Tomorrow night the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1) kick off their third game of the 2022 campaign against the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-1). The visiting team, hailing from the Mountain West, are coming to Iowa City as heavy underdogs according to most betting sites. But there’s still plenty to unpack when it comes to the Wolfpack.

  1. Bigger is better?

Well, sort of. Nevada quarterback Nate Cox stands at a mountain-high 6-foot-9. Last year he became the tallest quarterback in college football when he made his first career start at the Quick Lane Bowl. Now he’s set to make his third start as a fifth year senior. What have the results shown?

In his second career start last week, Cox tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions against Incarnate Word, while also adding a score on the ground. He totaled over 300 yards through the air which is the most for a Nevada quarterback not named Carson Strong in three seasons.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz talked about the challenge of facing a quarterback of Cox’s size:

“It’s just strange to see a quarterback of that height. The guy plays well, though. He really plays well. That was kind of the talk of December back when he started in the bowl game. It was kind of the talk, like a 6’9″ quarterback. That’s the first time I heard about it.”

2. Long time?

For Nevada, this is their first time facing a Big Ten team since 2019, it was a game they ended up winning. The Wolf Pack hosted Purdue and pulled off a 34-31 upset, which included a 10-point run in the final 52 seconds of the game. The matchup with Iowa is surprisingly just the fourth time Nevada will face a Big Ten opponent. They’re 1-2 all time with losses to Wisconsin in 1993 and Purdue in 2016.

3. Fresh Blood

Head coach Ken Wilson took over the reins of Nevada late in 2021 after spending time with the program in different roles for 19 years. He also spent time in the Pac-12 coaching Oregon as a co-defensive coordinator from 2019-21. The Ducks reached a conference title in 2020, where Wilson’s defense stifled No. 13 USC to just 38 rushing yards.

Is the Wolf Pack defense of the same caliber? Well, they allowed 55 points to Incarnate Word last week, but they held Texas State and New Mexico State to a combined 26 points in the first two contests. We’ll see how they fare against an Iowa offense that has scored 14 points through 2 games.

4. Lethal Weapons

Nevada’s best player is arguably their running back Toa Taua, who can do it all for the Wolf Pack. He’s amassed over 4,000 all-purpose yards over his five-year career, and he’s closing in on 1,000 total receiving yards (924). Last weekend, the California native scored both on the ground and through the air, with a 26-yard TD reception and an 11-yard rumble. He’s registered two 100-yard performances thus far.

Their second string back isn’t too shabby either. Devonte Lee has four scores to his name this season, including one in every game. The ground game is without question on the radar of Hawkeye defensive coordinator Phil Parker.

5. Ball Hawks?

They’re not the “dough boyz” but Nevada’s ability to force turnovers has posed an issue to their opponents. Their 11 takeaways have led to nine scores for Nevada, including six touchdowns. And it’s not just intercepting passes through the air, four of those turnovers have been forced fumbles.

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