What can I say, really? We played an ugly game on the road but managed to come away with a victory. I'm glad we have a very improved defense—otherwise the outcome might've been a bit different.
I think it would be nice of me to say that Graham Harrell had a bad game. He was obviously rattled in front of a rowdy Wolfpack crowd.
I liked how he tried to take advantage of the inexperienced Nevada secondary by throwing the ball deep, attempting to stretch the field out and get some long gains, but Harrell didn't seem able to make the good throws. On one play, he would overthrow a wide-open receiver, and the next, the receiver would have to come back for a severely underthrown ball.
Harrell had a horrible 41 percent completion percentage, 297 yards in the air, one passing touchdown, and two interceptions.
I'll go ahead and say now that I think Graham Harrell might have a bad game against SMU next week. Looking back at Harrell's history, he's had those back to back bad games.
It happened twice two years ago. The first time was at UTEP and then at TCU, where Harrell played like crap for two games. It happened later that same season with a loss against Missouri, then a loss at Colorado. Last year Harrell had a bad game at Missouri, then came home and had a bad game against Colorado.
I think the only reason we didn't lose this weekend is because of the new "Ruff and Tuff" swarm defense. If Setencich was still around, I'm pretty sure we lose this game.
Let's just hope I'm wrong about Harrell this coming week against SMU. Or maybe you can consider the EWU game his other "bad game."
I will generously give Harrell one out of five stars.
It seemed to me that Leach called a lot of running plays this game. I wonder if they saw something that might have given Tech the edge over the Nevada front eight, or if Harrell's play was the reason for more frequent running plays.
Baron Batch had the most rushing yards with 47 on six carries. Starter Shannon Woods had 45 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns. The team finished with 124 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.
(3.8 of 5 stars)
With Harrell having such a bad game, it's really hard to grade out the receivers. You can't penalize them for not getting any catches because you don't know who to blame. Did they run bad routes? Did they do a bad job of getting open? Or did Harrell do a poor job of getting them the ball?
Michael Crabtree led all receivers with 158 yards off seven catches and one touchdown. Tramain Swindall had three catches for 54 yards, and Detron Lewis had three catches for 46 yards.
The offensive line, I think, had two different halves. In the first half, they had trouble picking up the blitzing linebackers and the stunting down linemen. In the second half, they were able to make some adjustments, but they still were having troubles getting any push on running plays and sometimes missed a key block here and there.
I don't know what Nevada was doing, but it gave our front five fits all night long. The line has shown they can control very talented defensive units before, but they haven't gotten back into that form this season.
For the first half, the defensive line was really soft—or at least played soft. I understand they had to keep an eye on both the quarterback and the running back, as Nevada did a great job running the QB option. Once the running back left the game with the knee injury, our defensive line became more aggressive, as they were able to key only on the quarterback.
Defensive end Brandon Williams was credited with two sacks, and end McKinner Dixon was credited with one sack.
The linebackers also played the option pretty soft, but it might be the respect we had for the running ability of Colin Kaepernick, the Nevada quarterback. Once again, in the second half, they stepped it up and made some plays.
Our shutdown corner, Jamar Wall, got beat deep on the lone long touchdown, but other than that the secondary did a good job of keeping everything in front of them. They gave the receivers some cushion for all the short dink and dunk passes, but they did a great job of wrapping up and not allowing a lot of YAC.
Well, the first thing that stands out about special teams is the punt return for a touchdown by Eric Morris. Also, the punt return team blocked their second punt in as many games. Donnie Carona did have a field goal blocked, but that is mostly due to the poor blocking on the right wing of the formation.
Well, John Bible and staff tried to screw us out of a victory again, but we were able to overcome. This is the first time in a long time (or ever) that I can remember our defense winning the game for us. Hopefully it's a good sign that our defense has taken that next step, meaning our team can make that next step.