TV Schedule: Saturday, September 12 7:00 p.m. ET, CBSSN
Location: Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV
Line: Arizona (-11.5)
While both the Arizona Wildcats and Nevada Wolfpack posted victories in Week 1, neither program was likely completely satisfied with their effort. That makes Week 2 a major opportunity for both squads to prove something, especially the Wildcats as they try to defend their Pac-12 South Division title in 2015. Who will make the biggest leap forward this week when Arizona travels to Reno to take on Nevada?
Arizona was expecting to play much better, particularly on defense, when they kicked off their season against the UTSA Roadrunners. While quarterback Anu Solomon looked very strong, completing 22 of 36 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns through the air while rushing for 35 yards on five attempts, the game ended up being much closer than anticipated as the Cats held on for a 42-32 win. Particularly troubling was the defensive effort, which gave up a whopping 525 yards of total offense to UTSA and will be without one of the best defensive players in the country in Scooby Wright after the linebacker had surgery on his knee last week to repair an injury suffered in the first quarter. His absence was clearly felt down the stretch in Week 1 and will continue to be a factor as he rehabs his knee for the next month.
Nevada got the opportunity to play FCS UC Davis at home in Week 1 and looked pretty even with the lower division school in many aspects on the box score (except the one that mattered most as the Wolfpack won 31-17. The team rolled to victory behind the strength of their rushing attack, which racked up 232 yards on the ground last week. Don Jackson led the way with 124 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while quarterback Tyler Stewart contributed 206 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns. For the team to handle business against Arizona, however, they’ll need to take their game to the next level.
Reno figures to be electric on Saturday night for this game as the team is preparing a “whiteout” in the stands to give their home-field advantage a little extra juice. Will it be enough for Nevada to claim a statement win over a top-25 team like Arizona?
Prediction: Arizona 28, Nevada 24