In a tough contest, Nevada fell to the University of Hawai’i 54-3 in their homecoming game on Saturday. It was the most lopsided home loss for the Pack since they lost 55-0 to Santa Clara on Oct. 22, 1950.
Despite not being used to the chilly weather that lingered in Reno, Hawai’i dominated the game. The Pack won the coin toss and deferred to Hawai’i, giving the Warriors the first possession. The Warriors scored the only points of the first quarter after quarterback Cole McDonald completed at 36-yard pass to Cedric Byrd II for the touchdown. Kicker Ryan Meskell’s attempt was successful following the touchdown.
Carson Strong started at quarterback but struggled during the first quarter with only three first downs totaling 36-yards. Romeo Doubs, Elijah Cooks, Melquan Stovall and Kaleb Fossum each caught one pass from Strong. The longest of these passes connected with Doubs for 21 yards.
At the top of the second quarter, Hawai’i’s Fred Holly III rushed for 24-yards setting up a McDonald touchdown pass to Byrd II, giving Hawai’i a 14 point lead.
On the ensuring Nevada drive, the Nevada offense again went three and out. An unsuccessful pass to Fossum forced a fourth down, ending the offense’s effort. Punter Quinton Conaway’s punt was then blocked by Hawai’i’s Andrew Choi. The blocked punt was recovered by Justice Augafa in the endzone giving Hawai’i another score.
The next scoring drive opened with a Miles Reed rush for a loss of two yards after being taken down by Nevada’s Hausia Sekona and Kameron Toomer. McDonald erased the negative play, throwing for 30-yards to Jason Sharsh. An incomplete throw to Hawai’i’s Jared Smart was insignificant as a pass interference call was called against Nevada’s Daniel Brown, giving Hawai’i a first down. Reed scampered nine yards to the end zone, giving Hawai’i a 28-0 lead over the Pack with just under six minutes left in the half.
Senior quarterback Cristian Solano came into the game following the Warriors touchdown and pushed Nevada into Hawai’i territory. Unfortunately for the Pack, Solano couldn’t cap off the drive with a touchdown.
Freshman kicker Brandon Talton put the Pack on the board with a 36-yard field goal on that final drive of the half. His record remains flawless at 10-10 on field-goal attempts in his career at Nevada. This was the only score of the night for the Wolf Pack.
Not content with being up 25 points, Hawai’i struck again before the end of the half. The Warriors offense pulled a fumblerooski just before half time. A fumblerooski is a trick play designed to confuse the opposing defense if the play is still going or not. The successful trick resulted in a 29-yard gain for Byrd II, helping to set up a Hawai’i field-goal to close the half.
Hawai’i led the Pack at the half 31-3 and kept its foot on the gas pedal.
The third quarter opened with Taua rushing for six yards to Nevada’s 31-yard line. Two plays of minimal gain followed the Taua run, resulting in a three and out for the Pack offense.
Two more McDonald touchdown passes capped off the quarter, giving Hawai’i a 45-3 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
During the fourth quarter, the Warriors added nine more points to their lead.
A botched long snap sent the football flying over Conaway’s head leading to a safety against Nevada, tacking on two more points to Hawai’i’s heavy lead.
Hawai’i then subbed in quarterback Justin Uahinui on the ensuing drive. Uahinui threw a 14-yard touchdown to wide receiver Robert Funkhouser to close out the match.
Nevada totaled 203 yards and 16 first downs compared to Hawai’i’s 512-yards and 26 first downs.
Punter Quinton Conaway has now kicked for a total of 999-yards on the season.
Strong and Solano both had one interception, while Taua rushed for 72-yards on the night. He leads the team with 269 rushing yards this season.
Cooks was the leading receiver on the night with five catches for a total of 38-yards. Emany Johnson had nine tackles while Mar’Quette Jackson followed close behind with seven.
The Wolf Pack now enter the BYE week standing at 3-2 on the year. Nevada returns to action on Oct. 12, when they’ll host San Jose State at Mackay Stadium.
Madeleine Chinery can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.