The Nevada Wolf Pack Keep The Fremont Cannon Blue as They Outlast UNLV 23-16
The Nevada Wolf Pack needed a defensive stop to defeat UNLV and prevent the Rebels from being bowl eligible.
– Contact/Follow @BrandonGBlake
Nevada Knocks Off UNLV To Retain The Fremont Cannon
It was a slow start for the Wolf Pack but in the end, it was the Wolf Pack, aided by their defense, that came out on top with the win as they came from behind to defeat their in-state rivals, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels 23-16 to finish the 2017 regular season at 3-9 while the Rebels wrap up their season at 5-7 and with the Rebels loss, their bowl hopes are dashed.
In a game that looked like it could be a shootout between two talented offenses, it was the defenses that were on display, but it was the Wolf Pack’s defense, maligned throughout the season, that came through with key stops in the second half and at the end of the game to seal the victory for Nevada and keep UNLV from becoming bowl eligible.
The Wolf Pack got on the board first quickly when Ty Gangi (24 for 33, 266 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) connected with Wyatt Demps for a 21-yard touchdown pass to take a 6-0 lead when the PAT for Nevada was blocked.
After both teams turned the ball over once, UNLV took advantage of a Nevada turnover when UNLV quarterback Armani Rodgers took the ball to the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown run and the Rebels made their PAT to take the 7-6 lead early in the second quarter. The Wolf Pack turned the ball over again when Wyatt Demps lost the ball and was recovered by the Rebels and UNLV took advantage by putting up three points on an Evan Panteles 24-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 10-6 lead.
After a Wolf Pack punt, the Rebels marched down the field using their rushing attack to get into the red zone but could only come up with three points as UNLV took a 13-6 lead after a Panteles 37-yard field goal. The Wolf Pack did pick up points to close the second half when the Wolf Pack moved the ball down field and was able to get three points when Spencer Pettit connected on a 35-yard field goal to cut the UNLV lead to 13-9 at the end of the first half.
In the third quarter, UNLV got on the board again with another Panteles field goal but this time, he was good from 53 yards as the Rebels led 16-9. But then it was all Nevada, as the Wolf Pack defense got a big fourth down stop when Kory Rush stopped Lexington Thomas on a fourth and one for no gain and forced UNLV to turn the ball over on downs.
Then the Wolf Pack went on a 10 play, 91-yard scoring drive capped off by a touchdown pass from Ty Gangi to Trevion Armstrong to tie the game at 16 to close out the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolf Pack defense forced another UNLV punt and then the Nevada offense when on an eight play, 61-yard drive that was finished off by a Kelton Moore one-yard touchdown run to give the Wolf Pack a 23-16 lead.
The Rebels had one more chance to tie the game as they moved the ball down field with their running game as they got to the Nevada 22-yard line. The Wolf Pack stopped them three times in the red-zone and then the Rebels decided to go for it on fourth and two and Rodgers pass to Darren Woods Jr. was incomplete and the Wolf Pack held on for the win and retained the Fremont Cannon.
This is a huge win for the Wolf Pack football team as they head into the offseason having won two of their last three games. It wasn’t all good for Nevada to start the season, but the Wolf Pack did show improvement on offense and in the finale against UNLV, it was the Wolf Pack defense that delivered on the improvement and secured the win. Let’s see if the Wolf Pack can build on that improvement in the offseason and be a factor in the Mountain West in 2018.