|Boise St set to defend Nevada's pistol|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 November 2008 12:30|
He says the Wolf Pack's pistol offense - which leads the nation in rushing (325 yards per game) - is probably better than it was last year when Nevada scored nine touchdowns before the Broncos won in four overtimes, 69-67 at Boise.
``I know this: We're going to have to score some points on offense,'' Petersen said. ``They are putting up really good numbers.''
The matchup at sold-out Mackay Stadium has all the makings for another high-scoring affair between former Big West rivals now in the Western Athletic Conference.
Boise State (10-0, 6-0 WAC) has developed into a legitimate annual BCS threat, posting an NCAA-best 33 wins over the past three seasons and 66 since 2003 - second only to USC's 68 victories during that stretch.
h that, but has appeared in three straight bowl games and been nipping at the heels of perennial conference powers Boise State and Fresno State since Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault returned to the sidelines in 2004 for his third stint as coach.
Nevada enters the game averaging 38 points per game to Boise State's 37. The difference between the teams is on defense, where the Broncos allow only 10.3 points per game - second best to USC again - while the Wolf Pack give up 30.6.
``It is a terrific defense, very sound, very solid in what they try to do,'' Ault said. ``It doesn't matter who they are playing. ... This is what they hang their hat on and they play hard.''
It will be the Wolf Pack's third Top 25 foe this year. For a while Nevada gave visiting Texas Tech all it could handle in September, trailing 14-12 in the third quarter before losing 35-19. A week later, the Wolf Pack lost 69-17 in what Ault called a ``fiasco.''
``Boise State is all that you've read about,'' Ault said. ``They rank right up there with the Missouris and the Texas Techs that we have played. They play that kind of defense.''
Nevada counters with the two leading rushers in the WAC - running back Vai Taua, who averages 128 yards per game, and sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is running for 102 yards per game while completing 58 percent of his passes for 184 yards per game.
y to have topped 1,000 yards rushing this year, running out of the modified shotgun that Ault calls the pistol because the quarterback lines up only about 4 yards behind center.
``They've got that offense humming,'' Petersen said. ``It's probably more difficult to defend this year than it was last year. I don't think too many people have figured it out. ... We'll have our hands full.''
Nevada's weakness is a pass defense that ranks last in the NCAA, allowing 318 yards per game. It will have to contend with Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore, a redshirt freshman who has completed 71 percent of his passes for 2,637 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The Broncos strive for balance on offense. They average 163 yards per game on the ground.
``We have not seen a running team as good as Boise,'' Ault said. ``They are a power football team.''
``They've got nice receivers, a nice front and they will pound the ball at you. They are as good of team as there is in the country in the play-action pass.''
Nevada is 22-7 at home since Ault returned as coach five years ago.
``Everybody says it's a great opportunity for us,'' Ault said. ``Well, I'm not interested in the opportunity. I'm interested in us lining up and playing Boise State, playing hard-nosed football and doing the things we are capable of doing at our house.''
create a lot of electricity by the way they play,'' he said.
Petersen doubts last year's wild finish will have any bearing on Saturday's game.
``I don't think too many guys are thinking about last year,'' he said. ``I think these guys understand this is our biggest game of the year without question. They know what Nevada's doing, how they've improved every week. Our guys get it.''
Dominic Green, Nevada's 6-foot-3, 295-pound, senior all-WAC center, sees it differently.
``It's the No. 1 game marked on my calendar and it's on Senior Day,'' he said. ``We came close last year and the loss digs at you. It's the one game on our minds all the time.''