Wolf Pack defense bends, but blocks Fresno State | NevadaAppeal.com

Wolf Pack defense bends, but blocks Fresno State

Nevada needs a win next week to qualify for the Mountain West Championship

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaappeal.com

Several times this season, it has been the offense that has caught the attention for its impressive performances.

Saturday night, it was the Wolf Pack’s defense and special teams that kept Nevada in the contest time and time again in a 37-26 win over Fresno State.

Two special teams stops on fourth down, including a blocked punt allowed the Wolf Pack to capitalize on two short-field situations with touchdowns.

Nevada’s defense was on the field for 101 plays and surrendered more than 500 yards of offense to the Bulldogs, but came up with necessary stops all night.

In the second half, Nevada’s defense limited Fresno State to six points despite the Bulldogs running seven different drives.

Four of those drives ended in turnovers, two of which by way of lost fumbles and two fourth down stops. Berdale Robins fell on one of the fumbles after a long completion by the Bulldogs.
Fresno State was six-of-nine on third down conversions in the second quarter. Otherwise, the Wolf Pack limited the Bulldogs to 3-of-12 in the other three quarters on third down.

The Bulldogs only score of the second half came with less than two minutes to play in regulation, trailing by 17.

Quick strike offense

Though Nevada’s offense didn’t play a clean contest by any means, its continued quick strike potential continues to be able to shift a game in a flash.

After getting two special teams stops, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong hit Cole Turner for back-to-back touchdowns on corner fade routes in the end zone.

Nevada freshman wide receiver Tory Horton – who is a Fresno, California native – was the recipient of the other three touchdowns with catches of 17, 85 and 32 yards.

Horton’s biggest play came after a Wolf Pack fourth down stop in the red zone.

Two plays into the drive, Strong found Horton streaking wide open down the far sideline for an 85-yard score.

Two drives after his second score, Horton secured a 32-yard trip to the end zone, putting the game under wraps.

Strong finished the night 23-of-39 for 354 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

UP NEXT: Now 6-1, Nevada controls its own destiny and will need a win over San Jose State (5-0) next Saturday on the road in order to clinch a spot in the Mountain West Championship game. As of Saturday night, kickoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, December 11.