Nevada football 2020 season recap

Published: Dec. 27, 2020 at 8:27 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - From not having a fall season to the best finish in a decade.

This year’s Wolf Pack football team was special. This level of success could be the new norm for the Silver and Blue.

“It’s been a challenging year to say the least,” head coach Jay Norvell said following Nevada’s 38-27 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl victory over Tulane.

It was a season that almost did not happen. Initially, the Mountain West planned to move 2020 competition to the spring of 2021. That all changed in late September when a handful of other conferences found ways to play. The Mountain West finally agreed on a testing protocol that allowed teams to compete beginning October 24.

Wolf pack Head Coach Jay Norvell and his team would get a chance to play.

“With the way everybody had to fight through this year during the pandemic - you wouldn’t know who you were going to have week-to-week,” Norvell said of the challenges navigating through a pandemic-ridden year.

Availability became more important than it had ever been before. Nevada was just one of two Mountain West programs to play its entire eight game conference schedule. Hawaii’i was the other.

“This team is special,” senior linebacker Lawson Hall said of his group. “We have players that are more selfless in terms of playing the game (than in years past).”

On the field, fans could see why Norvell was so insistent on playing this fall. The Pack won its first five games - the first time that had happened since 2010.

“We just have higher expectations for ourselves,” Hall added. “We had high expectations last year, and we had higher expectations this year.”

Nevada ended the year 7-2 - also its best mark since the historic 2010 season.

A bowl win over Tulane gave the Wolf Pack its second postseason victory in three seasons. But regular season losses to Hawaii and San Jose State remain in the back of sophomore quarterback Carson Strong’s mind.

“We should have won them all,” Strong said of the games on Nevada’s schedule. “Looking back there is nothing we can do about it now besides using it as motivation. I’m going to work as hard as I can this offseason and work on all my weaknesses and just get better as a player and try to reach my maximum potential. I know all my teammates will be doing the same. This team can be a lot better next year and I think we have a serious chance to actually run the table.”

Strong might be right. Nevada should return five all-conference players on offense next season (Strong, Romeo Doubs, Cole Turner, Toa Taua, and Aaron Frost).

Upperclassmen on the defensive side of the ball could also come back after the NCAA granted athletes an additional year of eligibility.

2021 will no doubt be special, too, for the Silver and Blue.

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