Nevada football travels to play winless Wyoming |

Nevada football travels to play winless Wyoming

Nevada defenders (left to right) Asauni Rufus, Rykeem Yates and Lenny Jones bring down a New Mexico runner in the Wolf Pack's 35-17 win over New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Mackay Stadium.
Nevada Appeal |

The Nevada Wolf Pack and Wyoming Cowboys won’t exactly practice the art of deception on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 17, in Laramie, Wyo.

“This team is not trying to fool you,” Wolf Pack coach Brian Polian said of the winless Cowboys. “They know they’re going to run it, you know they’re going to run it and you just have to try and stop it. We’ll try to run the ball. They’ll try to run the ball. The game might be over in an hour and a half.”

The Wolf Pack, 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Mountain West, are coming off arguably their best effort of the season in a 35-17 victory over New Mexico last Saturday at Mackay Stadium. Wyoming, which lost to New Mexico 38-278 earlier this season, is still looking for its first victory of the year at 0-6 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain West. The Cowboys have lost nine games in a row dating back to last season and are coming off a 31-17 loss to Air Force.

“We ran out of gas,” said Craig Bohl, who has a 4-14 record in a season and a half as Wyoming’s head coach. “But I believe we’re getting better. It may not show on the scoreboard but we’re going to keep encouraging (the Wyoming players) and try to keep them in the fight.”

One of Polian’s biggest challenges this week was to convince his Wolf Pack team to ignore Wyoming’s record. “It was the first thing we talked about this week,” Polian said.

Cowboys’ quarterback Cameron Coffman, an Indiana transfer, leads the Mountain West with 1,291 passing yards and in total offense (1,178 yards). Running back Brian Hill is second in the Mountain West and fifth in the nation with 797 rushing yards. Wide receivers Tanner Gentry (33 catches for 592 yards) and Jake Maulhardt (30 catches for 312 yards) are two of the more productive wide receivers in the conference.

“It doesn’t make sense that they are 0-6,” Wolf Pack offensive tackle Austin Corbett said. “We can’t take them for granted just because they don’t have a win.”

The combination of James Butler and Don Jackson has given the Wolf Pack an even more potent ground game than the Cowboys have with Hill. The Wolf Pack is the only Football Bowl Subdivision team in the nation with two players with 500 or more rushing yards.

The Wolf Pack is in third place in the Mountain West’s West Division, tied with UNLV at 1-1 in league play and trailing just San Diego State (2-0) and San Jose State (2-1). Wyoming, the only team in the Mountain West with a winless overall record, is in last place in the Mountain Division, tied with Colorado State at 0-2.

“We’re a .500 team,” said Polian, who has a 14-17 record as Pack head coach. “We can take nothing for granted. Every game for us is a battle. We’re going up there ready for a fight.”

The Pack heads to Wyoming this time having won five of its last eight games away from Mackay Stadium. The Pack also won three of its four Mountain West road games last year after losing all four in Polian’s first year in 2013.

“Winning last week (against New Mexico) did wonders for us,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying everybody is now crazy confident but we saw that when we are clicking on all cylinders we can be something special.”

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