This Wolf Pack still a mystery | NevadaAppeal.com

This Wolf Pack still a mystery

This Wolf Pack still a mystery

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – After three games, it’s hard to get a true read on the Nevada football team.

They were blown out by a solid Nebraska team, let a game get away they should have won against Northwestern and blew out Division 1-AA Nicholls State on Saturday.

“We’re very inconsistent right now,” Nevada co-captain and defensive tackle Matt Hines said after Saturday night’s win. “You saw that at the beginning of the game. At times against Northwestern, we played very well, and then went back to not being very good.

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“We’ve got a bye week (this week) to regroup and get things back together again and prepare for UNLV. It’s hard to practice when you lose.”

That was evident during practice last week. There was more running than usual at the end of practice, and the attitude was tense at times.

If it’s hard to get a read on the team overall, it’s just as difficult to get a read on the Pack defense. The unit has faced three different offenses in three weeks.

The only thing the Nicholls State game indicated was that the Pack did a decent job on the option the last three quarters.

That job was made easier in that Nicholls State officially threw only one pass the entire game in spite of trailing by four touchdowns at one point. Nevada did record four sacks, but cornerback Paul Pratt was called for two pass interference penalties.

The first of two pass interference penalties was due to bad fundamentals. Pratt never looked back to find the ball, and never got his hips turned and bumped Michael Okoronkwo in the end zone late in the first quarter. That penalty led to a field goal.

However, the biggest faux pas in the first quarter came when Zack Morgan took a pitch on the short side of the field and raced down the sideline for a 42-yard score when Nevada lost containment. That play shouldn’t have gone for a big gain, especially when the runner never cut back up. The defenders failed to use the boundary to their advantage.

There appeared to be very few noticeable mistakes on the offensive side of the ball, save for quarterback Nick Graziano’s early interception. Graziano consistently torched the Nicholls State secondary, which played mostly man-to-man. Nevada finished with 581 yards, including 333 on the ground and 248 through the air.

Nevada coach Chris Ault also admitted that his team has a ways to go, but one thing he was happy about is that he was able to play many of his younger players, and get some valuable tape on them.

Several of Nevada’s young running backs – Vai Taua, Mike Kanellis and Courtney Randall – got some extended time and did a solid job. Taua carried nine times for 71 yards , Randall carried six times for 24 and Kanellis, who got his first carries of the season, ran for 25 yards on four attempts. Redshirt freshman QB Colin Kaepernick played the entire fourth quarter, though he attempted just three passes because of the lopsided score.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281