For the first time in the Brian Polian era, Nevada beat Fresno State.
With the 30-16 road win on Thursday night, the Wolf Pack improved to 5-4, 3-2 in the Mountain West and moved within a win of bowl eligibility. Nevada also kept its slim chances of playing in the conference title game alive.
The Wolf Pack trails San Diego State by two games for first place in the Mountain West—West but the two teams have contrasting schedules to close out the season before squaring off against each other in the finale.
After playing San Jose State on Saturday, Nevada goes to Utah State (5-4, 4-2). San Diego State hosts Wyoming (1-9, 1-5) on Saturday before going to UNLV (3-6, 2-3).
Saturday’s game against San Jose State not only wraps up Nevada’s home schedule, but may be a must-win for bowl eligibility with difficult road games closing out the season.
Kickoff on Saturday at Mackay Stadium is at 1 p.m.
About the Spartans
Coach: Ron Caragher (third season, 13-20)
2014 Finish: 2-6, 3-9
2015 Record: 3-2, 4-5
Quarterback: Kenny Potter’s numbers won’t wow anyone. He’s completed 68 percent of his passes for a modest 151.6 yards per game while throwing five touchdowns compared with four interceptions. What make him a threat are his legs. His 52 rushing attempts are the second-highest total on the team, as are his four rushing touchdowns.
Dangerous Weapons: Running back Tyler Ervin is a beast. His 1,239 rushing yards the second-highest total in the conference—behind Wyoming’s Brian Hill (1,327 yards). As a team though, San Jose State boasts just the Mountain West’s No. 7 rushing offense.
What to look for
-Nevada’s secondary will be tested. The Wolf Pack’s 11 interceptions are third best in the conference but only UNLV (257 yards per game) gives up more yards a game through the air than Nevada (232). Potter and San Jose State own the conference’s No. 3 passing attack.
-The passing game is hardly the strength of Nevada’s offense and that trend doesn’t figure to change on Saturday. The Spartans allow just 141 yards per game though the air—the conference’s lowest total.
-Led by Don Jackson and James Butler, Nevada’s 5.1 yards per carry are only bested only by Air Force (5.4). The pair will run at a defense that allows 5 yards a carry. Only Wyoming (5.2) is worse.
This isn’t the same doormat of a football team we have come to expect from San Jose State. At 4-5, the Spartans gave Auburn a game on the road before falling 35-21 and fell by the same score at Oregon State. San Jose State is just 1-3 away from Spartan Stadium this year. With challenging road games at Utah Sate and San Diego State to close the season, Nevada would be advised to win this one if it has plans to go bowling.
Nevada 26, San Jose State 23