November 9, 2010

Fresno State vs Nevada preview

Saturday in Bulldog stadium the Fresno State Bulldogs will host the 21st team in the nation Wolf pack from Nevada in a game that will go a long way in determining who will have a shot at winning a WAC championship this season. The winner will control their own destiny with both teams still having to play Boise State. Fresno State will need to try and slow down a Nevada offense that put up 844 yards last week. This game will be an offensive shoot-out with the defenses playing a big role in who will win the game.

Offense:

Fresno State: The Bulldogs are coming off a game where they got balanced offense for the first time all season. Ryan Colburn went 20/33 for 229 yards and threw three touchdowns passes all to Jamel Hamler. Mean while the Bulldogs finally seem to have found a running game as Robbie Rouse has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games including last Saturdays game where he carried the ball 43 times for 286 yards and one touchdown. If the 'Dogs can continue to get a balance attack and keep their running game going, they should have no problem scoring points.

Nevada: The Wolf pack have one of the top offenses in the nation. They are the second ranked rushing team averaging 317 yards a game and the fourth ranked team in the nation in scoring with 44 points a game. For those who think that all Nevada can do is run, last week against Idaho quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 320 yards and five touchdowns. Nevada scored 63 points against Idaho and had 830 yards of total offense in the game. Nevada will get their points and would like this to be a shoot-out instead of a low scoring game.

Defense:

Fresno State- The Bulldogs defense will face their toughest challenge of the season against Kaepernick. Senior defensive end Chris Carter will have to play huge and get pressure on Kaepernick to make him feel pressured. The secondary may have to be on their feet as well as Nevada proved they could throw last week. With the injury to Jermaine Thomas Fresno State will be one man short in the secondary rotation. They will not only have to watch out for Kaepernick but also receiver Rishard Matthews who had seven receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns in his last game. This will be the side of the ball where Fresno State can win or lose the game.

Nevada: The Wolf pack do give up points so this side of the ball for them will have to try and control a Fresno State offense who seem to be hitting their stride late in the season. Nevada is 46th in the nation in points against allowing 22 points per game and Fresno State is 20th in the nation in scoring averaging 34 points per game. Nevada can play good defense though as well as they gave up only 346 yards to a Hawaii offense that was very explosive. Look for Nevada to be aggressive rushing Ryan Colburn and try to limit the Bulldogs rushing attack. If they can take away one part of the Bulldogs offense they should have no problem holding the Bulldogs down and giving their offense a chance to dominate.

Special Teams:

Fresno State- The Bulldogs did it again last week as they blocked another punt. Fresno State ranks number one in the nation in blocked kicks since 2002. Kevin Goessling however was a little shaky last week as he missed his first extra point after making over 100 in a row . He also missed one field goal in last week's game. Look for the Bulldogs special teams to be going after the punter and trying to block field goals.

Nevada- The special teams for Nevada should be a weakness for the team. Kicker Anthony Martinez is a redshirt freshman who has only made six of his nine field goals he's attempted this year. With an aggressive Bulldogs team look for Martinez to have trouble in Saturdays game. Also they average only 9.7 yards on punt returns and Mike Ball averages 24 yards per return which is average. This could be a liability for Nevada especially if the game comes down to a field position battle or takes a last second field goal to win the game.

Other: Nevada has won the last two meeting between the two teams including last year's 52-14 demolishing of the Bulldogs in Reno. Look for this game to be a shootout as both teams may have trouble stopping the others offenses. Nevada is looking to go to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the WAC with a win and Fresno State is looking to improve to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the WAC with a match-up with number four Boise State to come next week


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