After being taken to overtime against Cal Poly Mustangs but still winning, the Nevada Wolf Pack looked to find a way to defeat a hungry Notre Dame Fighting Irish that lost to Texas in double overtime last week.
The last time both of these teams faced each other was in September of 2009, which the was at Notre Dame and the Wolf Pack lost 35-0 in that game. At that time, former Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick and LB Brandon Marshall were on the same team.
This time around it was Tyler Stewart at quarterback and he was having an off day against a tough Fighting Irish defense that held the Wolf Pack to less than 100 yards rushing and just over 200 yards passing. Stewart couldn’t throw his passes to his open targets and overthrew his wide receivers as well.
His interception was costly mistake in the second quarter as he tried throwing a pass intended to James Butler for a screen pass that was intercepted by Jarron Jones to Nevada’s 4-yard line. That interception eventually lead to a touchdown for the Fighting Irish to increase their lead 18-0 against the Wolf Pack.
Stewart went 10-23 passing for 113 yards and giving up one interception. The Fighting Irish held Wolf Pack’s top receivers like Wyatt Demps, Andrew Celis, and Jerico Richardson to less than 100 yards receiving and six catches. Running back James Butler was the most reliable target in the game with four catches for 48 yards. Stewart is going to need to be more consistent and see him improve in his next game which will be against easier competition vs. Buffalo.
The Wolf Pack’s special teams was the decisive factor in the loss to Notre Dame. During one of the kickoffs in the second quarter, Ahki Muhammad stepped out of the end zone before kneeling down and was called on safety to give the Fighting Irish a 11-0 lead over the Wolf Pack.
That moment Muhhammad will never forget in his football career. That play really hurt the Wolf Pack’s chances of getting back in the game and gave the Fighting Irish increased momentum. The Fighting Irish would score 25 straight points and shutdown the Wolf Pack in the first half to make the score 25-0.
The defensive side of the ball for the Wolf Pack really stepped up from last week. The Wolf Pack only gave up 239 yards rushing against the Fighting Irish, which was better than last week when they gave up over 350 yards to the Caly Poly Mustangs. In the first and fourth quarters, the Wolf Pack didn’t give up any points and forced two three-and-outs to the young explosive Fighting Irish offense.
The Irish ultimately won 39-10.
The two players that stood out on defense for the Wolf Pack was Gabe Swell and Kendall Johnson. Gabe Swell racked up nine tackles and two tackles for loss. Kendall Johnson intercepted DeShone Kizer and broke up a couple of passes in the game. The defense was just put in bad situations against the Fighting Irish.
The Wolf Pack had positive and negatives takeaways in this game against the Fighting Irish. Tyler Stewart didn’t look like himself, special teams didn’t do their job, but the defense was much more improved.
The next game for the Wolf Pack will be against the Buffalo Bulls from the Mid-American Conference at Mackay Stadium on Sept 17. The last game these teams played against each other was at Buffalo and the Wolf Pack won, 24-21.