Match-Ups vs. LA Tech
I'm calling pushes on anything within 10 spots of each other.
Pack Scoring Offense vs. LA Tech Scoring Defense: #28 vs. #57, Advantage Nevada
Pack Scoring Defense vs. LA Tech Scoring Offense: #70 vs. #47, Advantage LA Tech
Pack Rushing Offense vs. LA Tech Rushing Defense: #7 vs. #15, Push
Pack Rushing Defense vs. LA Tech Rushing Offense: vs. #59 vs. #66, Push
Pack Passing Offense vs. LA Tech Passing Defense: #33 vs. #103, Advantage Nevada
Pack Passing Defense vs. LA Tech Passing Offense: #61 vs. #56, Push
Pack Total Offense vs. LA Tech Total Defense: #5 vs. #57, Advantage Nevada
Pack Total Defense vs. LA Tech Total Offense: #54 vs. #56, Push
Pack Punt and Opponent Punt Return vs. LA Tech Punt Return: #61 and #112 vs. #54, Push/Advantage LA Tech
Pack Punt Return vs. LA Tech Punt and Opponent Punt Return: #13 vs. #9 and #102, Push/Advantage Nevada
Pack Kickoff and Opponent Kickoff Return vs. LA Tech Kickoff Return: #90 and #105 vs. #46, Advantage LA Tech/Advantage LA Tech
Pack Kickoff Return vs. LA Tech Kickoff and Opponent Kickoff Return: #70 vs. #73 and #11, Push/Advantage LA Tech
Pack Turnover Margin vs. LA Tech Turnover Margin: #74 vs. #12, Advantage LA Tech
Pack Time of Possession vs. LA Tech Time of Possession: #6 vs. #62, Advantage Nevada
Nevada has 5 advantages, LA Tech has 6 advantages, and there are 7 pushes where the teams are ranked within 10 spots of each other. Nevada's advantages are on the Pack offensive of the ball, Punt return, and in Time of Possession. LA Tech's scoring offense, overall special teams, and turnover margin are where LA Tech has the advantage.
Not really a surprise, but Nevada's keys to this game start with taking care of business on special teams and not turning the ball over.
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I think overall that La Tech is a very solid team with a weakness that the Pack needs to take advantage of. If we can throw the ball well I think that could open up the running game for us and give us a chance to control the ball for most of the game.
In the end Special Teams is what is going to win or lose the game for us. If our kickoff coverage keeps allowing teams to gain the ball at the 35 to 50 yard line forcing our D to play tight the whole time, I think Tech beats us and beats us pretty easily. Also, our kick return team needs to do a better job of holding onto the ball and placing the Pack in better starting position. However, Kickoff coverage is going to end up determining the game.
LTU is a team that capitalizes on mistakes and plays solid defense. Their offense is not that good. It's not at all explosive. So, following S4E's lead I'll delve a little deeper.
LTU has scored 5 defensive/st TDs. Several of these have popped up in key games, but most importantly it allows them to focus on defense and avoiding turnovers and mistakes. But lets look at all the FBS games to see how limited their offense has been - especially on the road.
Road Games / Offensive TDs Scored
Loss @ So. Miss: 1 offensive TD on a 3 yard drive. (1 def TD)
Loss @ Miss. State: 2off. TDs, 1 on a drive of 50+yds
Win @ Idaho: 2off TDs, 1 on a drive of 50+yds (1 def TD)
Win @ USU: 2off TDs, both on drives of 50+yds (1 def TD)
Win @ FSU: 5off TDs all 5 of 50+yds
Win @ Ole Miss: 1off TD, drive was only 37yds. (2 def TDs)
Home Games / Offensive TDs Scored
Loss - Houston: 4off TDs, 2 of 50+
Loss - Hawaii: 4off TDs, 3 of 50+yds
Win - SJSU: 3off TDs, 3 of 50+yds
5 of their 13 Offensive TDs on the road were in one game vs FSU. And their offense still averages just over 2 TDs per game on the road. Outside of the FSU game LTU has only 4 offensive TD drives of greater than 50yds.
