Nevada offense struggles in 30-10 loss to Boise St
Nevada coach Chris Ault didn't see this coming.
Entering Saturday's game against No. 4 Boise State with one of the nation's most productive offenses, the Wolf Pack were inept and ineffective in a 30-10 loss.
How bad was it?
Nevada failed to cross midfield until the third quarter, and only did so with the aid of a long kick return and a Bronco personal foul. Any chance of closing a 30-0 gap ended two plays later when quarterback Tyler Lantrip fumbled.
Nevada's first points came in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
The passing game misfired, the running game got bogged down and an offense averaging 483 yards per game ended a long afternoon with only 182 yards and 10 points.
''Our offense was inept all day,'' Ault said. ''I think the offensive front ... I am really surprised at how poorly they played. I thought our quarterback play was average at best. We just didn't get anything going offensively.''
If there is anything for Nevada to look forward to, it's playing at home next week for the first time all year against UNLV. The Wolf Pack (1-3) opened their season with one of the nation's most traveled teams, a four-game swing that began with a blowout at Oregon.
Nevada then won at San Jose State, but lost a tough one a week later at Texas Tech.
Then came Saturday's meltdown.
As poorly as his pistol offense performed against the Broncos, Ault says he was at least pleased with the play of his defense. The Wolf Pack held Kellen Moore to a career low 142 yards passing, sacked him once and picked off two passes.
''I thought our defense played hard all game, but our offense put the defense in a hole. I thought defensively speaking, we really played hard.''
But the day really belonged to the Boise State defense, which helped avenge last year's second-half collapse that cost the Broncos any hopes of playing for a national title. After leading by 21 points in Reno, Nev., last season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack offense, roared back and beat their - at the time - Western Athletic Conference rivals 34-31 in overtime.
Lantrip played the entire game because redshirt freshman Cody Fajardo, who has traded snaps with Lantrip through the first three games, is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in last week's loss at Texas Tech. Lantrip was 5 of 16 for 50 yards, was sacked once and threw one interception.
Ault had hoped all week Fajardo would be healthy enough to play, and add another running threat to the Nevada offense.
''I'm concerned about our quarterback situation to be honest,'' Ault said. ''I really felt Cody could have played this week. The trainers were keeping me up to date on what was going on, but we aren't going to push anyone.''
The problems on offense weren't just at quarterback, however.
Mike Ball, who started the day averaging 120 rushing yards per game, was held to 35 yards on 15 carries and Nevada rushed for a measly 59 yards all game.
''How the offensive front goes is how we're going to go, and that front just got handled today by the Boise defensive line,'' Ault said.
Boise State got on the board first midway through the first quarter when Moore fired a 21-yard TD pass to D.J. Harper, who beat linebacker James Michael Johnson down the middle of the field.
After Moore fired his second TD pass with 5:51 left in the second quarter, the Broncos' defense forced another Nevada punt that Mitch Burroughs returned 25 yards to the Wolf Pack 25-yard line.
The Broncos and Martin wasted little time expanding their lead. Moore preserved the drive by tossing an 11-yard pass to Burroughs on fourth down, then two plays later Martin scored from 5 yards out and led 20-0 at the half after failing on the 2-point conversion.
Martin, who rushed for a season-best 126 yards, put the game out of reach early in the third quarter when he dashed 43 yards down the left sideline to put Boise State up 27-0.