#53 Nevada Football 2012 Preview

Nevada Wolf Pack

2012 Overall Rank: #53
#2 Mountain West
Nevada College Football 2012 Team Preview
Nevada Team Page


Nevada has been a solid running team for the last several seasons.  They have had good records that have gotten them into bowl games where they can play some stiffer competition compared to the teams they face in the WAC.  They have not always fared well in those games (see last year against Southern Mississippi), but they have certainly been competitive.  If not for a great season by Louisiana Tech, the Wolf Pack were in position to take the conference.  Now, with countrywide realignment, Nevada moves to the Mountain West to take on the likes of Boise State and Hawaii.  Is it possible for them to repeat such success in the new conference?

2011 Record: (7-6)
2011 Bowl: Hawaii Bowl vs. Southern Miss (L 17-24)
Coach: Chris Ault (226-103-1 at Nevada, 226-103-1 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Rolovich
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Bradeson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Cody Fajardo, QB, 694 yards
Passing: Cody Fajardo, QB, 1,707 yards
Receiving: Kolby Arendse, TE, 340 yards
Tackles: Duke Williams, DB, 83
Sacks: Two Tied at 2
Interceptions: Khalid Wooten, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: DL Jack Reynoso, DE Albert Rosette

Key Losses: WR Rishard Matthews, WR Shane Anderson, RB Lampford Mark, LB James-Michael Johnson, LB Brandon Marshall

The Wolfpack’s rushing game was amongst the best in the country (248 yards per game).  Coach Chris Ault has valued the run in his tenure at the school, and it is a huge part of their offense.  Mix that with the passing performances by Cody Farjado and the graduated Tyler Lantrip, and this team had the sixth best offense in the land, averaging over 500 yards per game.  The offense will now be all in Farjado’s hands.  He is athletic and can run and throw, which is vital to the offense.  Defenses did not sack the signal-callers as easily because they could run.  The offensive line generally kept them protected and bought them time and they only allowed a little over a sack per game.

The Wolf Pack was not bad on defense, but they were not great either.  When it comes to rushing the passer, Nevada needs to find a way to apply more pressure.  They were in the bottom half of Division I in sacks and they were one of the worst teams in the country at tackles for loss per game.  Now they lose two of their leading tacklers in linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Brandon Marshall.  The defensive line and new starting backers will have to step in and find a way to improve that statistic.  Winning at the point of attack will help Nevada win this season, if they can do it.  They would also like to improve their scoring numbers.  While twenty-five points per game is not bad, in the Mountain West they are going to have to put up bigger numbers.

The Bottom Line:
It is safe to say that Nevada is a solid program.  Chris Ault has built something in Reno.  They are used to having winning seasons and challenging bigger bowl opponents.  This switch to the Mountain West is going to be very interesting for the Wolf Pack.  The WAC was a conference where they could consistently find themselves in the top-3 in the standings year in and year out.  There are now nine teams that are no gimme-games with the likes of Boise, Hawaii and even Wyoming.  Nevada will rise to the challenge, but in the first year, the transition will be tough.  Look for a similar 7-6 record in 2012.

Projected Bowl:  Poinsettia Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 247.54 (8th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 259.15 (32, 5)
Total Offense: 506.69 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 31.69 (35, 2)
Rushing Defense: 147.38 (56, 4)
Pass Defense: 221.85 (57, 2)
Total Defense: 369.23 (52, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.15 (58, 2)
Turnover Margin: .00 (T59, 3)
Sacks: 1.85 (68, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.31 (26, 1)