Nevada vs Air Force: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
Nevada travels to Colorado Springs to open up conference play against Air Force
Nevada Begins Conference Play Against Air Force On Friday
WEEK 4: Nevada Wolf Pack (2-2) vs. Air Force Falcons (2-1, 0-1 MW)
WHEN: Friday, September 23rd — 5:00 PM PT/6:00 PM MT
TV: Fox Sports 1
STREAMING: Fox Sports 1 is on Fubo TV and here is the link where you can start a free trial.
RADIO: Nevada is on ESPN 94.5 in Reno and Air Force is on KVOR 740 AM in Colorado Springs
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series 4-2. The last meeting was on November 19th 2021 when Air Force won 41-39 in three overtimes.
ODDS: Air Force (-24)
SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force by 22.2
The Nevada Wolf Pack return to action on Friday night as they face off against the Air Force Falcons.
Nevada is looking to move forward in a positive direction after a 27-0 loss to Iowa last week. The Wolf Pack’s performance against the Hawkeyes was dreadful as the Nevada offense and defense struggled. Combine that poor performance from Nevada and three lightning delays it was a long night for the Wolf Pack. But they have a quick turnaround as they play under the Friday night lights in Colorado Springs.
The Wolf Pack take on an Air Force team that is coming off a close loss to red hot Wyoming 17-14 last Friday. The Falcons looked like worldbeaters as they demolished Northern Iowa and a supposed college football team in Colorado. But Air Force suffered their first loss of the season and are looking to get back on track at home against Nevada.
Can the Wolf Pack find some semblance of an offense and defense and pull off the upset against Air Force?
Here are my three keys a prediction for Nevada-Air Force
Contain Air Force’s Ground Attack
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for like 30 plus years or don’t even follow Air Force football, the Falcons are a run first team. They employ the triple-option offense and this season that offense has raced the Falcons to at or near the top rush offenses in the nation.
Air Force is number one in total rushing yards at 1,188, number one in rushing yards per game at 396 rushing yards per game and third in the nation in rushing yards per attempt at 6.91. The Falcons already have three players who have rushed for over 150 yards so far this season in RB Brad Roberts, John Lee Eldreidgee III and QB Haaziq Daniels.
Brad Roberts is the top running back for the Falcons in terms of the stats (342 rushing yards, four touchdowns. 7.13 yards per attempt) and is the lead back for Air Force. Outside of Roberts, the Falcons have plenty of running backs who can execute the triple-option offense. In three games, Air Force has eight players record at least five carries. That is an incredible type of balance that Air Force’s offense provides.
This is the task that the Wolf Pack defense must complete in order to pull off the upset; contain the Falcons rushing offense. Nevada must do a better job at defending the run than they did last week against Iowa. The Hawkeyes rushed for 162 yards against the Wolf Pack and Iowa running back Kaleb Johnson ran for 103 of those yards against Nevada.
This is vital for Nevada to spring the upset, shore up their run defense and find a way to corral Air Force’s rushing attack. If the Wolf Pack can do that, they have a good chance to win on Friday night.
Get the ground game going
The Wolf Pack offense is built to run the ball and this week against Air Force, Nevada must run the ball well. In their last game against Wyoming, the Falcons gave up 180 yards rushing at an average of 5.1 yarder per attempt. Cowboys running back Titus Swen had an excellent performance rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Air Force.
The Nevada offense has been stuck in the mud the last two weeks. The reason for that is because the Nevada offensive line has had serious problems due to injuries. The Wolf Pack have started six different offensive guards this season and have struggled to gain any continuity.
The good way for an offensive line that is struggling to get going is to run block. The Wolf Pack do not have many strengths on offense but it does feature two good running backs in Toa Taua and Devonte Lee. This is the game for Nevada to get these two backs involved early and often.
With the passing game being close to non-existent and an offensive line in shambles. Nevada will need to establish the ground game in order to have a chance to win on Friday.
Move on from the bad performances from the last two games.
Nevada has been bad in their last two games against Incarnate Word and Iowa. Against Incarnate Word, the Wolf Pack offense made terrible mistakes and the defense had no answer to stop the UIW. In the contest against Iowa, the Wolf Pack were simply out muscled and out classed.
As a team, the Wolf Pack will need to attempt to shake off those two horrid performances and just wipe the slate clean. The reason why Nevada needs to do this is because the goal of bowl eligibility is still alive and the conference slate, while still difficult, is not impossible.
Seriously, look at the Mountain West after three weeks. Do you see a dominant team or teams out of the bunch? I see good teams such as Air Force, Wyoming and UNLV but there are no dominate teams out there.
For Nevada to stand a chance on Friday night, they must forget about the past two defeats and focus on the goals ahead of being bowl eligible. Because despite the wretched performances by Nevada, if they play at their best, they could be a factor in the Mountain West. Which is not too much of a stretch.
Prediction and Score
The last two games for Nevada are not what I or anyone would call good football. The Wolf Pack got boat raced by Incarnate Word and got mauled by Iowa. Now they start conference play against an Air Force team that is one of the favorites to win the conference.
For Nevada to have a chance to pull off the huge victory on the road, they’ll need to corral the Falcons run offense, limit the mistakes and turnovers and get their running game going. The Wolf Pack have played badly in their recent contests and I am of the belief that they will play better this week and keep the game close.
But Air Force just has too many options on offense for Nevada to try to contain. The Falcons are coming off a shocking loss to Wyoming last week and will look to get back on track.
Combine that with the struggles Nevada’s offense line is dealing with ( and have dealt with for almost a decade) The Falcons will be too much for Nevada to handle on Friday night.
Score Prediction: Air Force 31 Nevada 21