Nevada looked to be in control of this one when they scored a touchdown coming out of half time to run the lead to 21-7. However, the Nevada defense went flat in the second half and couldn't stop the Red Raider offense. This resulted in the two teams trading scores until Texas Tech was able to complete a 4th down attempt for a go-ahead score with 30 seconds left in the game. After 4 plays from Nevada that each left a lot to be desired, the game was over.
Couch Ault stuck to his promise to play both his quarterbacks alternating them throughout the game even mid-series. Tyler Lantrip (11/18 191 yds 1 TD) did well throwing the ball for the majority of the game, but struggled as a runner running for only 17 yds on 7 carries. Cody Fajardo (4/6 59 yds 1 TD), on the other hand, ran for 139 and 2 TDs on 10 carries, including a run of 56 yards. The Nevada offense ran smoothly in this game with the play it recieved from the QB position and from newly minted starting running back Mike Ball (27 carries 139 yds), as they compiled 562 total yards on the game. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, they were unable to finish.
It's looking like the dual quarterback look is here to stay for Nevada. When asked about how his QBs looked in the Saturday's game, Ault had this to say:
"I was really pleased by both of them," Ault said. "I thought they did an outstanding job of managing the offense. That’s the first and probably most important thing. I thought they both executed in terms of what we were trying to do with each one of them. They’ll both be a part of this offense. Both of them will play this Saturday. Regardless of what’s going to happen, they both have to be an integral part of this offense."
Ault went on to say this about Tyler Lantrip:
"Let me tell you this. So we’re all clear," Ault said. "Whether Tyler Lantrip is the starter or not, Tyler Lantrip will play this year. We have invested in him. He has invested in us. He’s going to be a part of our offense all year long, whether that is as a starter, full-time starter, backup, it doesn’t matter. He’s not going away because I don’t want him going away. He has a lot of value."
I'm fine with this for now, mostly because it helps ease Fajardo into the starting job and reduces the pressure on him right away, but I'd like to see him getting the majority of looks as soon as possible. It sounds like the eventual plan might be to give Fajardo most of the work, with Lantrip brought in occasionally in certain situations or for a different look.
Ault was "sick" after the game, so he didn't attend the usual press conference. On Monday at a team luncheon, however, a booster asked him to elaborate on some of the touchier topics from Saturday's game. One thing you have to hand Ault is he is that he's a terrific quote, as he is usually very candid when addressing the media. The above link covers his responses about a number of issues the Pack had on Saturday, such as the shuffling of the QBs, the play of some specific units, and settling for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down during the 4th quarter (I personally thought it was the right move at the time, especially after getting stopped on one earlier in the game).
Another topic discussed was the questionable clock management late in the game. Late in the fourth, when Texas Tech was on its way into the end zone via the 4th down conversion, Ault elected to save his timeouts and let the clock wind down to 36 seconds. It turned out he didn't even use a timeout after Nevada went on to throw three incomplete passes and get sacked in the ensuing series.
By this time in the game I had ended up chatting with a Boise fan sitting next to me (I was at a sports book) so I didn't really notice it at the time, but as I was driving home it hit me at how awful the clock management was there at the end. While Ault is praiseworthy for a number of things as a coach, there are times where his in-game management skills have been extremely suspect (in my opinion, at least). This is another of those times where I was left scratching my head wondering just what the hell Ault was thinking in that situation. To his credit, he admitted regret for not using a timeout in the situation, but it was some truly awful clock management for an experienced coach.
And it doesn't get any easier this coming week. Bring on Boise.
This Week: @ Boise State 11:30 am PST (Saturday)
Bryant Moniz (30/40 424 yds 7 TDs) went off in the first half of this game before sitting the final half. That's right folks, Moniz compiled those stats in just one half of play. The 7 touchdowns ties the NCAA record for TD passes in a half, and the 424 yds was good enough for eighth best on the season. He basically put up numbers some QBs only dream of putting up for a whole game...in one half. Not surprisingly, he was named WAC offensive player of the week.
This week, California QB Ikaika Woolsey accepted a scholarship offer from Hawaii. Currently a student of the City College of San Francisco, he had the opportunity to be the starting QB for the school this season, but declined in order to accept the offer from UH. He will have 5 years of eligibility.
This Week: @ Louisiana Tech 4:00 pm PST (Saturday)
Fresno State Bulldogs
The Fresno State football program finally found some consistency this past Saturday against Idaho in the team's WAC opener. Derek Carr (24/37 371 yds 5 TD 2 INT) finally provided the breakout game fans have been hoping for. This is a performance the Bulldogs really needed, and they'll be hoping its gets their team rolling after a sluggish start.
"This is an exciting football team," said (Coach Pat) Hill. "We made great improvements. We've been on the road three of the last four weeks. Now we get to come home for a three-game stand. The next two games in Fresno are on national TV against a team from the SEC and a top-five team in the country [in Boise State]."
"Get your popcorn and come out and watch this team play. Because if you want to be on the national stage, you've got a chance to be back as a city Saturday night against Mississippi."
Have to love the enthusiasm from Coach Hill there. Hill went on to praise the play of the offensive line, which had been shaky after some key injuries, so aside from Carr's performance that's another good sign for the team.
I misspoke in my post last week in saying the welfare scandal would likely mean NCAA sanctions, for which bluesyourdaddy promptly corrected me. Reb1 had it in his post, but I glossed over it since I was in a hurry to get the post done. So for those who also did not know, the scandal may not end up in sanctions for the football program since the players were not directly paid for their membership on the team. This is still pretty up in the air though, and only time will tell how this affects the program. For now, play continues without us knowing who the players are that were involved, or what their futures will hold.
This Week: Ole Miss 6:15 pm PST (Saturday)