Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nevada Wolfpack 2010 Review

2010 Record: 13-1 (7-1), 1st WAC
2010 Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Defeated Boston College 20-13
2010 Schedule/Results
Eastern Washington, W 49-24
Colorado State, W 51-6
California, W 52-31
@ BYU, W 27-13
@ UNLV, W 44-26
San Jose State, W 35-13
@ Hawaii, L 27-21
Utah State, W 56-42
@ Idaho, W 63-17
@ Fresno State, W 35-34
New Mexico State, W 52-6
Boise State, W 34-31
@ Louisiana Tech, W 35-17

535.5 yards per game
Passing Leader: Colin Kaepernick, 3022 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INTs
Rushing Leader: Vai Taua, 1610 yards, 10 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Rishard Matthews, 55-873-5; Virgil Green 35-515-5; Brandon Wimberly, 41-482-0

The Pistol, as ran by the Wolfpack in 2010, was one of the most prolific offenses in recent memory. The only thing that was missing was a third 1000 yards rusher that the team had in 2009, but they did manage to get two with Taua and the amazing Colin Kaepernick, who added to his 3022 yards passing by also rushing for an additional 1203 yards and 20 TDs. The combo of Taua and Kaepernick has been one for the ages, but as is always the case, all good things must end, and end it will for both players in Reno. Chris Ault will be pulling his hair out trying to find players that even come close to matching the productivity that these two guys have had. Rishard Matthews was the unheralded player at receiver, as he was the primary target for Kaepernick's aerial show every Saturday, and of course you have one of the better TEs in college football in Virgil Green.
The Wolfpack will return 19 offensive linemen from their 2010 roster next season, so whoever wins the battle to be the new RB and QB, they will at least have a deep line blocking the way.

377.3 yards allowed per game
Tackles Leader: James-Michael Johnson, 88
TFL Leader: Dontay Moch, 22
Sacks Leader: Dontay Moch, 8.5
INT Leader: 5 tied at 2
Passes Defended Leader: Isaiah Frey, 12

The Wolfpack defense could be criticized for it's inability to keep yardage to a minimum, and at times, they allowed far to many points, but when you look at the lightning effect as to how fast the offense could score at times, these guys had to be tired. Despite giving up almost 253 yards passing per game, the Pack had some serious playmakers on D. None filled that bill any better than DE Dontay Moch, who was a regular guest in opposing backfields. Moch was our FBS DE of the Year, and seriously deserved that title. James-Michael Johnson was there to make all of the plays that got by Moch, or when teams went away from Moch on purpose, which was often. When passing, the best bet was always to go away from Isaiah Frey, as even though he lacked big pick numbers, he was a hawk at knocking passes away. Moch had a buddy up front when it came to stopping plays early in Brett Roy, and Roy will have to take up all of the slack in 2011, as Moch will be moving on to the NFL without a doubt. Johnson and Frey both return as well to give the Pack a solid corps of playmakers for next fall on defense.

FG: Anthony Martinez, 11/15
Punting: Brad Langley, 43.39
Punt Returns: Rishard Matthews, 9.76 yrads per return, 1 TD
Kick Returns: Mike Ball, 24.5 yards per return

The only area of concern on special teams was Martinez, but he was just a freshman. You can expect improvement as he gains experience, but it hardly mattered on the year, as Nevada had their best season ever without worrying about his accuracy all that much. Matthews and Ball were both solid in the return game, and the Pack gets both of them back. Replacing Langley's leg will be a huge issue, as he was one of the best Punters in the country.


As I have referenced, this was by far one of the best seasons, if not the best season, in Wolfpack history. Nevada knocked Boise to their knees on one fantastic night, and was a meltdown in Honolulu away from busting the big bad BCS. The issue for next fall will be the lost production and talent, as players like Kaepernick, Taua, and Moch all make their way to the next level, leaving massive voids in their wake. You don't find chemistry and talent like that growing on trees, and it's rare to find them all in a place like Reno. That could change as Chris Ault has finally managed to take Nevada to another level on the landscape. A move to the MWC in 2012 will only up the ante.

9/3 New Mexico, 9/10 @ Oregon, 9/24 @ Texas Tech, 10/1 @ Boise State, 10/8 UNLV

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