Nevada football ready for crowd, No. 17 Texas A&M in first road trip of season
Brian Polian told his Nevada Wolf Pack players all about Kyle Field this week.
“I told them it will be loud,” Polian said.
The Wolf Pack is expecting to play in front of its biggest crowd in school history on Saturday, Sept. 19, when it takes on the Texas A&M Aggies at College Station, Tex., in front of an expected crowd of over 100,000 fans at Kyle Field. The largest crowd the Pack has played in front of has been 84,078 at Nebraska in 2007.
Texas A&M, now 2-0 and ranked 17th in the nation after wins over Arizona State (38-17) and Ball State (56-23), attracted a crowd of 104,213 against Ball State last week at home. The 102,733-seat Kyle Field, which was renovated two years ago, is the fourth largest college football stadium in the nation.
“It’s going to be fun,” Wolf Pack offensive tackle Austin Corbett said. “Playing in front of 100,000 people is something not a lot of people get to do.”
This will be the Pack’s first road test of the season after going 4-3 away from Mackay Stadium last year. Polian’s Pack teams have gone 4-9 overall on the road and 1-4 in non-conference road games with their only win coming at BYU last year.
“I actually like road games better than home games,” Nevada defensive end Lenny Jones said. “I like being the bad guy, with everybody booing us and everybody hating us.”
Texas A&M, now in its fourth season in the SEC after playing in the Big 12 from 1996-2011 and the Southwest Conference from 1915-1995, is likely to pose more problems for the Pack than just a huge crowd. The Aggies have gone 30-11 since Kevin Sumlin became head coach in 2012.
“To be honest, I don’t care who is across from me on the field,” said Don Jackson, who leads the Wolf Pack with 215 rushing yards this season. “I don’t see faces, I don’t see names and I don’t see rankings. I just play football.”
Texas A&M runs an uptempo, spread offense that features quarterbacks Kyle Allen (324 yards, five touchdowns) and Kyler Murray (114 yards, one touchdown) and running back Tra Carson (155 yards, two scores). Wide receivers Christian Kirk (10 catches, 149 yards) and Ricky Seals-Jones (9, 83) have been the favorite targets of Allen and Murray so far.
“They are dynamic offensively,” Polian said.
Texas A&M also features a defense that has sacked opposing quarterbacks 10 times in two games. Defensive ends Daeshon Hall (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) has four sacks and Myles Garrett (6-5, 262) has two.
“They are both great,” Polian said. “Not good. Great.”
Texas A&M also respects the Nevada offense. Pack quarterback Tyler Stewart has passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown.
“They are a downhill running team,” Sumlin said. “They have a quarterback that is mobile and can run. For us, this is a game where we’ll have to be physical up front and be able to tackle in space.”
The Wolf Pack has never played a SEC team before. The Pack played current SEC member Missouri in 2008 and 2009 (losing both times) and Texas A&M in 1950 (losing 48-18) but that was when Missouri was in the Big 12 and Texas A&M was in the Southwest Conference.
Polian and the Wolf Pack are coming off a rough week on and off the field. Polian was fined $10,000 this week by the university after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for arguing with the officials last week.
“The focus this week is to become a better fundamental football team,” Polian said. “We all have to be better and it starts with me.”