In a challenging matchup against No. 25 Fresno State University Bulldogs, the Nevada Wolf Pack experienced offensive difficulties that ultimately led to a 27-9 defeat. Despite a strong start and the heroic efforts of running back Malik Sherrod, Nevada struggled to put points on the board throughout the game.
The game kicked off with promise as the Wolf Pack embarked on a 9-minute, 14-second opening drive. Quarterback Brendon Lewis orchestrated the passing game effectively, connecting with wide receivers Spencer Curtis and Jamaal Bell for crucial first downs. Lewis also contributed with some impressive rushes, advancing the Pack deep into Bulldog territory. However, penalties and sacks disrupted their flow, leading to a punt from the Bulldog 46-yard line.
Fresno State's offense, on the other hand, exploded into action. Quarterback Mikey Keene connected with Jaelen Gill for a 65-yard touchdown pass, giving the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Nevada's defense stepped up, forcing a turnover on downs and Emany Johnson intercepting Keene at midfield. However, the Wolf Pack's offense couldn't capitalize on these opportunities, facing back-to-back three-and-outs due to penalties and missed open receivers.
As Nevada's offensive struggles persisted, AJ Bianco was brought in to try and ignite a spark. However, even his initial drive ended in a three-and-out.
The Wolf Pack's challenges continued when Malik Sherrod of Fresno State broke free for a 72-yard touchdown run, extending Fresno State's lead to 14-0. Nevada seemed to find a glimmer of hope when Bell returned a kickoff for an 80-yard touchdown, but this was nullified by a holding penalty. Bianco led a drive that stalled at midfield, leaving Nevada down 14-0 at halftime.
The second half started with optimism as Johnson intercepted Keene for the second time, giving Nevada's offense another chance. However, they struggled to find their rhythm, resulting in yet another three-and-out.
Fresno State continued to extend their lead with field goals, and Nevada's offensive struggles persisted with a third consecutive three-and-out.
Despite the mounting pressure, Nevada tried to rally with Lewis leading the charge. Yet, back-to-back holding penalties and a sack forced the offense into a challenging 4th and 25 situation.
In the fourth quarter, Nevada's defense struggled against big plays, allowing Fresno State to widen their lead. Sherrod followed up with a 27-yard run, setting up Fresno State for a 12-yard touchdown pass, making the score 27-0.
The Pack's offense, still in search of their first points, faced more setbacks as Lewis was intercepted and later fumbled. They managed to avoid a shutout by tackling the Bulldogs in their end zone for a safety, but they still trailed 27-2.
Despite a late touchdown by Bianco, connecting with Curtis for a 22-yard reception, it was too late, and the Pack fell to the Bulldogs 27-9.
With this loss, the Nevada Wolf Pack dropped to 0-5 on the season, extending their losing streak to 15 games. Their next challenge awaits at home on Oct. 14th when they face the UNLV Rebels in the battle for the Fremont Cannon at 2:00 pm.
[Original source: Nevada Sagebrush - https://nevadasagebrush.com/2023/10/30/nevada-offense-struggles-throughout-loses-to-no-25-fresno-state-27-9/]
Image courtesy of David Zalubowski