After having two tough road games at BCS conference schools, the Rams are ready for a home game. While Nevada doesn't possess the skill nor the depth of Colorado or Minnesota, they did just beat their in-state rival and Mountain West Conference foe UNLV.
If the Rams come out lackadaisical and uninterested, the Wolfpack's potent offense, led by junior quarterback Jeff Rowe, will give the Rams trouble.
That said, this is a game the Rams believe they should win, and need to win.
"We've got to play our game. The last couple weeks we've gotten too much into what they are doing instead of what are we doing," said senior receiver David Anderson. "If we just play the way we can play and hold on to the ball there's no reason we can't beat Nevada."
Senior quarterback Justin Holland has been nursing an ankle injury through the bye week. Holland has participated in practice all week, but it is unsure if his mobility will be hampered by the injury.
With Holland's status up in the air, it is imperative the Rams control this game by using the running attack.
Through the first two games the Rams have been out rushed 468 to 154. The rams will likely look to the three-headed-monster of senior Jimmy Green, sophomore Kyle Bell, and redshirt freshman Gartrell Johnson to ram through the Wolfpack defense, though Bell may get more carries than the rest.
"Ball and clock control is a big thing for us this week and kind of setting the tempo for us the rest of the season," Bell said. "We just have to try to get the defense off the field, our defense the first two games has been solid, it's just a matter of us as an offense leaving them out there too long."
Like the Rams, the Wolfpack have also had a difficult time stopping the run through their first two games, being out gained 452 to 256 on the ground.
The Wolfpack run a 3-4 alignment, the first defense of that style the Rams have seen this year. Despite the nuance, the Rams offense should be able to gain tough yards on the ground early to help set the tone for the rest of the evening.
"We just got to go out there and play the way we can, it's not like we were outmatched the first two games, we just didn't play to the best of our ability," Bell said. "We have a game plan going in, as long as we stick with that and go in, do what we need to do, we'll be fine."
Defensively the Rams have been solid, particularly early, allowing just three first quarter points in the first two games.
If the Ram defense can halt the Wolfpack rushing game led by senior running back B.J. Mitchell, they will force Nevada to be more predictable in their play-calling.
The Wolfpack offense throws several different sets at the opposing defense, from a shotgun spread look to a regular west coast set.
Either way the Rams have had two weeks to plan for this game, the defense should be ready for anything thrown their way. This game could be a forth quarter sweat or a blowout in the first half. Either way the Rams need this win, with Air Force and Utah looming to open up Mountain West play.