The Nevada Wolf Pack traveled to San Marcos, Texas to take on the Texas State University Bobcats on Sept. 23, losing 35-24 after allowing 35 unanswered points in the second half.
The game started with promise for the Wolf Pack, as they held a lengthy 5:33 scoring drive. Brendon Lewis, Nevada quarterback, and Ashton Hayes, Nevada running back, led the efficient rushing attack. However, the drive stalled in the red zone, and Nevada settled for a field goal to take their first lead of the season at 3-0.
Nevada’s defense stepped up early, with rookie cornerback KK Meier intercepting a pass and returning it for a 98-yard pick-six. Despite allowing Texas State to reach the Nevada 13-yard line, The Pack was off to their best start of the year as they took a 10-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Nevada extended their lead to 17-0 when they led a 14-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that took 6:55 off the clock. The drive was highlighted by strong running plays from Lewis and Sean Dollars, running back. A 24-yard pass from Lewis to Isaiah Essissima, wide receiver, set up the Pack with first and goal at the five.
Texas State’s drives ensued in the same half, the Pack’s defense showed resilience. Ismail Mahdi, Texas State running back, gashed the defensive line for multiple runs over 20 yards, caused back-to-back face mask penalties and gave the Bobcats 30 free yards. However, Nevada produced key plays to end Wyoming’s drive like a forced fumble and two fourth-down stops inside the redzone.
With 13 seconds left in the first half, Texas State intercepted Lewis, but the Pack maintained a 17-0 lead at halftime.
The second half took a sharp turn as Texas State mounted a comeback. The Bobcat offense came out with a vengeance on their opening drive of the second half, consistently gaining first downs through the air and ground game effortlessly. The drive culminated with their first touchdown, a 25-yard pass from TJ Finley, Texas State quarterback, to Joey Hobert, Texas State wide receiver, and narrowed the gap to 17-7.
Despite holding a ten-point lead, Nevada’s offense struggled with three-and-outs. Ceasing the opportunity, with the ball at the Texas State 23-yard line Finley immediately cashed in on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Kole Wilson, Texas State wide receiver, making it a 17-14 game.
With the pressure on offense, Dollars ripped off a 20-yard run on the first play of the drive to set up the Pack at midfield. Not long after, Nevada’s offense faced more trouble when Cross Patton, Nevads running back, fumbled and gave the ball right back to Texas State. Mahdi’s 46-yard touchdown run put the Bobcats ahead 21-17, marking the first time Nevada trailed in the game.
The Wolf Pack couldn’t recover as Texas State continued to dominate on both sides of the ball. The Bobcat defense forced a fumble on their own 25-yard line with 12:17 in the fourth, leading to their offense scoring another touchdown, a 36-yard run by Mahdi.
Mahdi got his third rushing touchdown off of a 13-yard run after the Nevada offense failed to convert on 4th down at their own 33-yard line, extending Texas State’s lead to 35-17.
With less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, Nevada managed to score a touchdown with backup quarterback AJ Bianco. But it was too little, too late, as the Pack fell to the Bobcats 35-24.
With this loss, the Nevada Wolf Pack dropped to 0-4 on the season and extended their losing streak to 14 games, the longest in college football.
The Wolf Pack’s next challenge is on Sept. 27, when they will travel to Fresno, Calif. to face the No. 25 Fresno State Bulldogs at 7:30 pm.
James Wolfgang Perez can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RaridonDerek