Nevada - Colorado State Grades: Wolfpack pass rush does work
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Nevada’s 28-23 win over Colorado State.
– Nevada’s pass rush has been the strength of their defense this season. Their +76.3 team pass rushing grade in 2015 ranks seventh of 208 NCAA teams, and they got consistent pressure in this game despite blitzing just seven times. DE Ian Seau ended his college career by earning a season-best +12.2 overall grade and recording a sack, two hits, four hurries, a batted pass and three run stops. Seau’s +32.2 pass rush grade in 2015 ranks ninth of 385 edge defenders, and he will be an interesting player to evaluate as we move into draft season. DT Korey Rush (+3.3) added four hits and two hurries, and DE Patrick Choudja earned a +2.8 overall grade in just 19 snaps.
– Nevada relied almost entirely on its rushing offense in this game, attempting just 13 passes. The Wolfpack totaled 275 yards on the ground at 7.1 yards per carry, led by star HB James Butler (+2.9). Butler ran for 29 yards on Nevada’s game-winning drive, including a great effort on the go-ahead touchdown run to spin out of the tackle attempt of an unblocked linebacker, and then power through several more defenders into the end zone. Fellow 1,000-yard rusher Don Jackson added 53 rushing yards and broke a pair of tackles. TE Jarred Gipson and RT Ziad Damanhoury led the team with +2.1 and +1.8 run blocking grades, respectively.
– QB Tyler Stewart (-1.2) was not asked to do much in the passing game, but he avoided turning the ball over and added 30 yards on six rushes. Stewart had trouble under pressure, finishing 0-5 and earning a -2.0 grade. C Nathan Goultry (-4.1) had a tough game in pass protection, allowing 3 pressures on just 16 pass blocking snaps.
DE Ian Seau (+12.2)
FS Dameon Barber (+4.3)
DT Korey Rush (+3.3)
HB James Butler (+2.9)
DE Patrick Choudja (+2.8)
– This had to be a frustrating loss for Colorado State. They outgained Nevada by nearly 200 yards, but put up just 23 points on their 10 drives (only four possessions in the second half) and simply ran out of time after allowing a late touchdown. The Rams got excellent production from their passing offense, despite earning a -15.3 team pass blocking grade. QB Nick Stevens was at his best in the intermediate range (8-15 for 142 yards, +2.5 grade), but struggled under pressure (3-16 for 39 yards, three sacks). WR Rashard Higgins (+3.2) was the top target, catching nine of his 15 targets for 129 yards. Higgins is another non Power-5 prospect to keep an eye on; his +23.4 overall grade ranks 11th of 499 NCAA wide receivers this season, and he ranked second among NCAA WR’s with a +33.1 overall grade in 2014.
– The Rams’ offensive linemen did a nice job in the run game (+8.3 run blocking grade, 234 rushing yards at 6.0 yards per carry), but were completely dominated by Nevada’s pass rushers. RT Sam Carlson earned a team-best +5.4 run blocking grade, but allowed five pressures and earned a -3.7 grade in pass protection. LT Trae Moxley earned a -7.5 pass blocking grade on just 20 snaps in pass protection, and was beaten badly by Ian Seau on what seemed like every snap. RG Fred Zerblis (+3.9) was the most consistent lineman in the game, allowing just one hurry, and earning a +2.9 run-blocking grade.
– Colorado State’s defense graded out at slightly above average on a per-snap basis in this game, but they were unable to hold their one-point lead late in the 4th quarter. Five players earned green grades, led by CB DeAndre Elliot (+1.8) and DE Martavius Foster (+1.6, one hit, one hurry). LB SteveO Michel (+1.4) also played well with all five of his tackles being stops and also contributing a hit and a hurry on his 12 pass rush attempts.
RG Fred Zerblis (+3.9)
WR Rashard Higgins (+3.2)
TE Nolan Peralta (+2.4)
QB Nick Stevens (+2.2)
RT Sam Carlson (+2.0)