clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nevada earns 38-27 victory over Tulane in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

New, 3 comments
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Tulane v Nevada Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

For the first time in the 21st century, the Nevada Wolf Pack will exit Boise, Idaho victorious.

Nevada earned a 38-27 victory over the Tulane Green Wave in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertsons Stadium on Tuesday. It snapped a string of 12 consecutive losses on the blue turf, which dates back to 1997. It is now 3-21 all-time in Albertsons Stadium.

In celebration, Nevada head coach Jay Norvell was showered with both french fries and Gatorade.

The Pack finish 7-2 on the season, finishing all nine scheduled games without any cancellations. The Green Wave finished 6-6 on the year. In bowl games, Nevada moves to 7-11 to Tulane’s 6-8 record.

Tuesday’s win marked Nevada’s highest scoring output of the season and its fifth 30-point performance. Tulane, who averaged 35.4 points heading into the contest, failed to reach 30 points for the fourth time in 2020.

Nevada tallied 480 total yards with 21 first downs.

The victory was led by quarterback Carson Strong, the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 22-of-28 passes for 271 yards, tying a career-high with five passing touchdowns against zero turnovers. He was named the bowl’s MVP after the game.

Devonte Lee and Toa Taua were a two-headed force in the backfield. Lee had a team-high 105 yards on 18 carries (5.8 ypc). Taua tallied 102 yards on 20 carries — including a 50-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Taua had a 44-yard touchdown — his first receiving score of 2020 — on a flea flicker, totaling a team-high six receptions for 77 receiving yards.

Cole Turner led the wideouts with six receptions for 60 yards with two touchdowns. Romeo Doubs added five catches for 42 yards. Justin Lockhart and true freshman Jamaal Bell had one touchdown apiece on their only catches of the game (Bell - 21 yards; Lockhart - 23 yards).

Tulane totaled 365 yards with 18 first downs.

True freshman signal caller Michael Pratt went 12-for-25 for 168 yards and three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) with three interceptions. He had just five interceptions coming into Tuesday.

Despite missing its two leading sack leaders in Dom Peterson (4.5) and Sam Hammond (4.0), the Pack defensive line pressured Pratt all afternoon, especially in the second half. After just one first half sack, they recorded seven second half sacks — including a four in a span of five plays in the fourth quarter. Lawson Hall, Tristan Nichols and Trevor Price all had two sacks apiece.

Nevada’s eight sacks are the most it’s had in game since recording eight versus Washington on Oct. 11, 2003.

Tulane tailback Cameron Carroll led the tailbacks with 120 yards on 10 carries and a 65-yard touchdown with seven seconds remaining. Stephon Huderson had 10 carries for 52 yards.

Jha’Quan Jackson had two catches — both for touchdowns — for a team-high 69 yards. Jaetavian Toles had a team-most five catches for 52 yards.

Nevada’s three interceptions matched its season total entering the contest. It finishes with an even turnover margin on the season.

Both teams were missing key players. Nevada was also without All-Mountain West Honorable mention defensive back BerDale Robins and defensive end Zak Mahannah.

Tulane was without two All-AAC first team defensive ends in Patrick Johnson, the nation’s leading sack leader (10.0), and Cameron Sample, along with nose tackle De’Andre Williams.

The Pack were unable to come away with points after failing to score on four consecutive goal-to-goal wildcat runs inside Tulane’s 5-yard-line.

Nevada safety Christian Swint intercepted Pratt on the third play of Tulane’s drive, giving it another opportunity deep inside Tulane territory.

It capitalized this time after Strong connected with Turner on an 11-yard score. It put the Pack up 6-0 after placekicker Brandon Talton’s extra point was blown wide right by the swirly wind.

Talton, a first-team All-Mountain West honoree, missed two extra points and one field goal on the afternoon.

The Pack opened the second quarter with a 23-yard touchdown to Justin Lockhart on its ensuing drive — extending its advantage to 13-0.

It dipped into its bag of tricks. On the third play of its next drive, Strong turned a reverse-turned-flea flicker into a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Taua down the sideline. Nevada held a 19-0 lead with 12:42 to go after a failed two-point conversion.

Strong was a perfect 9-for-9 for 150 yards and three touchdowns on Nevada’s first three drives, translating to an absurd 350.0 pass efficiency rating. Pratt began 0-for-6 with an interception.

Pratt’s first completion of the afternoon came on a 41-yard touchdown to Jackson on a fourth-and-four.

The Pack answered quickly. Taua scampered for his second score on a 50-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 — giving Nevada a 26-7 lead with 7:44 to go in the second quarter.

The Wolf Pack entered halftime with a 26-7 lead. It totaled 334 yards of offense compared to Tulane’s 179, doubling the time of possession (20:16 to 9:44).

Tulane quickly clawed back into the contest.

Pratt’s six-yard rushing score — his 12th of the year — followed by a 28-yard touchdown to Jackson on a slant route quickly cut Nevada’s lead to 26-20.

A 61-yard kickoff return from Bell was negated after Talton hooked a 32-yard field goal wide left after a bad snap. The drive killer stemmed from a personal foul penalty on Nevada’s Aaron Frost, which moved it from the 2- to 17-yard line.

Tulane was unable to capitalize on the miscue. A play after being called for a pass interference, Nevada’s sixth-year senior corner EJ Muhammad intercepted Pratt. The Pack capped-off its prime field position with a two-yard goal line fade to Turner for his second touchdown of the game. Another failed two-point try gave it a 32-20 lead with 13:19 to go.

Nevada’s final score of the contest came on a 21-yard pass to Bell for his first career touchdown. Carroll ran 65 yards untouched for a score a play after Nevada was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct after fries from Norvell’s celebration made its way to the field of play.