Dale Money | October 11th, 2019
In this article, we will break down some of this week’s biggest upcoming games in the Non-Power 5 Conferences.
San Jose State vs Nevada
Both San Jose State and Nevada head into this game with identical 3-2 records. The Wolf Pack leads the all-time series 21-9-2 and has won the last two games against the Spartans. Both quarterbacks starting in this game graduated funny enough from the same school in Long Beach Poly. It will be hosted in Nevada’s home stadium on Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern.
The Wolf Pack will be itching to get back into the swing of things, after having the bye week to try and lick their wounds from that 54-3 blowout at home against Hawaii. It was decided earlier this week by Nevada head coach Jay Norvell, that Malik Henry had been named the starting quarterback. A former Seminole recruit, this will be his first career FBS start, having played the majority of his time with Independence Community College in Kansas.
Nevada will be facing a Spartans rushing defense that it’s fair to say, has been rather abysmal, ranked dead last in the Mountain West in totals yards allowed per game, and giving up 4.7 yards per carry. They will be looking to feed starting running back Toa Taua as much as they can. Taua has rushed for just over 260 yards with two touchdowns on 61 attempts averaging 4.4 yards.
The 6’2” fifth-year senior Josh Love has so far performed well for San Jose State this year. Love played quite well in his previous game, tossing for 405 yards and two touchdowns and completing 24 of his 36 pass attempts against New Mexico while leading the Spartans to a 32-21 victory. Love on the season has thrown for just over 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns with just the lone interception.
I expect the Spartans pass attack to give that Nevada secondary a real workout. Currently, the Wolf Pack is ranked 125 out of the 130 FBS teams in pass efficiency defense. His top safety blanket this season so far has been a third-year wide receiver, Tre Walker. Walker already has 360 yards on 25 receptions in only three games played. He was very significant in the game against New Mexico, picking up 130 yards on seven receptions the longest play being for 39 yards.
14 Boise State vs Hawaii
In a battle for Mountain West supremacy, both clubs are sitting atop their opposing divisions in the Conference. Boise leads the all-time series against the Warriors 12-3, with the Broncos having won the last eight matchups which date back to 2006. A win on the road against a 14th ranked team in Boise would go a long way towards putting the Rainbow Warriors into the AP top 25.
Coming off the bye week, Hawaii currently holds down a 4-1 overall record with San Diego State standing directly behind them in the division. The Rainbow Warriors will be putting their passing attack to the test. Fourth-ranked in the country, Cole McDonald has been terrific leading the Mountain West in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns.
Both Cedric Byrd ll and JoJo Ward are first and third respectively in receiving yards. Byrd is tied for second in the country with nine touchdown receptions, however, seven of those touchdowns snares were spread out between two games. In the opener against the Arizona Wildcats, he went off for over 220 yards receiving and four touchdowns. And just two weeks ago in their game against Nevada, he added 87 yards along with three touchdowns.
The Broncos passing defense, that to their credit is pretty darn good themselves, ranks 14th nationally. The Broncos secondary was given a shot in the arm by the return of safety DeAndre Pierce last week and is giving up just a meager 178.2 yards per game. Hank Bachmeier is second in the conference in passing yards. He’s also tied for second in touchdowns with eight. They currently rank eighth as a team in passing yards per game.
The Broncos are a perfect 5-0 on the season, including a couple of close wins against both Marshall and Air Force. However, last week against UNLV they were able to put up 38 points in a 25-point shellacking of the Rebels to stay unbeaten. They did give up 10 penalties for 130 yards, and that will need to be cleaned up against a Warriors squad that is on another level to UNLV in terms of gobbling up chunks of yardage through the air in their run-and-shoot attack.
Toledo vs Bowling Green
We rekindle the annual Battle of I-75, a rivalry between two Ohio schools that are only 25 miles apart. Toledo and Bowling Green have played a grand total of 83 games with Toledo leading the all-time series 40-39-4. However, Toledo has won the last nine games coming into this weekend. This game will be played in Bowling Green at the Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
The Falcons sit second-to-last in the MAC East at a record of 1-4 and are coming off a 52-0 shutout loss at the hands of the ninth-ranked Irish. On the bright side of things, Grant Loy, the redshirt junior quarterback out of New Washington, Ohio, played relatively well giving the Falcons a bit of a jump start after subbing in for Darius Wade early on. Will there be a quarterback controversy heading into the game against Toledo?
Toledo owns a very respectable 4-1 overall record this season and will look to continue their roll of four straight victories. The Rockets are coming off a 31-24 nail-biter victory over Western Michigan. Up 31-17 very late in the fourth quarter, the Broncos would cut the lead to seven points after a 39-yard touchdown run by LeVante Bellamy. They would be given one last opportunity to tie it and send the game to overtime but would stall out in the red zone.
Toledo’s Mitchell Guadagni has passed for over 900 yards on the season, with seven touchdowns and two picks. He is playing in his third season but has only really just gotten hold of the reins this year, having almost already shattered most of his passing numbers from a season ago.
Miami (OH) vs Western Michigan
Western Michigan hosts MAC rival Miami (OH) on Saturday afternoon. This will be the 96th homecoming game for the Broncos, as they come into this contest with a perfect 3-0 record at their stomping ground. The Redhawks lead the all-time series 37-22-1 but have lost their last six games to these Broncos going back as far as 2006.
The Broncos are currently holding a 3-3 record and ranked fourth overall in the MAC West division, just behind the Central Michigan Chippewas. They’ll be looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Toledo. The teams rushing defense will need to step up after giving away over 270 yards rushing and two touchdowns on an average of 5.2 yards a carry against Toledo. On offense, Jon Wassink and LeVante Bellamy lead the MAC in both passing yards and rushing yards respectively for Western Michigan.
Miami (OH) is positioned second overall in their division just behind Kent State with a 2-3 overall record. They return from a bye week, in which their last game was a comfortable 34-20 victory against MAC rival Buffalo Bulls. They would end up scoring 31 straight points after falling behind 14-3 in the second quarter, including four touchdowns. Running back Jaylon Bester would rush for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Brett Gabbert ranks eleventh in the MAC Conference in both passing yards and completion percentage. He’ll lead an offense that is dead last nationally in total offense. The bye week was certainly needed after losing a number of players to injury versus Buffalo, they should expect to have a relatively healthy team going into the game against Western Michigan.
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