The first two games for Nevada were nothing short of disappointing. Coming into a home game as a 27.5-point underdog, Nevada surprised a lot of people, including Kansas. There was plenty of improvement, but the losing streak now sits at 13 and the Wolf Pack is 0-3.
Both teams shot themselves in the foot with mental mistakes and penalties. Both sides of the ball for Nevada had their ups and downs, but they came out much more aggressive than the past two weeks.
9:46- Devin Neal 3-yard TD run (Seth Keller PAT)
Kansas 7 - Nevada 0
14:49- Brandon Talton 42-yard FG
Kansas 7 - Nevada 3
8:55- Seth Keller 44-yard FG
Kansas 10 - Nevada 3
0:25- Sean Dollars 3-yard TD run (Brandon Talton PAT)
Kansas 10 - Nevada 10
5:07- Daniel Hishaw 1-yard TD run (Seth Keller PAT)
Kansas 17 - Nevada 10
3:33- Brendon Lewis 6-yard TD run (Brandon Talton PAT)
Kansas 17 - Nevada 17
3:00- Devin Neal 1-yard TD run (Seth Keller PAT)
Kansas 24 - Nevada 17
10:37- Brendon Lewis 2-yard TD run (Brandon Talton PAT)
Kansas 24 - Nevada 24
6:20- Devin Neal 3-yard TD run (Seth Keller PAT)
Kansas 31 - Nevada 24
Final: Kansas 31, Nevada 24
Nevada’s offense finally flipped a switch. Not only did they score, but they were scoring touchdowns. For both teams, no passing touchdowns were thrown. Nevada finally got to show off what the duo of Sean Dollars and Ashton Hayes can do, along with Brendon Lewis’ legs.
Lewis went 15-22 with 113 passing yards. Lewis did most of his damage on the ground, rushing for 58 yards on 11 attempts and two touchdowns. Hayes finally broke out of his quiet season with 56 yards on 10 carries. Dollars picked up 38 yards with a rushing touchdown as well.
Overall, Nevada finished with 150 rushing yards, more than Kansas. While Kansas dominated the passing game, Nevada was able to go back and forth all game. Nevada went 4-4 from the red zone, much better than their 1-3 in last week's game against Idaho.
Nevada was getting plenty of help from Kansas via penalties. In the 4th quarter, Nevada was on its 44-yard line on fourth-and-1. An offsides call by Kansas gifted Nevada with a first down, which led to seven points.
Nevada wasn’t any better when it came to mistakes, but they got lucky. Nevada had five fumbles, yet was somehow able to recover all of them. The play-calling in the final minutes was also pretty sloppy and didn’t show much aggression. The offense appears to finally be waking up, but there are plenty of mistakes that need to be fixed by Week 4.
Despite giving up 31 points, Nevada’s defense came to play. Two sacks, two fumbles, and plenty of broken-up passes kept Nevada in the game. Linebackers Drue Watts and Jackson LaDuke continue to be a threat as they combined for a sack on Kansas quarterback Jalen Daniels. Defensive end Dwight Togiola picked up a sack as well.
Togiola and linebacker Tongiaki Mateialona were credited for the two forced fumbles put on Kansas, with one of them being picked up by Nevada.
The secondary showed huge improvement. After a flawless opening drive by Kansas, Daniels struggled to get the ball downfield. He held onto the ball far too long, unable to find his receivers open. Daniels was nearly picked off twice and seemed very uncomfortable by Nevada’s coverage. Credit to that coverage, as Daniels and the Jayhawks offense were unable to throw a passing touchdown.
Safety Emany Johnson led Nevada in tackles with 10, one of them being a tackle for loss. Five total Nevada players (Johnson, Watts, LaDuke, Togiola, James Hansen) were credited for a tackle for loss.
The tackling, coverage, and overall aggression of the defense were much better than in weeks past. While Kansas running back Devin Neal ran all over and scored three touchdowns, Nevada’s defense held it down enough to keep its offense in the game. There’s much more confidence in this defense going into the rest of the season, and for good reason.
Nevada will go back on the road to face Texas State on Saturday, September 23. Nevada is 2-0 all-time against the Bobcats after winning their most recent matchup last year 38-14. Coincidentally, the last time Nevada won a game was that 2022 victory against Texas State. As the losing streak sits at 13, there’d be no better way to end it than against that same team.