The Bullet Points
- If you happened to watch the Wolf Pack game on Reno’s NBC affiliate KRNV, you might have seen Nevada’s only successful touchdown drive of the game interrupted by a commercial for Easy Rooter. Ty Gangi came in off the bench, threw a laser to Andrew Celis, who turned upfield with lots of green in front of him, and then…plumbing commercial. It even started skipping at the exact moment an image of water circling down a drain was on the screen. Fun with metaphors! At least KRNV finally cut back to the game in time for Jaxson Kincaide’s first career touchdown. Be thankful the game was already way out of reach at that point, and as for whatever frustration you still might have? Try not to take it out on a local business that had nothing to do with someone in a TV control room falling asleep at the wheel.
- Luckily (quotation marks optional there), that was only the second- or third-most embarrassing moment of the game. Those moments contributed to a 39-10 loss that was equal parts frustrating and unsurprising. Playing every bit like a multi-score underdog, Nevada threw some legitimately surprising offensive quirks at the Fighting Irish on their first series of the game. Triple option plays? Ty Gangi and Asauni Rufus at quarterback? Why the heck not? After the Pack came up scoreless on that drive, however, Notre Dame’s defense evidently asked “Is that all you’ve got?” and Nevada responded “Um…pretty much, yeah.” Like their opening game, Nevada got off to a promising start, but soon found themselves in a much deeper hole than they did last week. This was thanks in part to Notre Dame’s superior offense, the Pack’s own decidedly un-superior offense, and some truly infuriating miscues on special teams. The game was out of Nevada’s hands pretty early on — the only difference being that a full-on bloodbath a la Florida State never quite took shape (thank you, Malik Zaire). It was less like the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones and more like watching a fat guy force all of the air out of a raft by sitting on it. And unless you were betting at a place with a 28- or 30-point spread on this game, the ten points they finished with were basically meaningless.
- With all of that said, I’m keeping my skepticism in a holding pattern this week. While my mood on Nevada football and its coach were not improved by what I saw, claiming the program is further down from where it was before wouldn’t be entirely fair. Yeah, the game mostly stunk, but what did we expect, really? The Pack were outmanned and out-talented by a team that basically could’ve picked their margin of victory, and it’s hard to draw much from this game that we didn’t already know. No one left on the rest of the schedule — save for maaaaaybe San Diego State — has what Notre Dame has. But with that discrepancy will come justifiably higher expectations for success.
- That shift begins this week. Games against Buffalo and Purdue will tell us a lot more about where the team stands. Win them both, and they’re right where I figured they would be back in August. And in some ways, the Bulls could offer the Pack a cure for exactly what’s ailing them. Buffalo really did lose to an FCS team in their first game, and even if they had won, it still wouldn’t have been pretty. Although they out-gained Albany by 165 yards and nearly doubled their first downs (23 to 12), they were ultimately doomed by four turnovers in the 22-16 defeat. Where are my turnover margin fans at?! Throw in a cross-country flight this week, and you have the potential makings of a rebound for the good guys. Correct even half the mistakes of the first two games and I think there will be a fairly comfortable Wolf Pack win. Pre-season guess: Nevada 35, Buffalo 21. New prediction: Nevada 38, Buffalo 17.
- After catching some of the Tennessee-Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, I will never, ever complain about the track around Chris Ault Field again. And when I say “never,” that’s a filthy lie, because OF COURSE I will complain about it at some point. But still, perspective is always helpful. “I was part of the biggest crowd in college football history! I’ll always remember that magic moment when a dot that I think was my favorite player smashed into a different-colored dot super-hard! The MVP of that game was my optometrist!”
Butternuts Moo Thunder Milk Stout (Garrattsville, NY) ~ Normally, I would link to the brewery at the start of this segment, but the web site for this one is so gratingly annoying, I refuse to bring them the traffic. Imagine a fifth grader with a weird affinity for Flash animation, cartoon sound effects and poop jokes with a ton of free time on their hands, and presto! You’ve just created the Butternuts web site without even trying. Poor web design aside, a milk stout gets its name from lactose, a type of sugar commonly found in milk. It adds a light sweetness to a finished beer thanks to its inability to be fermented with the other ingredients. The version from Butternuts poured off black with a small, light tan head smelling faintly of roasted malts. Its taste was mildly sweet cocoa and those same roasted malts, and ended with a barely perceptible bitterness. The whole thing was very mild and inoffensive, to the point that it didn’t really work for me. While not outright terrible, I’ve had much better milk stouts from other places. Try an Outlaw from Great Basin or Left Hand’s milk stout for a much better take on the style. I give this one two and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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