Northwestern / Nevada Friday Night College Football
Without record-breaking quarterback Brett Basanez, the Northwestern Wildcat's offense is not nearly as potent as it was last season, but soon, the 'cats are off to a 2-1 start and they'll try to make it 3-1 before Big 10 play begins with a win at Nevada.
Beating the Wolf Pack will be no easy task for the Wildcats as Nevada has looked good early despite bringing just a 1-2 record into Friday night's game. The Pack hung with Fresno State in their opener before ever losing 19-28, they were smoked by 30 at Arizona State, but they came back strong with an impressive 28-10 rout of Colorado State.
If Northwestern wants to be successful on the road in this one it will have to be able to put some pressure on quarterback Jeff Rowe, who lit up the CSU Rams for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 22 passing last week. Last season, I would have written this one off as a lost cause as the Wildcats were the 117th ranked defense in the country. That means only two other defenses cave up more yards per game last season. This season, Northwestern has shown improvement on the defensive side of the ball holding Miami of Ohio to just a field goal in its opener on the road and Eastern Michigan to just six points in last week's win. Northwestern may not get the best push up the middle, but its ends, led by Kevin Mims, are very good and should be able to bring some heat off the corner. The secondary is a very solid unit for the 'cats. I'll admit they were shaky against New Hampshire, but we can not forget that that was an emotional game as it marked the first home game since coach Randy Walker's death, and New Hampshire runs a no-huddle off with lots of offensive variety which is difficult to prepare for.
Nevada's offensive was very impressive last week, and the big win over Colorado State should have the Wolf Pack fired up and ready to go after another home win against a Big 10 opponent. We know that Northwestern does not have the same insult that it had a season ago, but we also know that it does not have the same defense. We know that Jeff Rowe is very talented passer, but he has not seen ends as good as Sims and company or a secondary with as much speed. But if Rowe can find his receivers like he did last week, it will not matter who is playing in the defensive backfield.
Do not trust the so-called "TV experts" for this one. Take a handicapper's word for it who has researched every area of this matchup and has found the winning angle. If you're looking to cash in on Friday night's college football game, make sure you're playing who I'm playing.