Nevada offense has mixed reviews in scrimmage | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada offense has mixed reviews in scrimmage

RENO – After wearing each other down for the past two-plus weeks, Nevada’s football team is happy to end summer camp and start preparing for its nonconference home opener against Washington State.

“Now we can start on Washington State,” Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe said after completing 8 of 16 passes for 83 yards in Nevada’s final scrimmage of summer camp Saturday night at Mackay Stadium.

“Our defense throws a lot of things at you. It will be good to concentrate on Washington State. We’ve come a long ways since the beginning of camp.”

Nevada scored four touchdowns and a field goal in the 102-play scrimmage.

Running back B.J. Mitchell gained 121 yards on 26 carries, including a 2-yard TD run on the third series of the night. Travis Moore tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Caleb Spencer, third-string quarterback Nick Graziano scored on a 7-yard run and true freshman Mike Kanellis scored on a 54-yard run in the waning moments.

Brett Jaekle kicked a 26-yard field goal, but missed a 39-yarder.

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Nevada coach Chris Ault gave his offensive unit mixed reviews. He lauded the play of tight end Anthony Pudewell (4 catches, 68 yards), wide receiver Kyle Sammons (5-52) and the workhorse efforts of Mitchell.

“We worked BJ hard,” said Ault, who held out Robert Hubbard (abdominal strain) and Nichiren Flowers (toe). “He (Mitchell) had a good camp. I thought Kyle had one of his better scrimmages.”

Pudewell made a magnificent catch in heavy traffic for a 20-plus yard gain, and Sammons made a sensational catch in the corner of the end zone, but was ruled out of bounds by the officials.

Graziano, the true freshman from Campolindo High in Moraga, Calif., overcame a slow start to complete 9 of 14 passes for 103 yards. He clearly has the No. 3 job in hand and could make a push to unseat Moore as the No. 2 quarterback by the end of the season.

“Nick did a nice job,” Ault said. “He will get better.”

Ault was hot and cold on the offensive line, which was missing guard Barrett Reznick.

“The 1s (starters) didn’t come out strong,” Ault said. “They got better toward the end. We have to start out stronger. We had three big penalties, including a holding call at a crucial time.”

Ault did praise the play of Fred White, a JC transfer, who saw time at center and guard.

Tim DeRuyter, the Pack’s first-year co-defensive coordinator, praised the play of safety Nick Hawthrone, who had an interception and a couple of bone-jarring tackles.

“He continues to do a lot of good things,” DeRuyter said. “He knows where to put himself on the field to make plays. He made a nice interception; made a strong play on the ball.”

Jeremy Engstrom had a forced fumble and a sack, and Uche Anyanwu intercepted a pass.

What ticked off DeRuyter was inconsistent play.

“We did some good things, but we can’t give up that many big plays,” DeRuyter said.

Ault did praise the defense for its effort.

“I liked the way they flew around out there,” Ault said. “They didn’t back off and kept after it.”

Notes: Alonzo Durham injured an ankle and had to be carted off the field … Ault said the players will lift weights today and resume practice Tuesday at 3. Practices are closed to the public … Several members of the Wolf Pack basketball team were on hand for much of the two-hour scrimmage.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281