Mackay Stadium was the sight of something Nevada fans haven’t seen in over five months — a football game as the Blue squad was able to defeat the Silver squad 40-26 in the annual Silver and Blue scrimmage to end spring football.
“That was a good day,” Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian said. “We got some good work done and had a little bit of fun, we came out healthy. I’m pleased with it.”
The main storyline coming into this game was the ongoing quarterback competition between junior Tyler Stewart, redshirt sophomore Dante Mayes and redshirt freshman Hunter Fralick. With the man who these three are looking to replace in attendance, each member of the trio each got his chance to impress.
In the end, Fralick emerged as the most impressive while taking the opening reps with the number one offense. The Reno native completed 8-of-9 passes for 62 yards and displayed his mobility on a few read option keepers.
“I think as a unit today we did really well,” Fralick said. “We got the ball where it needed to go for the most part, obviously there are plays that we want to have back, but for the most part we did well. Personally I did my job, I did what I needed to do.”
Stewart, the only man in the group with starting experience ,completed 5-of-11 passes for 49 yards while throwing an interception. Mayes completed 3-of-4 passes for 36 yards.
With the quarterbacks getting their feet wet, coach Polian emphasized the run, with the two-headed monster that consists of senior Don Jackson and sophomore James Butler stealing the show. Jackson had six carries for 21 yards while Butler carried the ball seven times for 70 yards and a touchdown.
“I think it went really well today,” Butler said. “The offense had a strong coming out and the defense played really well, I felt like during the spring we all got better.”
Although the offense had its moments, the defense was really the star of the game. The Blue team was constantly pressuring the quarterback and making it almost impossible for the running backs to pick up any big runs.
“This defensive line is probably the best in the conference, I am comfortable saying that,” Fralick said. “Working against them all spring and in the summer it will really benefit us in the fall when the lights come on and it’s for real.”
The defense was able to get sacks from Patrick Choudja, Jordan Silva and Lenny Jones. The team also got interceptions from big defensive tackles Rakeem Yates and Jake Lacaden while always keeping the offense on its toes.
Another factor of the game that isn’t usually mentioned is special teams, but the Wolf Pack saw a good performance from its kicker Brent Zuzo. The junior, who struggled with consistency last season, was able to hit two field goals from 45 yards, including one at the end of the game with every member of the defensive lining up to try and fake the kicker out.
This was the fans’ first opportunity to get a look at the 2015 Nevada Wolf Pack. Nevada will open up its season by taking on UC Davis on Sept. 3 inside the newly renovated Mackay Stadium.
“We were very vanilla on both sides of the ball,” Polian said. “I think that makes life a little better for them so they can just go run around and have a little bit of fun.”
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.