Just because they play in the WAC doesn’t mean they are to be overlooked. Nevada returns 15 starters from a squad that went 7-6 a year ago and poses to be a legitimate offensive threat to any team they play (I’ll get to that in a second). They were also picked to finish second in their conference in preseason polls conducted by the league’s coaches and media.
When defining the offense-oriented Wolfpack, one name comes to mind; junior quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’s easily among the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. All he did last season was become the only quarterback in college football history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and 2,500 yards passing in a single season. Not bad for a pitcher that was actually recruited by Notre Dame to play
The Pack also return two 1,000 yards rushers, senior Luke Lippincott and junior Via Taua (this is actually the first time a school returns three 1,000 yard rushers; Kaepernick, Lippincott and Taua). There’s no doubt that the Nevada offense will be a serious test for Notre Dame’s much improved defense.
Nevada’s defense, however, proves to be more vulnerable than linguine in Mario Batali’s kitchen. Not so much their defensive line, but their secondary. They gave up at least 35 points in six different games and were shredded for over 310 passing yards per game last season.
If they want any chance of stopping the Irish passing attack, their linemen must have the game of their lives. If Clausen gets any more than four seconds to throw the ball, the Domer’s are capable of putting up a 40 spot, with ease (weekend predictions coming Thursday).
Nevada names you’ll hear on Saturday:
DEs Kevin Basped and Dontay Mock: Combined last year for 21.5 sacks and led a defense that was stingy against the run (giving up only 88 yards per game).
RB Vai Taua: Led the Pack in rushing last season with a whopping 1,521 yards and 15 TDs.
WR Chris Wellington: As a sophomore, he had 42 catches for 632 yards and 6 TDs. Those numbers will certainly increase this season; he’s Kaepernick’s favorite target.