The Fresno State game was a complete aberration as LTU scored 3 TDs on plays of 45yds or longer. And they are not a big play team. In the WAC, only Idaho averages fewer plays of 20+ yards per game.
It's a lot to ask considering how the season has gone, but Nevada needs to avoid turnovers and leaving a short field. Do that and the LTU offense is going to have some problems at Mackay.
I'll add more stat posts to this thread during the week. Perhaps others can join in?
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Memo to all kick returners: hold onto the ball. Do not wave it around in one arm as you try to weave through the defense to fight for extra yards.
22-14; 31-3; 27-20; 49-27; 63-28; 44-26; 37-0; 42-37
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Kick returners need to burst down field and stop hobbling around, waiting for blocks. Hopefully in the future the Wolf Pack can get a kicker that is able to kick the ball into the endzone. Doesn't help when the returning team recieves the ball from the 10 yardline half of the time.
I looked a bit deeper and tried to identify some key advantages for each team so I put together this overly long thesis on what I noticed for this game. There's a lot here so only read if you're as bored as I was to actually write it.
1. INT (TO Margin) – They have 4 players with 2+ INT’s and this is clearly how they get all their TO’s. (10 Interceptions in conf)
2. Kick Offs – Clear advantage all around
3. Tackles For Loss (TFL) – It’s clear they can get in the backfield and stop the run verified in some 3rd down stats.
1. RZ Conv % NV – 3rd@ home, LT 7th on the road. A majority of these will be TD's. (66%)
2. Passing Off/Def –
NV tops at 334yds/gm at home while LT is around 216 yds/gm.
Conference play overall they are 5&6 (259 vs 247)
Nevada is near the top in both halves.
LT is weak in the 1H and picks it up in the 2H and weak on 1st down.
Passing Offense By Down
1st - Both completes a high %, but LT does pass more on 1st than NV. (78 vs 132)
2nd - This is an advantage for NV as we complete 69% vs 57% of passes. (103 vs 119)
3rd - Both are middle of the pack (54.7%/54.6%) and (86 vs 97) attempts.
3rd (1-3) - 70% (NV) (10 vs 19)
3rd (4-6) - 69% (LT) (28 vs 29) (NV passes most on this distance)
3rd (7-9) - 63% (NV) (22 vs 18) (NV is a better at passing in this distance than which is only at 38%.
3rd (10+) - 38% (NV) (16 vs 31) This is a bad passing down for NV who only completes 37% of these situations so must avoid at all costs.
4th - 87% (1st) while LT is 2nd@80%
Nevada is strong in both halves, where LT weakens in the 2H a bit.
LT 1st on Road pass D only allowing 205.2.
Passing Defense By Down
1st - NV is 1st in conference and allows only 52% conversion % vs 68% for LT which is good for last. (High Long Ball stat)
2nd - This is a push since both allow in the 55% range
3rd - Both teams are 1 & 2 in the conference allowing %'s of 37.9 and 47.9 respectively and are both strong vs. passing on this down.
Distance doesn't seem to matter as both teams are tops in the conference at any distance.
4th NV better 43% vs. 57% (not a big deal here though)
NV 2nd in conference @home where LT 5th (267.25/131)
NV 1st in conference 282ypg vs 153ypg
NV is stong in both halves and has the most 10+yds running plays.
Rushing Offense By Down
1st - NV averages 6 ypc and LT 4.75ypc. (261 vs 198) NV rushes on this down more often than anything else and must be successful here.
2nd - Advantage NV averages 4.8 YPC LT 2.7 YPC (133 vs 136)
3rd - LT rushed on 3rd more than NV (almost twice as much 42 vs 79 attempts) but both only get just under 3yds/carry overall.
