Quick Lane Bowl: Shorthanded Nevada Falls To Western Michigan, 52-24
Nevada wraps up 2021 season with 52-24 loss to Western Michigan in Quick Lane Bowl.
Wolf Pack was done a bit of players
The Nevada Wolf Pack ended their 2021 season on Monday with a 52-24 loss to the Western Michigan Broncos in the Quick Lane Bowl located in Detroit, Michigan. The depleted Wolf Pack team was of course without season-long head coach Jay Norvell who, along with six assistant coaches, left for Colorado State in early December. Former Nevada player and running backs coach Vai Taua was the head coach for the contest. Also not suiting up for Nevada was All-Mountain West quarterback Carson Strong, wide receivers Romeo Doubs and Cole Turner, among others.
Nevada led the game for a total of 13 seconds following a 32-yard field goal from Brandon Talton, before Western Michigan’s Sean Tyler returned the Wolf Pack’s kickoff 100 yards for the touchdown. The Broncos were up 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the first quarter and never looked back. Western Michigan scored on their next four drives, including three touchdowns and a field goal, to take a 31-10 lead heading into the locker room. The Wolf Pack was able to find the endzone thanks to a Devotee Lee one-yard touchdown run, which capped off a six-play, 56-yard drive.
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) December 27, 2021
Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby was able to use his legs and find the endzone early in the third quarter on a quarterback run. Nevada’s Toa Taua was able to answer with a touchdown of his own, making the game 38-17 Western Michigan still leading, at the end of the third quarter. The Broncos would be able to score two more times before the final whistle blew. Wolf Pack starting quarterback Nate Cox was able to find the endzone as well, connecting with Jamaal Bell on an 18-yard pass.
Ultimately, given the recent moves at Nevada, the Wolf Pack couldn’t keep up with Western Michigan. The Broncos had the edge over Nevada in terms of total yards (514-242) and hurt Nevada on the ground. Western Michigan ran the ball 52 times for 352 yards, an average of nearly seven yards per carry. This was the second-most rushing yard allowed by Nevada’s defense this year behind the 476 given up to Air Force.
A familiar face for Nevada fans made his presence known on Monday. Running back Jaxon Kincaide played for the Wolf Pack from 2016-2019 before transferring to Western Michigan. The 5’9 senior ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Taylor also added to the total with 146 yards of his own, including a 70-yard run which set up an easy one-yard score. Western Michigan’s quarterback Kaleb Eleby completed 8-14 passes for 162 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Following the NFL declaration by Carson Strong, 6’9 senior Nate Cox was under center for Nevada. Cox finished completing 12 passes on 23 attempts, one touchdown, and one interception as the Wolf Pack worked to gain yards on the ground. This proved to be more difficult than previously thought as Nevada ran the ball 31 times, but only gained 121 yards, an average of 3.9 yards per play. Jamaal Bell caught Nevada’s only touchdown through the air. Bell finished with seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Nevada now looks ahead to the 2022 season, where the Wolf Pack will be under first-year head coach Ken Wilson. Come next season, Nevada will lose at least nine starters on offense and at least seven starters on defense in what will be a rebuilding year for the Wolf Pack.