Nevada snaps San Diego State’s 6-game winning streak and Top 25 hopes
Nevada (5-4, 3-2) snapped a three-game losing streak to the San Diego State Aztecs (6-2, 3-1) on Saturday behind a phenomenal second half defensive effort and exceptional special teams. Nevada has looked like a different team as of late and pulled off the 28-24 upset.
San Diego State scored touchdowns on both of their first two drives and led Nevada 14-0 after a 16 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Agnew to 6’6 tight end Kahale Warring. The Aztecs looked to be running away from Nevada with a high probability of jumping into the AP top 25 when Sunday’s polls were to be released.
The Wolf Pack got on the board late in the first quarter after a holding call in San Diego State’s end zone resulted in a safety. Nevada would go on to score 15 unanswered and take their first lead of the game. San Diego State scored the next 10 points to go in at the break up 24-15.
Nevada’s defense looked anything but appealing in the first half after giving up 320 yards of total offense to the Aztecs. San Diego State came out of the locker room to face a different animal in the second half as Nevada would only allow 136 yards for the remainder of the game. It was the first time in 12 games and over a year since San Diego State had been shut out in a half as they failed to score again after returning to the field.
Nevada’s punter, Quinton Conaway, had a day to remember. After Conaway’s first three punts he was averaging a ridiculous 60 yards each and it was obvious he was in for a career day. He finished the day with 460 total yards on nine punts and a long of 68. Conaway continually pinned the Aztec offense deep in their territory.
One booming kick resulted in the returner awkwardly retreating about 20 yards before muffing the punt and Nevada recovering the fumble on San Diego State’s 17. Conaway would finish his punting duties with just over a minute remaining in the game on a 55-yard punt that left San Diego State with a worst case scenario – losing by 4 points with 58 seconds remaining, downed at their own one.
San Diego State has the second-best rushing defense in the country only allowing 80.88 yards per game and it showed. Nevada was only able to gain 62 yards on the ground and over half of that was achieved with Freshman Devonte Lee in the wildcat formation.
Freshman powerhouse Toa Taua finished the day with just seven rushing yards on 13 attempts, though he did have five catches that included a reception on a screen pass that went for a 40 yard touchdown as he danced down the sideline.
Ty Gangi finished the day with 235 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brendan O’Leary-Orange was Gangi’s favorite wide receiver on Saturday and finished with 51 yards on 4 catches and one incredibly acrobatic 26 yard touchdown.
San Diego State quarterback, Ryan Agnew, threw for 283 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Agnew’s favorite target was Kahale Warring who had six receptions for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Aztecs rushing attack was effective as usual. Chase Jasmin and Chance Bell shared the backfield and combined for 163 of the teams 173 total rushing yards on 31 attempts.
Nevada’s kicker, Ramiz Ahmed, missed an extra point early in the game but would go 2-for-2 on field goals which were the final six points in the game that helped Nevada seal the victory.
This was Nevada’s biggest win in head coach Jay Norvell’s tenure as the Wolf Pack continues to rise as a top 5 Mountain West football program.
San Diego State hopes to bounce back when they travel to New Mexico next week and Nevada will go into their perfectly timed bye week before they enter the weakest part of their schedule in two weeks.