Nevada pushed No. 20 Arizona for one half on Saturday before getting worn down in a 44-20 loss.
The defense, which is anticipated to lead the Pack this fall, was torched for 570 yards (7.4 yards per play).
Things get much more difficult this week as Nevada hits the road for the first time this season, at No. 17 Texas A&M, for the program’s first contest ever against an SEC opponent. Texas A&M’s Kyle Field is notoriously boisterous and Nevada’s young offensive line will be forced to communicate among the noise after two games within the friendly confines at Mackay Stadium.
The Wolf Pack will have to get up early for it too. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. Central time, 9 a.m. Pacific.
The game will be aired on the SEC Network.
About the Aggies
Conference Affiliation: SEC
Coach: Kevin Sumlin, fourth season (30-10)
2014 Finish: 8-5, sixth in SEC West
Quarterback: Sophomore Kyle Allen isn’t nearly as flamboyant as former Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel but his numbers are just as impressive. Allen earned the job midway through last season and went on to win AutoZone Liberty Bowl MVP honors with 294 passing yards and three touchdowns against West Virginia. Not much of a runner, Allen does almost all of his damage with his arm. He’s thrown for 324 yards and five touchdowns this season compared with just one interception.
Dangerous Weapons: Texas senior running back Tra Carson leads the Aggies in carries (39) and yards (165). Carson certainly has a favorable matchup this week, running behind his big SEC offensive line against a Nevada defense which allowed 301 yards on the ground to Arizona last week. Christian Kirk has been Allen’s favorite target early in the season. Kirk has caught 10 passes for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
What to look for
-Saying Nevada is an underdog against Texas A&M would be understatement. Moral victories become relevant in these types of games. After getting blown out against Arizona, it’ll be interesting to evaluate Nevada’s want-to on the road.
-Nevada senior running back Don Jackson had some success running against an athletically superior Pac-12 defense last week. Jackson ran for 91 yards on 24 carries. The SEC is a conference known for its size and speed, however. Jackson needs to have some form of success Saturday to prevent the A&M defense from pinning its ears back.
-The Wolf Pack’s young offensive line will be forced to communicate line shifts and audibles in a brutal environment. Any mistakes and/or miscommunications will be blaring against a defense holding opponents to 326 yards a game. The Aggies hold No. 17 Arizona State to 17 points in a season-opening 38-17 win.
-It’s never a good sign when the coach’s behavior becomes a talking point but that’s exactly the situation Nevada coach Brian Polian has found himself. Polian routinely wears out the referee on Nevada’s sideline, win or loss, and that was especially the case in Saturday’s loss to Arizona. Polian was addressed two personal foul penalties and felt the need to address his behavior post game. Nevada Athletic Director Doug Knuth fined Polian $10,000 for the misconduct. It will be interesting to watch Polian in a contest that figures to have little go Nevada’s way.
Nevada hung around with a top-20 team for a half last week but this isn’t Kansas, er, Mackay Stadium, anymore. It’s on the road. It’s the program’s first contest against an SEC opponent. And it’s against a team that’s off to a strong start to the season, including a convincing win over No. 17 Arizona State in its opener. So yeah, it’s hard to imagine many positives for Pack in this one—other than the payday from Texas A&M.
Texas A&M 52, Nevada 13