Nevada Wolf Pack notebook: ‘We gave up in the second half,’ says Dom Peterson
For the Nevada Appeal
Dom Peterson didn’t like what he saw during the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 77-6 loss to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.
“We gave up in the second half,” the Wolf Pack sophomore said on Monday. “That’s something I never saw from our team since I’ve been here.”
Peterson, who joined the Wolf Pack program for the 2017 season, was one of the few Nevada players who made his presence felt to the Ducks. The 6-foot, 295-pound defensive tackle had four tackles and the Wolf Pack’s only sack of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Wolf Pack defense allowed Oregon to score a touchdown on 11 of its final 12 drives (6-of-7 in the second half). The Wolf Pack offense had five punts and three turnovers on its final eight drives in the second half.
“I know we can do better,” Peterson said.
DID OREGON RUN UP THE SCORE? Wolf Pack coach Jay Norvell said he wasn’t upset that Oregon remained aggressive in the fourth quarter on offense and scored two more touchdowns despite already leading 63-6.
The Ducks went for a first down three times on fourth down on their first drive in the fourth quarter. On their second and only other drive of the quarter they threw the ball on second down. Both drives resulted in touchdowns.
“That’s what happens when you play a team that is supposed to be one of the best in the country,” Norvell said. “They were trying to prove a point. It’s our job to stop them. I don’t have a problem with that.”
Peterson, though, didn’t like the way the Ducks celebrated at times. Oregon starting linebacker Troy Dye, who was already removed from the game for a backup because the Ducks were up 63-6, even went on the field during one timeout, and waved a towel in the air and danced all by himself to the Animal House (a 1979 movie that was filmed, in part, in Eugene, Ore.) song “Shout.”
“We have to move on and put it behind us but we also have to keep it in the back of our minds, how they did us, how they danced on us like clowns,” Peterson said. “We’re not going to let that happen again.”
AUTZEN OVERWHELMED THE PACK: Norvell said that the Ducks’ Autzen Stadium and the crowd (50,920) played a big part in the one-sided Oregon victory.
“Sometimes when you are older you forget the effect an environment like Autzen can have when you are 18 or 19 years old,” Norvell said. “I grew up playing at Michigan and Ohio State (as an Iowa defensive back). I played at the Rose Bowl. What does Autzen seat? 50,000? It’s not the most uncomfortable atmosphere in the country. But if you’ve never played in a place like that before, you make it bigger than it really is.
“You have to have confidence when you play in environments like that. I look at a program like Boise State. As a program they believe they can win in an environment like that. We had guys in critical situations who never played in a place like that.”
HISTORICAL LOSS: The 71-point loss to Oregon is the most one-sided Wolf Pack loss since a 79-7 loss to California in 1920. The only other loss that has been more one-sided was an 81-6 loss to Cal in 1915.
The Pack has lost just one other game in its history by 70 points or more. That happened in the very first football game in school history, a 70-0 loss to Belmont in 1896.
The biggest loss before Saturday by the Wolf Pack since it made the jump to Division I-A in 1992 was a 72-10 loss at Oregon in 1999.
OREGON TALENT, SPEED TOO MUCH FOR PACK: Norvell said Oregon’s depth of talent and its overall speed were difficult for the Wolf Pack to overcome.
“That was quite a concern,” Norvell said. “Even I was impressed with the size of some of their backups. The depth of their roster is something that is impressive. That was the best secondary, for example, that we’ll see all year.
“When you get that type of size and strength, it’s difficult to match up with that.”
STRONG STRUGGLES: Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong played like an experienced veteran in leading the Wolf Pack to a 34-31 comeback win over Purdue in the season opener Aug. 30. The redshirt freshman completed 30-of-51 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception.
Against Oregon, however, Strong looked like, well, a redshirt freshman. Strong was just 13-of-25 against Oregon for just 89 yards and was intercepted twice.
“Carson has to be more accurate,” Norvell said. “He made some poor throws.”
Strong took responsibility for his performance after the loss.
“I left a lot of plays on the field,” he said Saturday night. “I have to learn from the mistakes I made and I made a lot of them.”