Nevada suffered its worst loss of the season, and we’re only two games in. This game against Idaho was predicted to be a shootout, with some having Nevada taking the win in their home opener. Instead, the Wolf Pack’s losing streak extends to 12 games and begins the season 0-2.
Nothing was clicking for Nevada. The offense couldn’t muster a touchdown, and the play-calling in the red zone needs to improve badly. The defense couldn’t make any stops, and the secondary continued its slow start. From the first play of the game (literally) the Vandals offense was torching Nevada’s defense. The missed tackles continued and there’s just too much separation between the secondary and the ‘Vandals' offensive weapons.
14:47- 75 TD pass from Gavani McCoy to Turon Ivy Jr. (Cameron Pope PAT)
Idaho 7 - Nevada 0
11:40- 29-yard FG by Brandon Talton
Idaho 7 - Nevada 3
0:01- 15-yard TD run by Nick Romano (Ricardo Chavez PAT)
Idaho 14 - Nevada 3
9:36- 44-yard FG by Brandon Talton
Idaho 14 - Nevada 6
0:03- 26-yard FG by Ricardo Chavez
Idaho 17 - Nevada 6
11:53- 15-yard TD pass from Gevani McCoy to Alex Moore (Ricardo Chavez PAT)
Idaho 24 - Nevada 6
1:06- 34-yard FG by Ricardo Chavez
Idaho 27 - Nevada 6
12:35 43-yard FG by Ricardo Chavez
Idaho 30 - Nevada 6
7:12- 29-yard FG by Ricardo Chavez
Idaho 33 - Nevada 6
Final: Idaho 33, Nevada 6
There aren’t many positive things to say about the offense. Brendon Lewis was once again incapable of keeping himself in the entire game. He took some brutal hits which forced him to come out for a few plays. Lewis was able to use his legs a bit more, rushing for 39 yards on nine attempts.
Lewis was barely able to crack the 100-yard passing mark, finishing with 104 and one interception. Backup QB AJ Bianco made some appearances after getting a short stint in Week 1. He passed for 44 yards, also throwing an interception.
I emphasized the importance of the run game in this one, and it was once again a slow start. Sean Dollars started strong with a 33-yard rush in the first. After that, the running game was held pretty tight. Dollars finished with 48 rushing yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Ashton Hayes only picked up 12 rushing yards on six attempts.
The wide receiver group couldn’t find much separation either. Jamaal Bell led the team in receiving yards with 67 on eight receptions. It didn’t help that the offensive line got run over, not allowing Lewis or Bianco any time to throw the ball.
There’s not much else to say besides the offense has not been living up to its preseason hype. It’s still early, but this was a game that Nevada’s offense should’ve turned a corner. Only being 1-3 in red zone chances doesn’t look good either. We’ve seen the explosive potential, especially in the first quarter, but the Wolf Pack have been struggling to finish off those drives. It won’t get any easier as the season progresses, so the play-calling will need to get stronger.
Despite giving up 33 points, Nevada’s defense did well at limiting third-down conversions. They only allowed the Vandals to convert three times in 12 attempts, giving the offense plenty of opportunities to get back in the game.
Nevada’s defense didn’t play well outside of that, however. The very first play from the scrimmage resulted in the 75-yard TD pass by McCoy. The Vandals QB finished his night 15-21, 313 passing yards, and two touchdowns. The Wolf Pack were able to keep Anthony Woods under 100 rushing yards, only picking up 72 in the win.
There was a bit more pressure put on McCoy, as Nevada sacked him three times. Safety Emany Johnson forced a fumble on a big hit, which led to linebacker Drue Watts recovering the football to turn it over.
The secondary just seemed lost. Over 300 passing yards for the second straight week doesn’t leave much confidence for the future. The leading tackler for Nevada was Richard Toney Jr., who recorded seven total. No other Nevada defender recorded more than four tackles, which is a big problem.
Nevada will stay home as Kansas comes into Mackay Stadium. The Jayhawks are 2-0 so far with their most recent win coming on Friday against Illinois. QB Jalon Daniels is a shining star over in Kansas, and his matchup against Nevada’s defense doesn’t look promising for the Wolf Pack.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm PST at Mackay. Starting 0-3 just can’t happen for Nevada, and Ken Wilson will have his hands full as he prepares for Week 3.