Nevada (1-2) at UB (2-1)
3:30 p.m. at UB Stadium
Radio: 1520 AM. Online: ESPN3.
Last time out: Nevada was routed by 17th-ranked Texas A&M, 44-27. UB’s defense scored 23 points in a 33-15 win at Florida Atlantic.
Trending: Nevada was picked to finish third out of six in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference, which is slightly better than the Mid-American Conference. When UB lost to San Diego State, 49-20, in the Idaho Potato Bowl two years ago, it was clear the Aztecs were more athletic than the Bulls. The MWC was 7-1 vs. the MAC the previous three years. However, San Diego State lost at South Alabama last week. The Aztecs are the MWC West favorite this year. South Alabama is a bottom-feeder in the Sun Belt Conference, which isn’t quite as good as the MAC. Bottom line: This game is a fair fight, but expect Nevada to show a little more overall team speed than UB.
Stat check: Before last week’s comeback win, UB was 1-39 since 2009 when trailing at halftime. . . . It’s a 2,125-mile trip from Reno, Nev., to Buffalo, which makes this the sixth-longest road trip any FBS team will make this season within the continental United States.
Star gazing: Nevada has a first-year starting QB, Tyler Stewart (No. 15), who’s 6-4 and 220. He has a big arm and some mobility. The Wolf Pack runs the Pistol offense, a single-back attack in which the QB lines up 4 yards behind the center and the RB is 3 yards directly behind the QB. Nevada has two good RBs in Don Jackson (6) and James Butler (20). The most dangerous wideout is 6-5 Hassan Henderson (12). . . . On defense the Wolf Pack is led by DEs Ian Seau (8) and Lenny Jones (94). DT Rykeem Yates (55) is a load. Nevada has four new starters in the defensive backfield, and the coaches hinted at a lineup shakeup this week. If UB can pass protect, it could have opportunities for big plays downfield.
At stake: Expectations this season are a bit higher for Nevada than UB. A win by the Bulls would qualify as a “steal.” Win or lose, UB needs to get its offense back on track in advance of next week’s showdown with high-powered Bowling Green.
Prediction: Nevada 26, UB 19.
Online appetizer: Here’s a pregame tailgate tip inspired by the mom of former UB center Trevor Sales, Ranae Sales, who ran a great tailgate at UB games the past four years. (Trevor’s Twitter handle is BBQ Connoisseur, so that tells you something right there.)
One of Ranae’s rules for tailgating that we love: Always have a drink or treat in honor of the opponent. You want to be able to chew them up and spit them out before they take the field.
With that in mind, our menu suggestions for Saturday are: shrimp cocktail or AYCES (all you can eat sushi). Nevada, being largely desert, isn’t too famous for homegrown cuisine. But the former is a staple of Las Vegas buffets and the latter (we hear) can be found at some restaurants in Reno.
A link to the rest of Ranae's tips: http://www.nwitimes.com/niche/inspired-living/entertaining/how-to-host-a-tailgate-to-remember/article_136f86d2-ee8b-52c4-aed8-24f97cb1ccd8.html