The first scrimmage of year showed some encouraging signs for a Nevada defense that underwent an offseason overhaul.
The defense outscored the offense in a scrimmage that last about an hour and a half and was comprised of just under 100 plays.
Redshirt freshman Jonathan Ott returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and sophomore defensive end Kevin Basped added a 23-yard fumble return for a score for the Wolf Pack defense.
“We were fired up and we went out there with a lot of energy,” said Joshua Mauga, a returning captain at the middle linebacker spot. “Competition makes everyone better. We have a lot of guys who are competing and they are stepping up and showing that they want to play.”
The Pack defense forced five turnovers and had eight tackles for loss, including three sacks.
Offensively, the Pack had some big plays but couldn’t quite get in sync.
“Our timing was just off a little bit,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “The skill positions would be on but the line would be off. Then the blocking would be great but the skill players were off. We have to find that consistency.”
Kaepernick guided the drive that resulted in the only offensive score of the day, a 5-yard pass to junior Dwayne Sanders. The sophomore finished 8-of-12 with 73 yards with the one score and one interception.
Junior Nick Graziano was the victim of a handful of dropped and tipped balls. He finished 3-of-12 for 39 yards. He also had three carries for 28 yards.
Several running backs saw time, with Luke Lippincott leading the way with 29 yards on seven carries.
The top four tacklers were all linebackers in: Jared Silva-Purcell (6), Jerome Johnson (5), Mike Bethea (5), Joe Easter (5).
Nevada returns to practice on Monday with another set of two-a-day practices. The team will scrimmage again on Saturday.
Passing: Colin Kaepernick 8-12, 73 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.; Nick Graziano 3-12, 39 yards; Luke Collis 3-8, 15 yards; Tyler Lantrip 1-5, 10 yards.
Rushing: Luke Lippincott 7-29, Nick Graziano 3-28, Courtney Randall 5-26, Lampford Mark 8-23, Chris Wellington 1-17, Vai Taua 7-13, Mike Ball 5-9
Receiving: Marko Mitchell 4-51, Dwayne Sanders 3-30 (5-yard TD), Mike McCoy 3-29, Andy McIntosh 2-17, Lampford Mark 1-4, Mike Ball 1-4, Chris Wellington 1-2,
Interceptions: Isaiah Frey (no return), Jonathan Ott (45-yard return for TD).
Fumbles Forced: Dontay Moch.
Fumbles Recovered: Kevin Basped (23-yard yard return for TD), James-Michael Johnson, Chris Slack.
Sacks: Jared Silva-Purcell, Jerome Johnson, Jon Rabe.
Tackles for Loss: Uche Anyanwu, Joe Easter, Mo Harvey, Jared Silva-Purcell, Jerome Johnson, Jon Rabe, James-Michael Johnson (half), Zack Madonick (half), Brandon Marshall (half), Kevin Basped (half).
Tackles: Jared Silva-Purcell 6, Jerome Johnson 5, Mike Bethea 5, Joe Easter 5, Jonathon Amaya 4, Uche Anyanwu 4, Zack Madonick 4, Kevin Grimes 4, Lampford Mark 4, Kaelin Burnett 4, Deantae Green 4, Joshua Mauga 3, Chris Slack 3, James-Michael Johnson 3, Mark Forrest 3, Kevin Basped 3, Jonathan Ott 2, Dontay Moch 2, Mark Stuckey 2, Brett Roy 1, Marlon Johnson 1, Thaddeus Brown 1, Jon Rabe 1, Doyle Miller 1, Mo Harvey 1, Isaiah Frey 1, Brandon Marshall 1, Mike Samples 1.