PASADENA, Calif. –- As far as Week 1 challenges go, the Bruins could be in for a big one with Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo -– a dual-threat athlete with a favorable history of picking on Pac-12 teams.
With 20 career starts, and his favorite wide receiver from last year, Brandon Wimberly, coming back, look for Fajardo to have another strong season. In fact, using ESPN’s adjusted QBR rating, Fajardo ranked 18th in the country last year in efficiency, 10 spots ahead of Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez, a “bigger name” quarterback the Bruins will see in a couple of weeks.
Against two Pac-12 teams last year (Cal and Arizona) he completed 74 percent of his throws (47 of 63) and rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
First-year head coach Brian Polian is sure to bring a little of what he learned the last few years at Texas A&M and Stanford. But second-year offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich is pretty much running the show on offense.
Look for a lot of the same pistol/read-option principles we’ve seen from Nevada over the last decade. Keep an eye on UCLA left OLBs Aaron Wallace and Myles Jack, who should rotate a lot playing opposite Anthony Barr. Having to set edges against Fajardo will be very beneficial when they have to do it in two weeks against Martinez.