3rd (1-3) - NV (4.54) LT (2.36) (26 att vs. 44 att)
3rd (4-6) - NV (.86) LT (.5) (7 att vs. 10 att) -- NV Passes more at this distance
3rd (7-9) - NV (3.0) LT (2.56) (4 att vs. 9 att)
3rd (10+) -NV (-2.4) LT (5.44) (5 att vs. 16 att)
4th - NV (.65) LT (2.82) (6 vs. 11)
NV allows 128.7 yds/gm @ Home
LT allows 130.8 yds/gm @ Away
Both are tops in conference (107.7 vs. 84.8) LT is strong in both halves and has only allowed 7 TD’s total while NV 15. (only 4@home) Top3 in 10+ yard runs allowed.
Rushing Defense By Down
( ) - Conference Record
1st - NV allows 4.82 and LT 4.04 (5th vs. 3rd)
2nd - NV 3.65 LT 2.68 (3rd vs. 1st) Advantage LT and a stronger rushing down for NV.
3rd – NV 5.41 LT 1.78 (8 vs. 4) Clear advantage for LT, but 3rd isn’t a big rushing down for NV so it may not be as big as a factor.
LT has the advantage in each distance category.
1-3 – NV 5.68 LT 2.54 YPC
4-6 – NV 4.5 LT -.88 YPC
7-9 – NV 6.57 LT 3.17 (low attempts against) YPC
10+ - NV 3.75 LT 1.33 YPC
4th – NV 4.8 LT 1.13 YPC
In Summary here's what needs to happen and I probably didn't need to go this deep, but it's Monday and I'm bored.
As mentioned it's clear that LT relies on field position and will be at a great advantage if they are able to capitalize on the kick-off. Nevada doesn't and hasn't defended that well in forever so this is a key. They don't pass or run as well on the road and it will be hard for them to get to the yards on us if we make the field longer. A longer field will mean more passes and our pass defense is capable of holding them in check and needs to try to get some turnovers. If we can make them one-dimensional on offense I like our chances defending the run even though we appear to be plenty prepared against the pass.
LT will try to be looking for mistakes and in reality rely on getting turnover through the air so Fajardo will be put to the test this week. They have 4 guys 2 with 2or more INT's this year so they're hand will be very active and I suspect we'll have a lower number of passes to limit Farjardo's exposure, but I feel this is our best way to move the ball against them, or to at least open things up for the run game.
Also, in looking at this I noticed that Nevada doesn't get a ton of 3rd down conversion attempts, which surprised me, as they are 7th in the conference with only 128 attempts while LT is first at 176. This makes sense in looking at the stats details because we have a much more efficient offense and usually get a 1st down on 1st or 2nd so 3rd doesn't come up as much. This is pretty crucial because LT is pretty stout on 3rd down (especially vs the run) and although we don't run a bunch on this down and pass a bit better this is a strong point for them (leads in TFL), but I did find a possible hole for them on 3rd down converstions.
Here's the 3rd conv rate Home vs Away and we are both tops in H/A category, however LT much worse on the road in converting and we are great on both sides.
LT (A) 31% (7th)
NV (H) 58% (1st)
NV (H) 28% (1st)
LT (A) 26% (1st)
We don't have to convert at 60% rate, but if we can hold them to average, while gaining at least 45-50% of ours this would be a clear advantage for us in keeping drives alive and controlling TOP, which we are tops at.
Finally, if LT does manage to move the ball into the 20's and gets some RZ opportunities we have a clear advantage in conversion as we convert on 85% of our attempts with 69% being TD's at home. LT is much weaker on the road and only converts 70%, but a much lower TD vs. FG% (42%/39%). We are tops in the conference in RZ defense and LT is dead last on the road with a 90% allowed scoring rate. We must exploit any and all RZ opportunities because they will be limited in stopping us.
One other thing that I'm not factoring is the weather and if it snows then we may see a different game and I don't see LT being stronger on running or passing so it seems like a messy field could work to our advantage since we can run just as well as we pass.
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