It’s been 296 days since you last played the Nevada Wolf Pack in the popular Idaho Potato Bowl on January 2.
The extended delay did not disappoint with an additional 37-34 win over the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday at Mackay Stadium.
Nevada coughed 28-6 third-quarter advantage. Wyoming scored 22 goals unanswered and tied in the competition in 28 with 8:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After 34-31 in extra time, Nevada faced its first and goal on the nine-yard streak. Nevada’s Carson Strong fired a nine-yard pass to Romeo Dobbs, clinching his victory in the opening game of the season.
This marked the second consecutive extra-time competition in Nevada at Mackay Stadium. The latter was in a 33-30 loss versus an in-country competitor UNLV.
“We were saddened by the worst kind of road against UNLV last year,” Strong said. “To be able to overcome that hunchback and win the game in overtime after losing to UNLV last year, it feels really good.”
Only a maximum of 250 family members of students and training staff were permitted to be in the stands tonight.
Nevada coach Jay Norville detailed the unique environment.
“It was different,” said Norville. “Almost everything we do is different than usual. We challenged our team and the coaching staff to anticipate this. We wanted to keep our energy and focus on the field.”
“I think, for the most part, we did a good job on it … The atmosphere will be different every week we play. It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t like a normal game where we had more fans there, but I think our guys enjoyed being there on the field.” .
The Wolfpack crime scored 496 yards and 25 first landings. Strong had a career night – going of 39 to 52 with a career 420-yard high and four touchdowns. Complete passes for nine different receivers.
With no start sprinting back to Toa Taua, Devonte Lee’s reserve totaled 65 yards on 18 wagons (3.6 ypc). Real freshman Avery Morrow totaled 23 yards at three carts – including a fast 18 yards on his second career attempt.
Cole Turner had his career best 119 yards – a high team – at seven receptions with two touchdowns. Doubs finished with a 12-team high grab for 117 yards with a touchdown. Real new student Tory Horton rode in two receptions for 40 yards and landings.
Norville praised the makers’ performances after the match.
“We had nine different players catching the ball,” said Norville. “This is difficult to defend when the ball is spread around this much.”
“We are not necessarily interested in having stars. We want playmakers. We want men who can play.”
The Pack committed three turns with 12 shocking penalties for 101 yards. Two penalty kicks brought back the touchdown, including 74 yards from the touchdown kick by Doubs and a nine-yard touchdown pass to Justin Lockhardt.
Norville expressed his frustration with his team’s lack of discipline.
“I was very disappointed in our penalties,” said Norville. “Pont’s comeback has been called again. We’ve been in a bad field position several times because of penalty kicks when kick-off … We have to make sure we’re cleaner in that area.”
Wyoming recorded 361 yards after the first round half. Cowboys mid-back Sean Chambers was knocked out with a shrapnel fracture after the third play of the game. His replacement, Levi Williams, reached 227 yards in 16 of 31 lanes with one drop and one intercept. 40 yards added dash and two drops to the ground.
The All-Mountain West team running back Xazavian Valladay finished with 87 yards quick on 22 wagons, adding seven team catches at 44 yards. Isaiah Neyor had a team height of 102 yards in three receptions.
The Wolf Pack put together an impressive first of 10-game 78-yard drive that ends at the Strong’s 26-yard connection to the new Horton at the final zone corner. Strong was a perfect 7-on-7 with 68 yards early in the season.
Wyoming junior John Hoyland – who was not on the team depth chart – scored two field goals from 26 and 36 yards on his two possessions that followed to cut the Nevada lead to 7-6.
Nevada extended their lead to 14-6 with 1:46 remaining in the first half after dropping 50 yards from Strong to Turner. Wolfpack total was 293 yards and 15 first touchdowns in the first half; Wyoming had 106 yards with four first drops. Wyoming was 1-in-8 in efficiency down the third.
Confusion aside, Strong was dominant in the first half – accounting for 253 yards and two drops as he completed 77.8 percent of his attempts. For perspective, he just had it Five games With more than 250 yards throughout the last season. Valladay only had 47 yards on 11 wagons (4.3 ypc) in the first half.
The Pack really picked where they left off to start the second half with nine games, 94 yards, finished off with an 18-yard score from Morrow.
Nevada advanced 6-28 with 3:47 to go in the third quarter. A rapid 21-yard drop by Levi Williams followed by a 22-yard touch pass to Gunner Gentry quickly cut the Nevada advance to 28-20 with a 13:13 left.
Wyoming kept his foot on the throttle, tying it at 28 with 8:30 remaining after the result of an eight-yard dash plus a two-point shift by Williams.
With just over five minutes remaining, Birddale Robbins intercepted Nevada Williams’ first defensive back. Although the beam failed to get a first time back, place agent Brandon Talton put them ahead 31-28 after attempting 21 yards.
After starting on one streak from one yard with 1:30 remaining, the Cowboys faced a field goal from 42 yards with: 28 seconds remaining. Hoyland was forced to work overtime after he switched through the lists.
The competition entered the extra-time knot at 31. Summer Hoyland scored a field goal from 38 yards – his fourth field goal in the evening – to put Wyoming ahead 34-31. After giving up zero first defeats in the fourth quarter, the Wyoming defense was unable to finish the win in overtime.
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