Wolf Pack out to avoid losing streak as Fresno State invades Reno for Senior Night
RENO, Nev. (Nevada Athletics) - The Nevada football team will look to get back in the win column this Saturday, Dec. 5 as it takes on Fresno State at 6:00 p.m. The Wolf Pack suffered its first loss of the season this past weekend on the road at Hawai’i, 24-21. Despite the loss, Nevada is still in position to qualify for the Mountain West Championship game, to be played on Dec. 19. Nevada junior RB Toa Taua eclipsed 2,000 career rushing yards at Hawai’i on Saturday, piecing together his second 100-yard game of the season. Taua finished with a season-high 131 rushing yards and currently leads the conference averaging 6.1 rush yards per carry.
ON THE AIR
John Ramey and Mike Edwards will have the call in Northern Nevada on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM with a 60 minute pregame show prior to kickoff. Fans can also tune in to listen to Ramey and Edwards’ broadcast online at TuneIn.com or via the TuneIn app. Fans can watch the game on Fox Sports 2 on Saturday. Anthony LaPanta (play-by-play) and Ron Johnson (analyst) will have the call on the television broadcast.
This will be the 52nd meeting between the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs. Fresno State leads the series 29-22-1. In 2019, a 3-yard touchdown run by Toa Taua with 12 seconds left lifted Nevada over Fresno State 35-28. Last year’s victory in Fresno marked Nevada’s first road win over the Bulldogs since 2015. Fresno State’s record sits at 3-1 after having its last two contests canceled due to COVID-19. In 2018, the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 21-3 in Reno. The Pack won back-to-back games against Fresno State in 2015-16. The first game played between both teams took place on Nov. 27, 1930, when the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 6-0.
Running back Toa Taua surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards Saturday night against Hawai’i. Taua recorded a season-high 131 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards and one touchdown on the night. His total career rushing yards now sits at 2,117. Saturday’s contest against Hawai’i marked Taua’s second 100-yard rushing performance of the season. His last 100-yard rushing game was against Utah State (107). In addition, Taua leads the conference in rushing yards per carry (6.08) and ranks fourth in rushing yards (438) and rushing yards per game (87.6).
THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE
Carson Strong is quickly becoming a household name among college football fans, and it’s easy to see why. Strong has impressed through six games of the 2020 season, helping the Wolf Pack to a 5-1 record. Strong currently leads the Mountain West, and ranks highly nationally as well, in passing TDs (16), points responsible per game (24), passing yards (1,973), passing yards per game (328.8) and completions per game (28.5). In the game against New Mexico, Strong saw his streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception come to an end in the second quarter at 299, a school record and the second-longest streak in Mountain West history. Strong threw for 288 against San Diego State, his first game under 300 yards in his last seven contests.
O ROMEO, ROMEO, WHEREFORE ART THOU
Junior WR Romeo Doubs is proving to be one of the top wide receivers in the nation past the halfway point of the regular season. Doubs has been on a tear through the first six games, posting 100 receiving yards or more in all but one contest. His streak of five consecutive 100-yard games was snapped at Hawai’i, but tied for fourth best in Mountain West history. Additionally, Doubs has recorded at least one touchdown reception in all but one game as well, and has had two three-TD performances. He was recently added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award. On the year, which spans just six games, Doubs leads the conference averaging 131.3 receiving yards per game. He has totaled 788 yards on just 37 receptions, both of which rank in the top 15 nationally. Doubs’ numbers compare with receivers who have played more games, and in some cases, twice as many games. He has made nine touchdown receptions this season, eighth-best in the FBS, and is always a deep threat as seven of his nine touchdown grabs have been 30 yards or longer, with a season-long of 65 yards. The Los Angeles native even threw in a 200-yard performance against UNLV, going for a career-high 219 receiving yards. Through six weeks of the season, Doubs has scored as many touchdowns (nine) as Utah State has. He has also scored more touchdowns than all other Pack receivers combined.
DOM-INATING THE DEFENSIVE STATS
Junior DT Dom Peterson entered the 2020 season as one of the top defensive linemen in the Mountain West, and in the nation, and through six games isn’t disappointing. Against Hawai’i on Saturday, Peterson moved into the Nevada record book, tying for 10th most career sacks (16.5). Peterson has made 27 total tackles this season, which is third on the Nevada defense, but he leads the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Against SDSU, he recorded 3.0 TFL for 16 yards and two sacks. He’s making a push for the Nevada record book too in his third season, sitting just outside the top 10 career tackles for loss.
In addition to the strong performances by kick returner Jamaal Bell and placekicker Brandon Talton, Nevada has excelled in the punt game thus far into the season. Whether it is senior Julian Diaz or freshman Matthew Killam punting, the Pack leads the Mountain West and is second in the nation in net punting at 45.52 yards per punt. Diaz booted a 76 yarder in the opener against Wyoming, which is tied for the fourth-longest punt in the nation this year. In his four games played, Diaz has punted 13 times and nine of those have gone for 50 yards or more.
Carson Strong opened his collegiate career by directing a stunning come-from-behind win over Purdue in the season opener of 2019. He battled an injury over the next few weeks and missed some time. But by the Pack’s stretch run in November last year, Strong was fully healthy and that began a stretch of dominating play to close the 2019 season, a stretch that has continued into the start of 2020. In his last 11 games, Strong has a 24-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and he has completed nearly 70 percent of his pass attempts. Strong had also put up six consecutive 300-yard passing games, before seeing his streak snapped against San Diego State, establishing a new Mountain West record.
GIVE ‘EM SOMETHING TO TALTON ‘BOUT Sophomore PK Brandon Talton became a household name with Wolf Pack fans after his first collegiate game in 2019 ended with a 56-yard, game-winning, walk-off field goal to beat Purdue. After that magical kick, Talton proved it wasn’t just a fluke. He began his collegiate career by making his first 13 field goal attempts. He finished his true freshman season by garnering All-Mountain West second team honors and making 21-of-25 field goal attempts. His field goal percentage of 84 percent ranked fourth in the conference and was 26th nationally. He’s already begun to make a splash in the Nevada record book as a sophomore. Through six games in 2020, Talton is 12-for-13 after going 4-for-5 on against SDSU. Talton’s performance against SDSU pushed him to 10th in career kick scoring and tied for seventh in career field goals made at Nevada. Talton did not attempt any field goals against Hawai’i, but he was a perfect 3-for-3 on PATs. Talton leads the MW and is second nationally averaging 2.00 FGs per game. His FG percentage of 92.3 is third in the league and 10th in the nation.
UP NEXTNevada will conclude the 2020 regular season next Friday, Dec. 11 at San Jose State at 7 p.m.
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