WSU vs Nevada – Keys To A Victory Over The Wolf Pack


Last week the Cougars struggled for most of the game on defense but was really solid on offense. The Cougars head down to Reno, Nevada on Friday to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Pistol offense that they have going fown there.

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These are the keys to a victory this week and it is going to be important that they focus on these things as they are all mostly things that really failed last week for the team.

It is time to see if the Cougars are going to be like they were last week all season or if it was actually just a fluke and things are going to turn around.

Stop The Run

Nevada has always been a team that has the ability to run the ball at ease and has not only a good running back group in Kendall Brock and Don Jackson but also as a dual threat quarterback in Cody Fajardo.

Washington State struggled tremendously against the run last weekend and it showed when Rutgers running back Paul James ran for 173 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.

If the Cougars want to win this game they will really need to work on the run game and make sure they can stop whatever Nevada brings for them. When the game really mattered last week and the Cougars needed a stop on third down it seemed as if they could run the ball and get it no matter how far back they were.

Nevada has the ability to run the ball and ran for 244 yards last week against Southern Utah and have the ability to repeat that again. The Cougars are going to need to tackle better and have a tougher front 7 if they want to come out on top this week.

Stop The Pass

Last week, first play; Gary Nova drops back and unleashes a 78 yard touchdown pass. That can’t happen if the Cougars are looking to break even on the season.

The absence of Deone Bucannon and Damante Horton was a killer for the Cougars last week and Mike Leach and company decided to start a running back-turned-safety in Teondray Caldwell and it didn’t turn out as well as planned. The Cougars secondary was really young and hopefully the changes that Leach made this week will show and the Cougars will be able to stop the pass game.

Fajardo threw for 303 yards and a touchdown and an interception on 30-41 passing while also rushing for another 68 yards.

The Cougars are really going to have to step it up this week in the secondary and hopefully they will be able to do that early in the game and force Fajardo to throw errant passes and give the secondary some confidence early on.

Keep The Momentum

Last week Connor Halliday threw for 532 yards, 5 touchdowns, and just 1 interception on 40-56 passing. Halliday looks to be in mid-season form already and needs to keep the momentum going and keep this offense moving.

There might be a chance in Halliday missing out one of his favorite receivers in River Cracraft but should not struggle finding a target to replace him if Cracraft really is missing this week.

The offense seemed to score often and whenever they needed or wanted to including a 54 yard drive in just .24 seconds to finish the half. On the rest of their scoring drives they were able to score quickly and without very many issues.

The offense is rolling right now and Halliday and company really need to keep it up, especially if the defense is struggling like they did last week.

Start Strong

If the defense struggles like they did last week then the Cougars are really going to need to start strong. We all have seen the offense collapse in a close game and in order to not allow that to happen the Cougars are going to need to start strong.

Nevada is a good team and has the abilities to run or pass the ball if the other is not there for them and Washington State may struggle with dealing with both the ground and the passing game.

I would rather not take any chances and play from behind, especially early in the game. Getting somewhat of a running game going to go along with Halliday’s stellar passing it will really help the team start strong on offense. Setting the tone on defense that last week was just a fluke will also help the team out. Halliday seemed frustrated in his press conference last week and the defense is basically to blame for that.


In case you haven’t noticed yet, the defense really struggled last week. The defense is really the only key to a victory this week. If Halliday has the game he did last week and the defense performs like they did last week it is going to be a really long night and long week for the Cougars.

There were a lot of changes and the coaches knew what was going to need to be changed. Those changes were made and it is time to see if this season is going to be full of switching defensive players or if we are going to have a solid defense to go along with an already solid offense.

If Washington State wants to win, the defense is really going to have to change their ways.