We’re introducing yet another new feature — our weekly Western Athletic Conference football preview. We did thorough looks of all the WAC hoops matchups last year, and now we’ll do it for the gridiron, too.
We’ll have tomorrow’s matchups posted after the Vandal soccer game this afternoon.
Today’s game (all times Pacific):
Missouri (3-0) at Nevada (0-2), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
The Nevada Wolf Pack are opening their home season — and, surprisingly, still looking for their first win. At 0-2, the Pack were crushed by Notre Dame, 35-0, and were barely competitive in a 35-20 loss to Colorado State. It’s an inauspicious start for coach Chris Ault and his once-vaunted “pistol” offense — quarterback Colin Kaepernick is averaging 200 yards in the air, but he’s thrown 4 picks and just 1 touchdown.
The Tigers, on the other hand, are looking to go 4-0 to start the season, after dismantling Illinois in the Arch Rivalry game, edging Bowling Green and blowing out Furman, an FCS school. Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert is looking wise beyond his years, tossing 250 yards a game and completing 68% of his passes, while the ground game gobbles up another 164 yards. Against the Fighting Illini, Missouri’s stifling defense allowed only two scores, while sacking Juice Williams three times and picking him off once.
Ault’s future as coach of the Wolf Pack may hang in the balance — Nevada hasn’t opened a season with three straight losses since 1999. Home cooking may provide some of the cure, but having given up 70 points while scoring just 20 doesn’t bode well for the Silver and Blue, not when playing a team with as many weapons as Missouri has. If the Pack don’t pull this one out, expect the calls for Ault’s head to rise to a crescendo.