In the first game of the season, in what was really a preseason game, the Nevada Wolf Pack defeated the UC Davis Aggies 31-17. Don Jackson was electric on the ground as he carried the ball 13 times for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Stewart also impressed in his debut as starting quarterback. As he went 13/20 for 163 yards along with a touchdown passto Jarred Gipson and a rushing touchdown
The Wold Pack won the toss and deferred, so the Aggies got the ball for the first drive. A notable omission from the starting lineup was DT Rykeem Yates. Yates was dressed, but did not enter until later for unknown reasons. The defense struggled to start without him, as UC Davis had no trouble running the ball. UC Davis was its own enemy on their first drive, as they shot themselves in the foot with both penalties and having to take two of their three timeouts. After being stopped on third down, the Aggies went for it on fourth down, but were stopped short by LB Bryan Lane.
On their first possesion, the Wolf Pack offense came out firing on all cylinders. Don Jackson laws explosive out of the backfield on a few run plays that set up the pass. Stewart then took a shot in the end zone for Hasaan Henderson, who couldn't make the catch, but did draw a pass interference penalty. The flag set up the Pack at the two, and a few plays lasted, Jackson blasted the ball into the end zone to give Nevada the 7-0 lead.
UC Davis was again able to mount a drive against Nevada, but it stalled around the Nevada 40 and ended with a drop on third down. With the ball back in Stewart's hands, he brought the Wolf Pack back into the red zone, which set up a great run by Don Jackson around the edge and into the end zone to give the Wolf Pack a 14-0 lead.
Later in the second corner, Stewart found TE Jarred Gipson in the end zone for the first passing touchdown in the post-Fajardo era. UC Davis finally got on the board with a field goal before the end of the half.
The Wold Pack received the second half kick, but struggled to get the offense going in the third quarter. James Butler came in at running back, and while he wasn't as exciting as Jackson, he was able to pick up solid chunks of yardage. Stewart looked to be trying to throw it too hard in the second half, which lead to some drops by a few receivers including Jerico Richardson and Hasaan Henderson.
Nevada was also hit with injuries in the third quarter, as wide receivers Brayden Sanchez and Hasaan Henderson both
left with lower-body injuries. Henderson did return later in the game.
On the final drive of the third quarter, Nevada drove the ball inside the 10, but was forced to settle for a field goal.
The Aggies were finally able to mount a drive into Nevada territory, and managed to put their first touchdown on the board with a quick slant into the endzone. The Nevada secondary was badly exposed during the entire drive, even with pressure on the quarterback. Davis was able to move the ball with short passes and screens, and the Wolf Pack DB's showed little desire to jump routes or even play aggresive.
Davis attempted an onside kick, but Nevada recovered the ball with just over 6 minutes left. The Pack needed a big drive to put Davis away, and James Butler stepped up with a big first-down run. Two plays later, Stewart kept the ball on the option and juked the Davis defender to the ground on his way to the end zone to effectively put the game away for Nevada.
With the game in hand, Brian Polian subbed in freshman QB Hunter Fralick. Fralick went 0/3, but not much is expected in the fourth quarter of a blowout.
Davis scored a touchdown in garbage time to bring the score to 31-17, which would be the final.
Overall, I was impressed with the offense, as I thought that Don Jackson was fantastic, and Tyler Stewart seems fully capable of being a quality quarterback. The defense ice performance was a bit concerning, however. Many times they were bailed out by drops or just bad plays by Davis. The secondary really struggled at times, and the defensive line had issues stopping the run at certain points. It will definitely need to improve with a good Arizona team coming in next week.