Looking ahead to SJSU game, Nevada still remembers last season’s tough loss

Wolf Pack Head Coach Jay Norvell says his team's attention to detail will be a difference maker...
Wolf Pack Head Coach Jay Norvell says his team's attention to detail will be a difference maker Saturday against Spartans(KOLO)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:27 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (Nevada Athletics) - Nevada (6-2, 3-1), following a 51-20 win over rival UNLV, hosts rival San Jose State (5-4, 3-2) for a 7 p.m. (PT) kickoff at Mackay Stadium. Saturday’s contest will be broadcast on FS2 with Adam Alexander (play-by-play) and Devin Gardner (analyst) on the call. The Wolf Pack faces the Spartans for the 35th time in matchup history. The Pack looks to secure a big home victory and remain squarely in the Conference Championship hunt with each of the top-3 teams in the West Division having one loss. QB Carson Strong has thrown for over 400 yards in back-to-back games to lead the nation’s 3rd-best passing attack.

The Wolf Pack Radio Network will call the game as well on 94.5 FM with John Ramey (play-by-play) and Mike Edwards (analyst) in the booth, with the 60-minute pregame show to begin at 6 p.m. PT.


Nevada and San Jose State will meet for the 33rd time in series history on Saturday. Nevada holds a 21-10-1 series edge over the Spartans, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings. San Jose State snapped the Pack’s three-year winning streak over the Spartans in 2020 after defeating Nevada 30-20 in San Jose. Nevada’s 62-7 victory over the Spartans in 2009 is the series’ largest margin of victory.


Recognizing teachers in Washoe County Human Services Agency as well as faculty and staff at the University of Nevada. The Game is sponsored by Have a Heart Washoe. Men’s and Women’s Cross Country will be honored.


For the remainder of the season, the Nevada football team will have a Sparks Fire Department  decal on the helmet to honor the dedication, bravery, and service during the devastating fire season that impacted those around Nevada, California, and Lake Tahoe. Sparks deployed more than 50 firefighters  this year to more than 20 separate fires in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, and Colorado. A photo of the helmet sticker can be made available upon request.


Nevada opened its 2021 season with a 22-17 victory over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley on Sept. 4. Prior to the win over Cal, Nevada’s last road win at a Power 5 team also came at Cal when Nevada defeated the Golden Bears 31-24 on Sept. 1, 2012. After Cal opened the game with a 14-0 lead, Nevada scored 22 unanswered points to lead the remainder of the game. Carson Strong threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns, posting his ninth 300-yard passing game of his career. Kicker Brandon Talton recorded his 12th multi-FG game of his career after going 3-for-4 for Nevada. Romeo Doubs finished with six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, Cole Turner led all Pack receivers with seven catches (for 75 yards), and WR Tory Horton led the Pack with 94 receiving yards on three catches. Elijah Cooks recorded his first touchdown since the 2020 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Jan. 3, 2020. The Pack defense came up clutch to secure Nevada’s victory. Cornerback Isaiah Essissima, a transfer from Wake Forest, made his first interception in a Nevada jersey in his Wolf Pack debut, stopping a late fourth-quarter Cal drive with a pick. Sam Hammond and Daniel Grzesiak tallied sacks for the Pack, including Hammond’s 13-yard loss which resulted in a missed Cal field goal attempt. JoJuan Claiborne led the Pack defense with 10 tackles (eight solo), and shared a tackle-for-loss.

Nevada handled business on Sept. 11 in its first home game of the 2021 season. The Pack defeated Idaho State, 49-10. Carson Strong powered the Pack offense, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Strong completed 34 of 43 passes, including two touchdowns to Elijah Cooks, who finished with seven receptions for 89 yards. Devonte Lee recorded a 2-yard  touchdown run late in the third quarter and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth. Cole Turner had a touchdown catch. Backup quarterback Nate Cox stepped in the game in the fourth quarter, delivering a 43-yard touchdown to Harry Ballard.

Nevada dropped its first game of the season to No. 25 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., on Sept. 18. Despite the 38-17 final score being in favor of the Wildcats, the Pack and Kansas State began the fourth quarter tied at 17. WR Romeo Doubs made 7 catches for 121 yards for a season high in yardage. His previous season-best was 83 yards on six receptions against Cal on Sept. 4. It marked his most receiving yards since he gained 133 yards on 5 receptions at Hawai’i on Nov. 21, 2020.

Nevada secured its first conference win of the season in Boise, Idaho, on Oct. 2. The Pack defeated the Broncos, 41-31, in a packed Albertson’s Stadium. Carson Strong threw for 263 yards and a touchdown while running back Toa Taua rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Nevada snapped its six-game losing streak to the Broncos, dating back to 2010. Nevada last won in Boise in 1997. Tristan Nichols forced a fumble on Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier. Then, five plays later, Taua punched it into the end zone from 12 yards out to give Nevada a permanent lead. Placekicker Brandon Talton had a strong game, going 4-for-4 in field goal attempts and 3-for-3 on PATs.

Nevada picked up its fourth win of the season after cruising to a 55-28 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday.  Carson Strong threw a career-high six touchdown passes — four in the second quarter — and Nevada cruised to a 55-28 win over New Mexico State on Saturday night.

Strong, who did not play in the fourth quarter, finished 25-of-32 passing for 377 yards with one interception. His six touchdown passes were one shy of Nevada’s single-game record, and were the most by a Wolf Pack quarterback since Mike Maxwell twice tossed seven touchdowns in a game, against UNLV and Louisiana-Monroe, in 1995.

