Oregon Football: Five Things To Know About Nevada Wolf Pack

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08: Caleb Peart #9 and Kenny Hebert #42 of the Vanderbilt Commodores chase Toa Taua #35 of the Nevada Wolf Pack during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08: Caleb Peart #9 and Kenny Hebert #42 of the Vanderbilt Commodores chase Toa Taua #35 of the Nevada Wolf Pack during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Nevada Wolf Pack are flying high after knocking down Purdue at home in Week 1, but they’ll face a whole different beast this Saturday as they take on the Ducks.

Oregon football might be coming off a tough loss against Auburn at AT&T Stadium, but the last time they lost to an SEC opponent in Dallas, they responded with a decisive home victory over Nevada in 2011. The stage is set for the same kind of rebound game for the Ducks in Week 2, but it’d be a really dumb idea for us to completely overlook any opponent, even The Biggest Little University in the World. So let’s take a deeper look into what wags the tails of the 2019 Wolf Pack.

Of Walk-Ons and Game Winners

Move over Hugh Freeze, the feel-good story of Week 1 took place in Reno.

Nevada beat Purdue in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion thanks to the leg of their true freshman walk-on kicker, Brandon Talton. Talton hit a 56-yard game-winner to upset the Boilermakers, and was immediately awarded a scholarship in the locker room after the game.

This kind of story is why I love college football. It’s why everyone loves college football. I want nothing but the best for Talton, and for every other walk-on that dreams of a moment like that. I hope he finds endless success in his life.

Except for this Saturday.

Not that I believe that the Ducks will let the game get this close, but Talton hit his game winner at home. Just ask Washington’s Peyton Henry (or Alejandro Maldonado, for that matter) what it’s like to try to hit a game winner in Autzen.

On Saturday, I fully expect Autzen to rock like crazy before the true freshman’s first FG attempt, and help force one of the most horrendous shanks in recorded college football history.

Left Side. Strong Side.

Nevada’s head coach Jay Norvell must be a lot like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused because he sure loves those freshmen.

The Wolf Pack’s starting QB is frosh Carson Strong, and he honestly played a better game in Week 1 than the last young QB the Ducks faced. Strong may have only completed 30/51, but he threw for 295 yards, 3 scores, and no picks.

The first thing that should stand out is that the dude threw 50+ times in his first career start and managed to keep it away from a Power 5 defense the whole game. It’s clear that the Air Raid is strong (I’m so sorry) with this one.

The Oregon Football secondary came away with two takeaways against the less-consistent Bo Nix, but they’ll be facing a really big arm in Strong that will look to test them over and over again. I believe the D-Boyz will pass the test with flying colors.

Jevon Holland (AKA The Best Player on the Team) and Thomas Graham Jr. will break up a handful of passes each, but I have a good feeling that Deommadore Lenoir will step up and snag two picks to himself against Nevada.

Last Chance UNR

Carson Strong was named the starter during fall camp, and he had to beat out a bonafide Netflix semi-star to do it. Nevada’s QB2, Malik Henry, is a former 4-star and Elite 11 hype-cruit who left Florida State and went on to play at Independence Community College in Kansas.

As the subject of Netflix’s acclaimed, Last Chance U, Henry was a constant point of tension throughout the series. Never taking responsibility for the shortcomings of the offense, throwing tantrums about playing time, and altogether exhibiting some of the most remarkable narcissism that a reality TV show has ever seen.

I’ll never understand how he didn’t fit in at Florida State.

It’s clear that Carson Strong is the better fit in every way as the starter, but if the game does get out of hand in the Ducks’ favor, Henry might see some garbage time snaps. I’m sure there a couple of binge-watchers on the Oregon defense that might be eager to give Malik a warm welcome to division one football.

The Two Tauas

Along with running an Air Raid philosophy, Nevada is also the modern home of the Pistol offense that Arroyo & Co. have implemented in Eugene. The Wolf Pack have been running the ball effectively for the last year and one game on the legs of the returning Mountain West Freshman of the Year, Toa Taua.

Toa is obviously an outstanding running back in his own right, but he comes from deep Wolf Pack running roots. His older brother, Vai Taua, is scattered across UNR record books and is remembered as part of a deadly backfield where he and Colin Kaepernick upset Boise State back in 2010.

Vai is now an assistant coach for Nevada, and I’m sure some brotherly wisdom will help little bro Toa break for 1,000+ yards this year and next year.

It’s also pretty cool that Toa Taua will end up breaking the 1,000 yard mark this year with only 35 yards against the Ducks.

“wE dOn’T pLaY tHe CrOwD.” – Jay Norvell

Jay Norvell is making headlines right now because he recently talked down the impact of the Autzen crowd—or any crowd, more accurately—by speaking to just how much him and his team plan on embracing the crowd noise:

"“The crowd is right on you and it can be loud at times. But when you’re a competitor you look forward to that.” – Jay Norvell"

Now, a lot of Ducks fans have immediately reacted to headlines and tweets that have said he is basically challenging Autzen to get loud, but if you listen to the full interview, he really doesn’t;t say anything horribly offensive or even cocky.

He’s a Group of Five coach that already knows he has to bring his team into a hostile environment to play a really tough team, what do you expect him to say?


Of course he’s going to actively downplay the effect of any crowd in order to present his team with an argument as to why they stand a chance on Saturday.

It’s not like he was an outright liar and said that Husky Stadium was louder.

If he did, I’d say your angry tweets are more than warranted.

Oregon football faces off with the Nevada Wolf Pack at Autzen Stadium this Saturday (9/7) at 4:30 PM PST. You can catch it on Pac-12 Networks, or you can get there and get loud enough for Jay Norvell to admit that when you come to Autzen, you do play the crowd.

Go Ducks.