Many new and exciting things were happening at Mackay Stadium on Saturday night. Homecoming, new helmets, a drone show, and most importantly, another win for Nevada.
The Wolf Pack’s defense continued to shine in the 34-24 victory over the Lobos. The offense also took a massive step forward, and those 34 points are a season-high.
This one had plenty of action, so let’s get into it.
3:47- 34-yard FG by Brandon Talton
New Mexico 0 - Nevada 3
14:50- 47-yard FG by Brandon Talton
New Mexico 0 - Nevada 6
14:02- Richard Toney Jr. interception return TD (Talton PAT)
New Mexico 0 - Nevada 13
6:57- 52-yard FG by Brandon Talton
New Mexico 0 - Nevada 16
3:39- 9-yard TD run by Jamaal Bell (Brendon Lewis 2pt run)
New Mexico 0 - Nevada 24
11:28- 47-yard FG by Luke Drzewiecki
New Mexico 3 - Nevada 24
8:12- Dylan Hopkins 59-yard TD pass to Jeremiah Hixon (Drzewiecki PAT)
New Mexico 10 - Nevada 24
0:58- 22-yard FG by Brandon Talton
New Mexico 10 - Nevada 27
12:01- 2-yard TD run by Jacques Badolato-Birdsell (Talton PAT)
New Mexico 10 - Nevada 34
1-yard TD run by Devon Dampier (Dampier 2pt run)
New Mexico 18 - Nevada 34
0:58- 2-yard TD run by Jacory Croskey-Merritt (failed 2pt pass)
New Mexico 24 - Nevada 34
Final: New Mexico 24, Nevada 34
Earlier in the week I expressed concern about the offense with a weakened run game. Even with no Sean Dollars, Nevada got it going offensively, especially in the run game. Wide receiver Jamaal Bell took on a running back roll, rushing for 76 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown.
Running back Jacques Badolato-Birdsell recorded a touchdown as well on 36 rushing yards. The sophomore for Nevada recorded his first touchdown of the season.
Quarterback Brendon Lewis wasn’t anything special in the passing game, but he didn’t need to be this time. He went 8-16 with 92 passing yards. He also rushed 11 times, collecting 64 rushing yards on the night.
AJ Bianco came in the third quarter to finish the game, going 2-3 with 39 yards. One of those passes was a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Dalevon Campbell, who finished the night with 49 receiving yards on two catches.
Nevada’s defense was all over New Mexico quarterback Dylan Hopkins. The Lobos QB threw three interceptions, including the pick-six by Nevada corner Richard Toney Jr. Corner Michael Coats Jr. and linebacker Jonathan Maldonado picked up the other two interceptions of the game.
Safety Emany Johnson continued to be one of Nevada’s top players in the secondary by collecting 10 total tackles on the night. Toney Jr. had the second most tackles for Nevada with six.
Hopkins threw for 271 yards and one touchdown pass, but Nevada did its job by holding down the run game. Running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt was the lead rusher for New Mexico, putting up 44 rushing yards with a touchdown.
Nevada will keep its shiny two-game winning streak at home to take on Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors lost in shutout fashion to the San Jose State Spartans 35-0 on Saturday night. It dropped Hawaii to 2-7 with a 0-4 record in the conference. Nevada improved to 2-6 and a 2-2 conference record.
Enjoy the victory weekend, Wolf Pack fans. It feels good to be on the good side of a streak, and this new-found confidence should hopefully carry on against Hawaii and bring the winning streak to three.