Utah State Aggies vs. Nevada Wolf Pack Pick 11/5/20
Utah State Aggies (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date and Time: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 7PM EDT
Where: Mackay Stadium, Reno, Nevada
TV: Fox Sports One
Point Spread: USU +15.5/NEV -15.5 (Intertops - Bet it FREE! Simply deposit $25 and they’ll reward you with a free $50 bet when you use bonus code ROOKIE200)
Over/Under Total: 55
The Utah State Aggies come to Reno to battle the Nevada Wolf Pack in a Mountain West battle. Things haven’t started like Utah State hoped, as they’ve suffered lopsided defeats to Boise State and San Diego State in their first two games. On Saturday at home, the Aztecs trounced them, 38-7. They hope for better this week but are on the road against a Nevada team that has gotten off to a nice 2-0 start, including a 37-19 win over UNLV on Saturday. Having been pretty inept against two good conference teams already, can the Aggies hang with a decent-looking Wolf Pack squad?
The Downward Trending Aggies
After winning 11 games in 2018, Utah State fell to 7-6 in Gary Andersen’s inaugural season at the helm last year. And thorough losses in consecutive weeks to start the season has them looking ragged so far. Losing a QB drafted in the first round is bound to lead to some fallback for a team that generally struggles for footing in the Mountain West, and what we’ve seen has attested to that somewhat. And winning just seven games in this conference with a QB good enough to go in the first round is also a little curious in its own respect. In defense of their ragged start, though, is the fact that over the last several seasons, the Aztecs and Broncos especially have been among the conference’s heavy hitters. Though Nevada is off to a nice start, maybe this will be more in the Utah State wheelhouse.
The loss of Jordan Love is one thing. And as of now, they are working with both Jason Shelley and Andrew Peasley at quarterback, and while Peasley has almost no experience, Shelley saw considerable time behind center for Utah in 2018. He looks to be more of the go-to guy right now. But it’s the mass exodus of offensive contributors that is most troubling and has the Aggies’ offense looking ragged thus far. Most of the remaining talent has only seen small or moderate time in this offense prior to this season. So given the conditions and the small body of work we have to review this season, it’s not easy to be all that optimistic.
Does Last Season Offer Hope for Utah State?
The Aggies were able to pin a big 36-10 win over Nevada at home last season. It’s dicey how much a potential Aggies backer should gleam from that game. Nevada QB Carson Strong was out of action, and a lot of the pieces to the Utah State success that day have since departed. Then again, Utah State only got a 13-for-31 performance from Jordan Love with 169 yards, a TD, and a pick, so it’s not like an NFL-worthy quarterback was solely responsible for the win. It could vaguely indicate that this Aggies team matches up well with the Wolf Pack, but it’s also unclear how much that game matters now.
How Good is Nevada
Coming off a 7-win season and having settled into a fairly steady flow of respectability under head coach Jay Norvell, Nevada has seen things go well this season with two wins and two covers. They’ve scored 37 in each game and appear to be moving the ball well with incumbent starter Carson Strong back behind center. He has picked up where he left off with 770 yards and 6 TDs with no picks through two games. With Toa Taua, Devonte Lee, and Avery Morrow, they can make many things happen with the run game. But aerially, they are really on-point with Strong dishing it off to guys like Romeo Doubs, who has been flying all over the field through two games. Cole Turner is one of the best tight ends in the conference. They have a lot of tools, and on different days, various guys can step up and take the spotlight in this offense.
Against a hard-running Wyoming team in their first game, the Nevada defense was pretty stout but not very clutch in allowing a big fourth quarter to the Cowboys before locking things up in overtime. Against UNLV, they didn’t let the Rebels get in the game, with Nevada taking over early. One wonders if that will lead into this spot well, a home game against a Utah State offense that is still trying to figure things out. Coach Jay Norvell stresses “D” and has produced pretty solid ones in his time in Reno. There are monsters like Dom Peterson on that line. But with some departures, a new base scheme, and a revamped defensive coaching staff, the jury is still out a bit after giving up 34 to Wyoming and playing a tepid UNLV offense. But first signs certainly seem at least somewhat positive.
Lay the Points on the Home Favorite
One shouldn’t get too hung up on the two-game windows we’ve seen from each team, especially given the varying contexts. Utah State has been playing the cream of the conference and hasn’t looked good in coming up considerably short. And Reno winning at home against a decent Wyoming team in OT after almost blowing it and bouncing around UNLV doesn’t put them in the same air as the Boise or the Aztecs. I just think Utah State is facing a situation where it’s going to take some time to come around, and unfortunately, this season, time isn’t something they have a lot of. I see Nevada winning and covering the spread at home on Thursday.
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