Ball makes the Wolf Pack complete | NevadaAppeal.com

Ball makes the Wolf Pack complete

THOMAS RANSON
Lahontan Valley News

RENO – Mike Ball was the final piece to the puzzle.

“We’re complete. We’ve got everybody,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “Mike’s healthy and he played well.”

The junior running back ran for 198 yards on 26 carries, including a touchdown, and caught two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown as the Wolf Pack outlasted Fresno State, 45-38, Saturday afternoon at Mackay Stadium.

“I felt good, back at home,” said Ball, whose daughter watched his second game with the first being that UNLV performance two years ago. “I felt comfortable back there. The first couple snaps felt fast.”

When Ball was healthy to begin the season, Tyler Lantrip was the starting quarterback but with Fajardo now at the helm, Ball said this past week was an adjustment. And it worked out just fine.

“I felt like we were in sync all week. It was different but it was fun,” Ball said.

Averaging 7.6 yards a carry with his longest run being 41 yards, Ball didn’t get going until the second quarter as his receiving game helped spark the rushing attack.

Fajardo’s quick 18-yard strike to Ball gave Nevada the lead at 20-14 with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the half. On his first touch in the ensuing drive, Ball ran up the middle for 13 yards to put Nevada in better position for a half-ending field goal.

“It was great having Mike Ball back in the lineup,” Fajardo said. “We have a lot of running backs. His participation was huge and it took a lot of stress off me.”

Having carried the ball for only 10 times and 61 yards in the first half, Ball showed that he belongs in the backfield for the rest of the season. Nevada’s first play of the second half came on Ball’s 41-yard gain as he carried the ball into Fresno State territory. Ball’s only rushing touchdown, though, didn’t come until the fourth quarter when he split the defenders on the left side for a 16-yard score to Nevada its biggest lead (45-31) of the game with 6:47 left.