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Boise State defeats rival Nevada, 51-46

The Broncos withstand late rally by the Wolf Pack to take home a road victory from the Silver State

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

A crowd 0f 32,327 was on hand in Reno at sold out Mackay Stadium to watch the Nevada Wolf Pack (3-2, 1-1 MWC) take on the Boise State Broncos (4-2, 2-1 MWC) in what proved to be one of the most electrifying games of the season.

Boise State had another rugged start with a missed field goal by kicker Dan Goodale at the end of the Broncos first drive of the game. But with the help of the defense, the Broncos quickly found their footing and set the tone for the game. Wolf Pack QB Cody Fajardo passed for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also intercepted four times. The first of those interceptions allowed Boise State to jump out to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter. Fajardo would go on to turn the ball over two more times in the first half with all three leading to Broncos touchdowns. The Broncos went in at the half up 30-21.

But Nevada was far from done in spite of another Boise State score early in the third quarter. They came back swinging as Fajardo led Nevada back from a 16-point deficit. One of his plays was a 56-yard run and a 2-point conversion that cut the Boise lead to 8 late in the third quarter. The score was 37-29 then and the Wolf Pack were still within reach of victory. The Wolf Pack fans could also sense a shift in momentum on the field and erupted in the stands with their support.

But the following drive by the Broncos was a heartbreaker for Nevada fans. Boise State RB Jay Ajayi charged down the field for a 26-yard touchdown run on the very next drive. Still, the stubborn Wolf Pack never quit and battled on as they entered the fourth quarter. They again pulled to within a TD when Ian Seay intercepted one of Broncos QB Grant Hedrick‘s passes and returned it 32 yards for a score. With 14:18 left in the game the Wolf Pack was again back in business and within 8 points of the victory, trailing the Broncos 44-36.

Once again the Nevada defense couldn't stop Ajayi from taking control of the game. He charged in with a 74-yard run and then scored from 2 yards out. Still, the Wolf Pack held on and never gave up. A 12 yard TD pass from Fajardo to Jarred Gipson cut the score to 8 again, down 43- 51 with 12:04 to go in the game. Then a 45-yard field goal by Brett Zuzo at the 7:56 mark suddenly brought a grasp at a victory to within 5 points, cutting the Boise State's lead 51-46. But the Broncos were not going to be denied this night. Even though the Wolf Pack would get two more possessions they were held scoreless in their final two drives.

Nevada had their chances in spite of Fajardo’s 4 interceptions---Boise State turned the ball over three times themselves. The Broncos had 570 total yards and the Wolf Pack 462. The Broncos owe this victory to RB Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 152 yards and three touchdown runs. But Ajayi and the rest of the Broncos offense couldn’t have pulled off this win without help from the Broncos defense. They stepped up big and kept the Wolf Pack in check creating turnovers and stopping Fajardo and Company when it counted.