Nevada’s 23-0 Lead Went Up In Smoke As The Rebels Came From Behind To Upset The Wolf Pack 34-29
The Wolf Pack saw their large lead on UNLV disappear as they fell to the Rebels in the season finale.
Wolf Pack Choke Away Lead And The Fremont Cannon, Fall To Rebels
For the first 15 minutes of the 44th meeting between the Nevada Wolf Pack and the UNLV Rebels, it looked the Wolf Pack were going to cruise to an easy victory over their in-state rivals and retain the Fremont Cannon.
The Wolf Pack jumped out to a 23-0 lead on UNLV and all seemed right for Nevada, but a funny thing happened on the way to Nevada retaining the cannon, the Rebels fought back.
The Rebels climbed out of the 23-0 hole and out-scored Nevada 33-9 in the final three quarters as UNLV upsets Nevada 34-29. For the Rebels they close out the season with a 4-8 record, but they close out their season with a satisfying come from behind victory over Nevada. For the Wolf Pack, they saw their big lead disappear into the Vegas air and most importantly, the Wolf Pack loses the Fremont Cannon.
Here is how the action started in the contest tonight. In the first quarter, the Wolf Pack got the scoring started on their first drive, they marched down the field and scored on a five-yard touchdown pass from Ty Gangi to McLane Mannix to put Nevada up 7-0.
After the Wolf Pack stopped the Rebels on a 4th down and four, the Wolf Pack got the ball back and scored on a 4th down and two when Gangi connected with Cole Turner for his first collegiate reception that turned out to be a 24-yard touchdown pass to put Nevada up 14-0.
Nevada next offensive possession resulted in another touchdown when running back Kelton Moore ran for a 46-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolf Pack up 20-0 after the extra point was no good.
Ahmed made up for the missed extra point with a 29-yard field goal to put the Wolf Pack up 23-0 over UNLV early in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, UNLV came alive on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Rebels went for it on fourth down and quarterback Armani Rogers finds running back Lexington Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown pass to put UNLV on the board 23-7. The Rebel defense also got it going when Jocquez Kalili intercepted a Ty Gangi pass to stop the Wolf Pack offense on that drive.
The Rebels cashed in on that Wolf Pack turnover when Rogers connected with tight end Giovanni Fauolo for an 18-yard touchdown pass to make it 23-14 Nevada.
After a Nevada punt, the Rebels scored once again when Rogers took it in from one yard out to make it 23-21 Nevada. After spotting the Wolf Pack 23-0 points, the Rebels scored 21 unanswered to cut the Wolf Pack lead to three late in the second half.
The Wolf Pack closed out the first half with a 13 play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with a 26-yard field goal by Ahmed to extend the Wolf Pack lead to 26-21 after 30 minutes of play.
In the second half, the Rebels took the lead when Rogers connected with Noah Bean for a one-yard touchdown pass to give UNLV a 28-26 lead. That would be the only scoring in the third quarter for both teams. In the fourth quarter, Nevada retook the lead when Ahmed converted on a 37-yard field goal attempt to give Nevada a 29-28 lead over the Rebels.
After Nevada’s defense forced a punt, the Wolf Pack offense got the ball back and was driving the ball looking to extend the lead but Gangi threw his second interception of the night as Rebels linebacker Javin White picked off Gangi’s pass to stop the Wolf Pack drive.
The Rebels then went on a 12 play, 73-yard drive to reclaim the lead when Rogers scored on a three-yard touchdown run to give the Rebels a 34-29 lead, the two-point conversion was no good for UNLV.
The Wolf Pack, in the final minutes of the game, had one last chance to reclaim the lead for good but five plays into that final drive, Gangi’s pass was picked off again by Javin White and that interception sealed the victory for the Rebels.
With the win, the Rebels will hold claim to the Fremont Cannon for the year. The Wolf Pack finishes their regular season with a 7-5 record and will be going to a bowl game for the first time since 2015.
But the poor performance and a blown lead by the Wolf Pack against their hated in-state rivals will have sapped the joy from this incredible turnaround season by Nevada. We shall see bowl fate of the Wolf Pack soon.