The Wolf Pack defeated the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels 51-20, defending the Fremont Cannon while also gaining bowl eligibility for the fourth straight year.
Nevada got off to a hot start in the first quarter. Despite the run game only producing 11 yards on the ground, quarterback Carson Strong ended the quarter 13-14 with 127 passing yards and one touchdown to tight end Cole Turner. This move helped the team gain 10 points in the process thanks in part to a 52 yard field goal by kicker Brandon Talton. The defense was also helping the cause, as they held the Rebels to only 16 yards of offense and 4:43 of possession time. After the first 12 minutes of play, the Wolf Pack led 10-0.
The second quarter played out similarly to the first for the team. Although the run game was still having a quiet night, Strong continued to have his way with the Rebels’ defense. Despite throwing an interception during the quarter, Strong threw for 105 yards and one touchdown to wide receiver Romeo Doubs, leading the team to 10 more points. On the other side of the ball, the defense also continued to dominate UNLV. The Rebels did begin to find their footing, but thanks to a sack from defensive end Kameron Toomer, an interception by defensive back JoJuan Claiborne and two, three and outs by the defense as a whole, the Wolf Pack prevented the Rebels from scoring for the second straight quarter. Going into halftime, Nevada led 20-0.
Nevada continued their first-half performance in the third quarter. Strong had another dominant quarter, putting up 138 more passing yards with a drive that consisted of 10 yard, 24 yard and 31 yard consecutive passing plays. Strong also had two touchdowns to Turner and wide receiver Tory Holton. Complimenting the offensive production, the defense added to the effort thanks to a pick six by defensive back Tyson Williams. However, in the later part of the quarter, the Rebels were able to get their first points thanks to a passing touchdown by UNLV quarterback Cameron Friel to wide receiver Kyle Williams. Despite the touchdown, Nevada led 41-7 going into the final 12 minutes.
The fourth quarter was a mixed performance from the Wolf Pack. After allowing a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown after a muffed kickoff, the Rebels seemed to be making a comeback. However, thanks to a 5:43 possession ending with a field goal by Talton, another pick six by linebacker Daiyan Henley and three more sacks by the defense, the team was able to hold off the Rebels’ advances. In the end, the Wolf Pack came out on top 51-20, defending the Fremont Cannon.
With this win, the Wolf Pack earned bowl eligibility for the fourth straight year in a row. The program has the chance to play in bowls such as the Los Angeles Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, SoFi Hawai’i Bowl, Arizona Bowl, New Mexico Bowl and the Tropical Smoothie Cafė Frisco Bowl thanks to the Mountain West Conference and its bowl tie-ins. Bowl announcements will take place on Sunday, Dec. 5.
The team is now 6-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Wolf Pack’s next game is on Nov. 6, where they will take on conference rival San Jose State at home.
Derek Raridon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush