CSU Rams vs. Nevada: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions

CSU Rams vs. Nevada: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions

November 26, 2021

Nevada (7-4, 4-3 Mountain West) at Colorado State (3-8, 2-5); 7 p.m. Saturday, at Canvas Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS-SN/1430 AM, 98.1 FM

Line: Nevada -4, 57 over/under

Weather: 43 degrees, partly cloudy

What to know

If CSU takes care of the ball … then the Rams have a shot to keep up with an explosive Nevada passing game. But turnovers have doomed CSU as of late and forced a run-first offense out of its comfort zone. During its current five-game losing streak, CSU has given the ball away 1.8 times per tilt and allowed an average of seven points per game to opponents off its own turnovers. Nevada comes into the weekend ranked No. 3 in the Mountain West in turnovers forced (21) behind Hawaii (27) and Boise State (23).

Halftime Harbinger? The Wolf Pack have scored first in seven of its 11 contests so far this season and in six of seven Mountain West Conference tilts. CSU is 0-5 this season when its opponent opens the scoring, and 0-6 all-time in those situations under coach Steve Addazio.

Dollar Difference. Nevada coach Jay Norvell is reportedly the lowest-paid football coach (Air Force notwithstanding) in the Mountain West with a salary of $625,000 in 2021. With a 7-4 mark coming in, he’s cost the Pack just $89,285 per victory this season. Addazio, who reportedly makes $1.55 million, cost CSU $516,666 per win so far this fall.

Camper’s Climb. With his next field goal, Rams kicker Cayden Camper will set the single-season CSU record for makes in a season (25). His 24 field goals are the most for a Rams kicker since Jeff Babcock (24) in 2002.

Key Matchups

CSU’s secondary vs. Nevada QB Carson Strong. Having already set the Pack’s single-game record for completions in a tilt (49) against Fresno State earlier this season, the NFL-bound Nevada signal-caller is three scores away (32 TDs) from setting the program’s single-season record for passing touchdowns, too.

CSU punter Ryan Stonehouse vs. Nevada’s return unit. Stonehouse’s rocket leg has been a blast to watch. The Pack, meanwhile, rank No. 15 nationally and No. 2 in the Mountain West in FootballOutsiders.com’s Punt Return Efficiency while averaging 18.3 team punt return yards per game.

Predictions

Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Nevada 37, CSU 35

The Pack have never won in Fort Collins, but all good things in Rams circles seem to be coming to an end lately. The way Carson Strong can sling it, this one could have a Utah State feel to it. Heaven help The Daz if it has a Utah State ending, too.

Scott Monserud, AME/sports: Nevada 31, CSU 17

The Rams are playing out the string with a defense that could not stop Hawaii.

Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: Nevada 30, CSU 21

The Rams pass defense is not as bad as it looked last week at Hawaii, but not good enough to hold NFL-bound QB Carson Strong in check.

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