1 rushing offense in the MW again, that was Air Force. The bad news is, Nevada is the No. 4. rushing offense in the MW, so theoretically gets easier, but not by much.
Hopefully with Nathan Madsen returning at NG after missing the Air Force game due to injury, the Bulldogs will be able to plug a few more holes. In order to win, they will certainly need to.