NCAA Football: Nevada Wolf pack vs Kansas State Wildcats Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football: Nevada Wolf pack vs Kansas State Wildcats Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

Game Time: 2:05 pm ET, Saturday, September 18th, 2021 
Venue: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas
Where to Watch:  Big-12 Now,  ESPN+

Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread:  Nevada -2,  O/U:  50.5 points
BetMGM:  Spread:  Nevada -2,  O/U:  50.5 points
Caesars: Spread:  Nevada -2,  O/U:  50.5 points


Season Record

Kansas State:  2-0  (Big-12)
Nevada:  2-0  (Mountain West)


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Nevada vs Kansas State Preview and Analysis

Recent Form

Nevada beat California in a close 22-17 game, then blew out Idaho State 49-10.  The Idaho State game is inflating their passing numbers, but that is what they are.  Pass first.  Kansas State beat Stanford (who then beat USC!) 24-7 and then Southern Illinois 31-23.  They have a conflicting style of focusing on the run and playing hard-nosed defense.  As college football games go, this is a fun match-up of conflicting styles.  

Offensive Analysis 

Nevada quarterback Carson Strong is averaging 312 YPG passing, 56.4%... he has 2 TD’s and 1 interception.  They are averaging 35.5 points per game for 43rd in the country.  They are a passing team averaging 376.5 yards per game (7th!) They add another 103 yards per game rushing behind RB Toa Taua, 70 per game, who gets help from Devonte Lee.  The receiving core of Tory Horton (94 YPG)(team-high), Romeo Dobbs (83 YPG), and Cole Turner (75 YPG) represents an offense that spreads the ball around.  They are receptions first… then a running game. Their pass protection has only given up 2 sacks in two games.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is netting 144 YPG, but has passed for zero touchdowns.  The Wildcats are a running team.  Happy to ground and pound behind a strong, upperclassmen offensive line.  Deuce Vaughn is averaging 122 YPG with 4 touchdowns on the year.  He gets rushing help from Joe Ervin 24.5 YPG, while quarterback Skyler Thompson adds 33 yards rushing with 2 TD’s.   Of course all of that is out the window.   Skylar Thompson sustained a knee injury and for now is out indefinitely. Sophomore QB Will Howard will take over the offense. Kansas State players will have to rally around Will Howard if they want this win.



Defensive Analysis

So far Nevada has only given up 13.5 points a game.  They are giving up 159 passing yards a game and 147 rushing yards.  They are solid everywhere except covering kicks.  Opponents win the punt return and kick-off return game within the game.  Nevada gave up touchdowns on the first two drives of the Cal game but then settled in and held strong the rest of the game.

Kansas State held Stanford to a single touchdown and that team went on to beat USC.  So either USC and Stanford are not major college power-5 programs?... Or Kansas State has a tough defense. Defensive Tackle Timmy Horne and the safeties Jahron McPherson and Russ Yeast are all graduate transfers.  Strong, grown men.  They joined an already strong returning group.

Wolf Pack vs Wildcats Prediction

Our prediction for Saturday, September 18th is Nevada 35 - Kansas State 22.
Kansas State will be using their back-up quarterback.  He has started and played before so it’s not tragic, but it will definitely be a hardship.


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NCAAF Betting Trends


Key Injuries

Nevada: Nothing new reported.
Kansas State:  QB Skylar Thompson, Knee injury, Out indefinitely.  This is a crushing blow as Skyler has started 32 games in his career at Kansas State.

Players to Watch

Nevada:  QB Carson Strong.  He distributes the ball pretty equally among his receivers.  Whoever gets some separation from the D-back will be hit with the ball.  What will he do against a strong Kansas State secondary?

Kansas State:  WR Phillip Brooks III, he is the second leading receiver on the Wildcats with 51 yards per game, but on only 4 catches total.  If Nevada turns this into a shootout (which they want to do) can guys like this step up and bring the dormant passing game to life?  Can he make it easy on a back-up quarterback by consistently getting separation. 


Notable Quotes

"What we've had to go through this last month just to prepare to play was something — seven different fields we practiced on, we traveled 1,953 miles to be exact to different places to practice,"  -Nevada Coach Jay Norvell, commenting on the hardships his players faced because of the Wildfires in Nevada.

Starting Lineups

Nevada:  QB Carson Strong, RB Toa Taua, WR Elijiah Cooks, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Melquan Stovall, TE Cole Turner, 

Kansas State: QB Will Howard * , RB Deuce Vaughn, WR Malik Knowles, WR Phillip Brooks, WR Landy Weber, TE Nick Lenners, FB  Jax Dineen


Statistical Leaders

Kansas State:
Rushing: Deuce Vaughn  122 YPG
Passing: Skylar Thompson  120 YPG
Receiving:  Malik Knowles  62.5 YPG

Rushing: Toa Taua 70 YPG
Passing: Carson Strong  346.5 YPG
Receiving:  Tory Horton  74.5 YPG


Nevada:  Jay Norvell
Kansas State:  Chris Klieman


Weather Forecast 

Sunny and Hot!... high of 91*, humidity 59%  


James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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