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Nevada Football: Wolf Pack fall to Utah State 31-27 in epic collapse

Nevada blows a 20 point lead to Utah State in the second half in the ugliest way possible.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

What an epic collapse by the Nevada Wolf Pack today.

The Wolf Pack were playing excellent after one half of play and seemed to be picking up where they left off at the start of the third quarter when James Butler (17 rushes, 139 yards and 2 touchdowns) ran 60 yards for his second touchdown of the game to give Nevada a 27-7 lead. But then, the wheels fell off for Nevada as Utah State scored 24 unanswered points and utterly dominated the Wolf Pack in the second half on their way to a 31-27 victory over Nevada. With the win, the Aggies move to 6-5 and become bowl eligible while the Wolf Pack drop to 6-5 and see their hopes of playing for the Mountain West title go up in flames.

It started well for Nevada early when they got on the board first after Wolf Pack linebacker Jordan Dobrich intercepted a Kent Myers pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Wolf Pack a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, the Wolf Pack scored again on a four play, 21-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard touchdown run by Wolf Pack quarterback Tyler Stewart. After that touchdown, the Wolf Pack kicked off to Utah State where Hunter Sharpe returned it 96 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7 Nevada.

Then, the Aggies dominated after Butler's second touchdown run when in the third quarter Aggies running back Devante Mayes (22 rush, 133 yards, 2 touchdowns) scored on a five-yard touchdown run to cut the Wolf Pack lead to 27-14. After a Wolf Pack punt, the Aggies got the ball back and Devante Mayes displayed some tough running in a six play, 68-yard drive that was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Mayes to make it 27-21

Nevada. In the fourth quarter, the Wolf Pack had the ball at their own one-yard line when Tyler Stewart fumbled the snap in the endzone and was recovered by Aggies linebacker Kyler Fackrell for the touchdown to give the Aggies the 28-27 lead. Nevada had a chance to retake the lead in the final minutes of the game but could not convert on third and fourth down when they only needed one yard.

After the Wolf Pack turned the ball over on downs, the Aggies tacked on a field goal to make it 31-27. The Wolf Pack had one more chance to win the game late but that fell short as the Wolf Pack blew a 20-point lead for the first time since the 2012 New Mexico Bowl against Arizona when they let a 20-point lead slip away and fell to the Wild Cats 49-48 in the last game coached by Wolf Pack legend Chris Ault.

All in all, Nevada embarrassed themselves with their second half performance. Utah State physically dominated the Wolf Pack and they had no answer to stop it. To say the Nevada passing game was nonexistent would be a compliment and even though James Butler became the first Wolf Pack running back to rush for four straight 100 yard games since 2012, his performance was wasted by a lack of a passing game. This loss was more embarrassing than the UNLV and the Wyoming games due to the Wolf Pack having a lead and giving that away.

Now the Wolf Pack are out of the picture for the western division of the Mountain West conference and yes they are bowl eligible but if they turn in another flat performance like they did in the second half next week, I don't see any Wolf Pack fan being excited about going to a bowl game dropping their last two games in an ugly fashion. Let's see if the Wolf Pack can right the ship and play with some pride in the season finale against San Diego State.