Wolf Pack second half stumble costs potential title shot
Friday night’s contest at Sam Boys Stadium in Las Vegas basically decided the second half of the Mountain West Conference title picture.
Twenty-three unanswered second half points for the Spartans stifled Nevada football’s chance at its first Mountain West Conference title game, as San Jose State left Vegas with a 30-20 win.
There was an outside chance that if Nevada had won Friday night, SJSU still could have jumped the Wolf Pack in the conference standings for the title shot. However, the Spartan win assures SJSU its first MW Conference title shot in program history.
“Obviously very disappointed with the outcome, especially the second half,” said Nevada head coach Jay Norvell. “It wasn’t any one area. It was special teams. It was offense. It was defense.”
The Wolf Pack led 20-7 at half and a dominant second quarter left Nevada pushing around the Spartans on all fronts.
San Jose State had just four rushing yards in the first half, but that changed quickly in the third quarter.
To open the second half, SJSU freshman Shamar Garrett went 98 yards to pay dirt on the kickoff, slicing the Nevada lead to just six.
The Wolf Pack responded by driving 64 yards on 10 plays to get into the red zone. Facing 3rd-and-goal at the 1, Nevada opted to give the ball to its bruising running back Toa Taua, but coughed up the ball.
At least that was the call on the field, which was later questionably upheld by replay.
Instead of Nevada going up two possessions, the Spartans regained possession and drove 99 yards for a touchdown.
With 2:34 left in the third quarter, SJSU had jumped in front 21-20.
Before the Wolf Pack could escape the third period, the Spartans tacked on another touchdown on a 69-yard run by Tyler Nevens.
SJSU went on to add another field goal on its next drive to hit the final score of 30-20.
Nevada allowed the Spartans just four rushing yards in the first half, but out of the halftime intermission, the Spartans posted 196 yards on the ground.
In the second half alone, San Jose State out-gained Nevada 311-122 in total yards.
After playing its third game in Las Vegas this season, the loss serves as the Wolf Pack’s first in the state of Nevada this season.
UP NEXT: Nevada (6-2) will await a potential bowl game call to see if it can cap its season on a win.
“We will find that out here in the next few days and will get back on the practice field,” said Norvell.