After a disappointing loss the Washington State Cougars will head to Reno, Nevada for their game against the Nevada Wolf Pack. Nevada, who is coming off of a win over Southern Utah, is looking to have a good start to the second season of new head coach Brian Polian while the Cougars are trying to start their way to making it to their second bowl game in a row.
Last week Nevada took on Southern Utah, who the Cougars beat last season 48-10, and won 28-19. Nevada finished last season 4-8 and averaged 26.9 points a game. In the last 8 games last season for them they finished just 1-7 and struggled to win games all throughout the season. The 4 teams they beat? UC Davis, Hawaii, Air Force, and San Jose State who have a combined win total of 14.
All throughout this week we will be taking a look at who the Wolf Pack really is and I will start it off here by getting to know the offense and the defense for this team.
Last season the Wolf Pack ran for 2,183 yards and threw for 2,968 yards and finished the season 4-8 behind the arm and the legs of Cody Fajardo. Fajardo is the returning senior quarterback for them and he looks to help the team out even more this upcoming year.
After throwing for 2,633 yards on 242 of 357 passing and 13 touchdowns while only throwing 3 interceptions Fajardo also was second on the team in rushing yards with 621 yards on 141 attempts. He also had 8 more touchdowns on the ground.
Fajardo is a very mobile quarterback and has the ability to take off running if nobody is open down field. Nevada’s rushing attack is led by Kendall Brock and Don Jackson however Brock didn’t see the ball in Nevada’s first game. Brock led the team last year with 812 yards on 185 attempts and scored 10 touchdowns. Jackson was third on the team behind Fajardo and Brock with 332 yards on 85 carries and scored 4 times.
Nov 30, 2013; Reno, NV, USA; Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo (17) runs a pass play against the BYU Cougars in their NCAA football game at MacKay Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen/USA TODAY Sports. BYU won 28-23.
Jackson led the team last week with 110 yards on 22 carries and was followed by Fajardo who had 68 yards. The rest of the running back committee was Nate McLaurin who had 37 yards on 5 carries followed by James Butler who had 36 yards on 11 carries. Fajardo, Jackson, and Fajardo all had 1 touchdown on the ground last weekend.
Nevada lost both their 4th and 5th best running backs last season to graduation but is still deep in the position as they are returning the rest of their running backs who touched the ball last season.
Many of Fajardo’s options to throw to have left after last season due to transferring or graduation. The number 1, 3, and 5 best receivers are no longer on the team. Leaving just Richy Turner and Hasaan Henderson as the only returning receivers who had over 100 yards receiving last season.
Turner and Henderson both saw the ball last weekend when Turner had 61 yards on 9 catches and 41 yards on 3 catches. The leading receiver last weekend was Jerico Richardson who had 177 yards on 13 receptions. Last season Richardson finished the year with 22 yards on 3 receptions.
The receiving core is young and inexperienced for Nevada which matches up great with the Washington State secondary. The running game is a little more complex as the Cougars will have to deal with the pistol offense and Fajardo’s arm and legs.