A crowd 0f 35,843 was on hand in Broncos Stadium to watch the Nevada Wolf Pack (3-4, 2-2 MWC) take on the Boise State Broncos (5-2, 3-1 MWC) in what proved to be a costly game to both teams. Nevada lost the game in the second half of play, and Boise State lost its starting quarterback. His return before the end the year is very unlikely.
Boise State fell behind early with Nevada’s QB Cody Fajardo, 6-2, 215 lbs, driving the length of the field on the first series setting up a for a 3-point lead with a 33 yard field goal by K Brent Zuzo, 5-10, 175 lbs. When it was Boise State’s turn at the ball, QB Joe Southwick ran on the first play that gained 8 yards, but ended up with a broken ankle that in all likelihood will end his season. Backup QB Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 200 lbs, took over at the Boise State 31-yard line and drove into Nevada territory before he was intercepted by Wolf Pack defender DE Lenny Jones, 6-3, 255 lbs, on a bobbled pass. The first quarter ended with Nevada up by 3.
Boise State was carrying the ball at the beginning of the second quarter but failed to score. When Fajardo and Company took over, they again drove the length of the field and this time RB Kendall Brock, 5-9, 195 lbs, carried it in for the score. Trailing 10-zip, the Broncos got on the board with the next possession when RB Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215 lbs, carried it in on a 9 yard run. But Nevada was not done and they added a second TD before the half ended when RB Don Jackson, 5-10, 210 lbs, charged up the Broncos middle on a 3-yard run. The Wolf Pack went in at half-time up 17-7.
The momentum began to swing to the Broncos when they received the ball at the beginning of the second half. At the end of that first drive RB Jay Ajayi found the end zone. But things still looked shaky on the Broncos sideline when kicker Dan Goodale, 5-10, 193 lbs, succumbed to the Nevada curse and failed to convert on the extra point. When it was the Wolf Pack’s turn the Broncos defense began to stiffen. They held Nevada and got the ball back. Hedrick once again took the Broncos the length of the field to set up another Ajayi run that finally gave the Broncos the lead. Ajayi went on to finish the game with his best effort of the season with 222 yards and three TD’s. And before the third quarter ended, Hedrick made a run of his own scampering 20 yards on a quarterback keeper taking the score to 27-17.
Boise State’s defense arose to the occasion and shut out the Wolf Pack in the second half. Up 27-17, the fourth quarter was like the third: all Broncos. The final points were scored when Hedrick once again called his own number and ran 14 yards for his second TD of the night, taking any remaining hope out of the Nevada bench and bringing the final score to 34-17.
Nevada certainly had their chances to pull away with a win. They led throughout the first half and chalked up 373 total yards against a Boise State team that was down by double digits at the end of the first half. And the Broncos offense was struggling under a second string quarterback. Wolf Pack QB Cody Farjado was 22 of 30 attempts for 208 yards. WR Brandon Wimberly, 6-3, 225 lbs, was responsible for 121 of those yards with 11 receptions. WR Richy Turner, 5-11, 180 lbs, had 6 catches for 54 yards, averaging 9 yards each.
In the end Nevada couldn’t match Boise State’s 557 yards of total offense. And 407 of those yards was a ground attack that tore holes in the Nevada defense. QB Hedrick and RB Ajayi accounted for 337 yards by themselves, and RB Derrick Thomas, 6-0, 207 lbs, contributed 8 runs for 48 yards. During crunch time it was WR’s Matt Miller, 6-3, 218 lbs, and Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158 lbs, who caught 5 passes each that kept the drives alive.
Next up for two teams:
Nevada is at home next Saturday to host their historic, in-state rivals, the UNLV Rebels.
Boise State is on the road to Provo, Utah for Friday night action against the BYU Cougars in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
More from Mountain West Connection:
- Joe Southwick injury update: Boise State QB has a broken ankle, could return this season
- Joe Southwick reportedly has broken ankle, likely done for the year
- Joe Southwick injury update: Reports are Boise State QB has broken ankle
- Joe Southwick injury: Boise State quarterback leaves Nevada game with ankle injury
- Week 8 Mountain West football open thread