Nevada took the opening kick of the second half and Turner’s 3-yard scoring catch capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive that made it 38-3. Strong connected with Henry Ballard for a 33-yard touchdown about four minutes later and cornerback BerDale Robins ripped the ball from New Mexico State’s Jared Wyatt and raced 25 yards for a score to give Nevada a 52-3 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Carson Strong passed for 395 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns and Nevada pulled away after halftime to beat Hawaii 34-17 in Mountain West Conference play on Saturday.

The Wolf Pack (5-1, 2-0) scored first on a Brandon Talton 23-yard field goal midway through the first quarter, but the lead lasted just one play after Dae Dae Hunter took a first-down handoff and raced 75 yards to the end zone for Hawaii (3-4, 1-2). Nevada went up 10-7 on Toa Taua’s 6-yard TD run with 12:58 left in the second quarter, but again the lead lasted one play after Hunter took a first-down handoff 81 yards for a TD. The Wolf Pack answered with a 10-yard TD run by Taua for a 17-14 lead. Both teams added field goals before halftime.

Strong took over in the third quarter for Nevada, throwing scoring passes of 28 yards to Romeo Doubs a 3-yarder to Tory Horton as the Wolf Pack upped their advantage to 34-17 with 2:25 left in the period. Strong completed 34 of 54 passes. Cole Turner had a career-best 12 catches for 175 yards.

Fresno State defeated the Pack 34-32 on Oct. 23. Down 34-26, Nevada’s Carson Strong threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Cole Turner to cut the deficit to two points with two seconds left, but the 2-point conversion attempt was caught out of the back of the end zone. The Wolf Pack recovered the onside kick but time expired in the scramble for the ball.

Nevada football became bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season with a 51-20 win over UNLV on Friday.

Carson Strong threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, Nevada’s defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns and the Wolf Pack defeated UNLV.

Strong hit all-conference receivers Romeo Doubs and Cole Turner with early touchdown passes as Nevada (6-2, 3-1 Mountain West) scored on its first four possessions. He completed passes to nine receivers.

Tight-end Turner dove away from tight coverage to make a 4-yard touchdown catch in the end zone as Nevada marched its opening possession 73 yards in five plays. Doubs made a leaping catch for a 28-yard score and a 20-0 halftime lead.


Junior QB Carson Strong threw 417 yards, which are the second-most he has thrown this season, and four touchdowns in Nevada’s win over UNLV. Strong’s 8,076-career passing-yards are 7th in Nevada football history. His 62-career passing-touchdowns are tied for 5th all time with Mike Maxwell (62, 1993-95).

Strong is 4th in passing yards per game (360.4), 4th in passing TD (24), 5th in passing yards (2,883), and 20th in passing efficiency (158.5) in the FBS (1st in Mountain West).

Strong has completed 71.1 percent of his passes (253 for 356) which is 7th in the nation and 1st in the Mountain West.

TE Cole Turner is 5th in the nation and 2nd in the Mountain West with 8 receiving touchdowns, which also leads the Wolf Pack. WR Romeo Doubs is 16th in the nation in receiving yards per game (92.6). Doubs has 2,861-career receiving yards which is 9th in program history.


Brandon Talton moves into third in program history with 53 made field goals after going 3-for-3 on field goals against UNLV. Talton kicked a 52-yard field goal which is the longest this season and second longest of his career (56, 2019). It marked the fourth perfect kicking-game of the season for Talton. UNLV’s win also secured Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week for Talton.

Talton is 3rd in the nation in made field goals (17), 3rd in the nation in field goals per game (2.12).


Senior linebacker Daiyan Henley leads all FBS linebackers in interceptions this season with four. Henley’s four interceptions are tied for second nationally. He is one interception behind Jaylen Foster of South Carolina (5) for first in the nation.


Nevada is bowl eligible for the fourth straight year under Head Coach Jay Norvell after moving to 6-2 on the year with a 51-20 victory over UNLV to retain the Fremont Cannon.

The Mountain West Conference has bowl tie-ins with the Los Angeles Bowl (12/18), Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (12/22), New Mexico Bowl (12/18), Arizona Bowl (12/31), SoFi Hawai’i Bowl (12/24), and the Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl (12/21).

Nevada defeated Tulane 38-27 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to move to 2-1 in Bowl Games under Coach Norvell, after finishing third in the MWC with a 6-2 conference record in 2020.

Bowl announcements will take place on Sunday, Dec. 5, and broadcast information for the selection show with more information will be shared prior to that date.


The Wolf Pack is second in the nation in sacks after accumulating 33  (4.12 per game) for a total of 233 yards through eight games. Nichols leads the nation with 9.5, while Dom Peterson (5.0), Sam Hammond (5.0), Daniel Grzesiak (3.0), Chris Love (2.0), Lawson Hall (1.0), Trevor Price (1.0), AJ King (1.0), Tyson Williams (1.0), and Jack Powers (1.5) have all chipped in.


Nevada is in its 115th season of collegiate football, seeking win No. 569 in the program’s strong history. The Wolf Pack sports an all-time record of 571-499-33. Since joining the FBS in 1992, Nevada is 196-165 overall and 128-90 in conference play. Nevada has posted winning seasons in 11 out of its past 14 campaigns.

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