Big third quarter carries Nevada to win
SAN MARCO, Texas – Nevada scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to wipe out a 21-20 deficit and beat Texas State, 34-21, Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium in a non-league game.
Nevada improved to 4-1 overall, while Texas State fell to 2-2.
Cody Fajardo passed for 286 yards and three scores, and Stefphon Jefferson rushed for 178 yards.
“Offensively, we thought we could do some things passing-wise,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “We did complete two long passes on them, but we felt pretty comfortable with our passing game particularly in the third quarter.
“Our defense needs to start playing football and quit with the aftershock penalties – the dumb stuff we were doing in the first half. I thought our defense in the second half was just outstanding. I think they are a good football team. I love what they are doing. Them executing well and our dumb penalties gave them a chance to move the ball and they took advantage of it. We should have thrown a little bit more in the first half. Our defense just wasn’t holding up the way I wanted them to. They stopped the run, and they are a good football team. It was a really good game.”
The Wolf Pack started its surge late in the first half, driving 78 yards for a score with 1:41 left. Zach Sudfeld caught a 2-yard pass from Cody Fajardo.
The Wolf Pack continued its surge right out of halftime, going on a 91-yard scorng drive, capped by a 6-yard run by quarterback Cody Fajardo to put Nevada up 27-21 at the time. Fajardo finished with 95 yards rushing.
Nevada got some breathing room with just over a minute to go in the third. Fajardo passed it to Aaron Bradley for a 12-yard score to make it 34-21.
Texas State got off to a fast start.
On third-and-2 from the Nevada 33, Justin Iwuji intercepted a Fajardo pass and returned it to the Nevada 17. Five plays later, the Bobcats took it in, as Marcus Curry scored on a 1-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead.
Nevada evend the score at 7 when Fajardo hooked up with Sudfeld on a 9-yard pass.
The Bobcats were driving later in the quarter, aided by Andy Erickson’s kick return down the left sideline to the 49. Following two more first downs, Texas State had it to the Nevada 25-yard line, but Shaun Rutherford fumbled the ball, and Nevada recovered at its own 33.
Nevada looked to capitalize on the ensuing drive, due in part to a Texas State pass interference penalty, which took the ball to the 5-yard line. The Bobcat defense managed to hold, forcing the Wolf Pack to settle for a field goal and a 10-7 lead.
The Bobcat defense was up to the task again in the second quarter. It forced a three-and-out for Nevada from the 9. On the ensuing punt, Erickson returned it to the 23-yard line of Nevada. Five plays later, Rutherford pitched it to Tim Gay to put the Bobcats on top 14-10.
Erickson got the Bobcat offense going again, towards the end of the first half. On the same drive, he had three receptions for 61 yards, including the final 28-yard play to make it 21-13 in favor of Texas State.
Right before the half, Nevada answered with the aforementioned 78-yard drive to cut Texas State’s lead to 21-20 at the half.