Nevada showed fight and effort but it was not enough as they dropped their 13th straight loss to Kansas 31-24.
Nevada Shows Effort And Fight In 31-24 Loss To Kansas
The Nevada Wolf Pack put in the effort and intensity against Kansas that was missing when they played Idaho a week ago. Nevada was a completely different team from the one that looked ill prepared against the Vandals. The Wolf Pack, who were 28 point underdogs to the Jayhawks at home, kept the game close all the way until the last minutes of the game.
However, Nevada ran out of gas and did not string together enough defensive stops against the Jayhawks on Saturday night. The Wolf Pack lost again for the 13th straight time to Kansas 31-24 in Reno.
Nevada’s offense did connect on some big chunk plays to make the Jayhawks sweat it out until the end. The Wolf Pack defense did force the Jayhawks to punt a few times and even forced a turnover. But Nevada could not get defensive stops at key moments of the game hence why the Wolf Pack could not take the lead over Kansas.
Even though it is another loss for Nevada, the effort, resilience and intensity was there that wasn’t a week before and Coach Ken Wilson saw that. “That was a great effort by those men in that locker room”, Wilson said after the game. Wilson also said that “we’re going to win those games (down the road)”.
If Nevada plays like they did against Kansas for the next nine weeks, then Wilson’s premonition will bear winning fruit.
The action started in the first quarter when the Jayhawks got on the scoreboard first. Kansas running back Devin Neal (17 carries, 89 yards, three touchdowns) scored on a three yard run to put Kansas up 7-0 early. In the second quarter Nevada got on the board on a 42 yard field goal by Brandon Talton to cut the Jayhawk lead to 7-3
Midway in the second quarter, Kansas went on a 13 play, 47 yard drive that ended with K Seth Keller connecting on a 44 yard field goal to extend the Kansas lead to 10-3. Late in the second half, Nevada’s offense got it going and matched down the field in scoring position.
The big play in the Wolf Pack’s drive to close out the first half was QB Brendon Lewis (15/22 113 yards, 11 carries 53 yards, two touchdowns) leaving the QB pocket and recorded a 20 yard run to the KU three yard line. That run by Lewis was punctuated by RB Sean Dollars scoring on a three yard touchdown run to tie the game up at 10-10 at the half.
In the third quarter, Nevada’s defense strip-sacked Jayhawk QB Jaylon Daniels and LB Drue Watts recovered the fumble for the Wolf Pack. But after that Kansas turnover, the Wolf Pack offense could not convert that turnover into points and had to punt. On the next Kansas offensive possession, Kansas retook the lead as they went on a 11 play, 84 yard touchdown drive when Daniel Hishaw Jr., scored on a one yard run to put Kansas up 17-10.
The Wolf Pack offense came back swinging on their next possession when Lewis connected with WR Dalevon Campbell on a 53 yard pass to put Nevada in the red zone. Two plays later, Lewis scored on a six yard touchdown run to tie the game at 17-17.
After Nevada scored to tie the game, the Wolf Pack were assessed with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the kick off. That costly penalty put the Kansas offense at near midfield to start their next offensive possession.
The Jayhawks only needed two plays to retake the lead as Jaylon Daniels (21 completions 27 attempts for 298 yards) connected with Devin Neal for a 59 yard pass play to put Kansas at the goal line. One play later, Neal scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to make the score 24-17 Kansas in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Nevada’s offense responded with a lengthy scoring drive to tie the game up for the third time. The big play in that drive was when Nevada running back Ashton Hayes broke through with a 35 yard run. Hayes fumbled the ball and looked like it was doom for the Wolf Pack but WR Spencer Curtis recovered the fumble at the KU one yard line.
Two plays later, QB Brendon Lewis scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on a two yard run to tie the game up at 24-24. The score by Lewis capped off a 14 play, 75 yard drive that kept Nevada in the game.
However, Kansas got the last laugh when on their next possession they retook the lead for the final time. On a nine play, 75 yard drive that was propelled by some big time completions from Daniels, the Jayhawk running back Devin Neal scored his third rushing touchdown. That score put Kansas up for good 31-24.
After both Nevada and Kansas exchanged punts late in the game, the Wolf Pack had one final chance to tie the game and force overtime. But the Wolf Pack got the ball deep in their own territory with zero timeouts and could not move the ball into scoring position.
Nevada went for it on fourth down and one and ran a fly sweep that the Jayhawks snuffed out quickly to end the game.
The last play call by the Wolf Pack was questionable to say the least. But what was not in question was Nevada’s effort throughout the game. The Wolf Pack fought and kept Kansas on their toes for the whole game. In the end, the Wolf Pack did not get the stops on defense consistently enough to win the game.
It was a good effort by Nevada but it is still a loss. And like Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record is”. And Nevada is 0-3 and losers in 13 straight games.
We will see if Nevada can snap that losing streak on the road against Texas State next Saturday.