Nevada's Bryson Keeton runs the ball after an interception during the first half.
Sept. 14, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo gave UCLA some trouble in the season opener.
He was a not a factor against Florida State.
Fajardo sat out Saturday's 62-7 loss against the 10th-ranked Seminoles because of a sprained right knee.
Without him, the Wolf Pack (1-2) struggled to get much going on offense, which led to even bigger problems on defense.
"It was whether or not, frankly, he could protect himself," Nevada coach Brian Polian said. "We decided that he was not mobile enough, especially against a very, very athletic defense like this. ... I'm not going to guess as to what Cody's status is going to be moving forward. We won't have an idea of that until tomorrow evening."
Florida State (2-0) racked up 617 yards, including 377 on the ground.
The Seminoles were a little out of rhythm early, but responded in a big way. They scored the final 59 points, including four touchdowns on their first four possessions in the second half. None of those drives lasted more than two minutes, and the first two took a combined 33 seconds off the clock.
Nevada, meanwhile, managed just 71 yards over its final nine drives.
"We came out firing on all cylinders in the first half," said Brandon Wimberly, who had an 11-yard TD reception for Nevada's only score. "Of course, in the second half, we let off the gas. We have some missing parts. We really don't know where we stand."
Backup Devin Combs got the start and completed 6 of 9 passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. He was limping late in the first half and was replaced to start the third quarter.
"Devin thought he was going to give it a try, and looking at him move, it was clear that he was not healthy enough to go," Polian said.
Freshman Tyler Stewart played the second half, completing 7 of 15 passes for 49 yards, with an interception.
"By no stretch of the imagination are we making any excuses and we're not hiding from this," Polian said. "We are going to be honest about it and then we are going to bury it and we are going to get ready to play in our league."
Nevada opens Mountain West Conference play next week against Hawaii.
Fajardo threw for 164 yards in a 58-20 loss at UCLA. He also ran for 100 yards and two scores. But he injured his knee last week against UC Davis.
Florida State had much more success with Jameis Winston, who accounted for three touchdowns.
The freshman from Hueytown, Ala., completed 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score, capping a third-quarter TD barrage that turned a close game into a lopsided affair.
"We have great players on offense that can make big plays at any time," FSU running back James Wilder Jr. said.
The Seminoles thumped Pitt 41-13 on the road 12 days ago, a game in which Winston grabbed headlines with a 356-yard, four-TD passing performance that included a school record for completion percentage.
Some wondered what he would do for an encore.
Well, he had an early hiccup - a second-quarter interception that Nevada turned into a 7-3 lead - but he responded better than anyone could have expected. He completed his final 13 passes for 184 yards and two scores.
"When the adversity came, we knew we had to go higher," Winston said. "That's what most of the players were telling me, 'This prepared you for the future.' I was like, 'We don't want to see that in the future guys. ... We've got to start fast and keep grinding."'
"It's rough because you don't prepare going into a game with your third-string quarterback," Wimberly said. "But Tyler did good for the weapons he had available. He used those, but it just didn't come out how we wanted."
Nevada Post-Game Notes
vs. Florida State
Sept. 14, 2013
Nevada fell to 1-2 on the year with the loss to Florida State. The Wolf Pack is now 525-454-33 overall in hits history. Brian Polian is now 1-2 as a head coach and 1-2 at Nevada.
STARTS: Redshirt freshman running back Chris Solomon made his first career start while junior quarterback Devin Combs started his first game of the season and second of his career. Rykeem Yates started at defensive tackle ahead of Jack Reynoso.
SOLOMON OVER 100: Making his first career start, Chris Solomon topped the century mark with 110 yards on 26 carries. The redshirt freshman had a long run of 23 yards on the day.
This is the sixth straight game that Nevada has had at least one player go over the 100-yard mark. In that stretch, the Pack has had four different players do so - Stefphon Jefferson, Cody Fajardo, Kendall Brock and now Solomon.
WIM STREAK: Senior wide receiver Brandon Wimberly extended his nation's-best streak of consecutive games with a reception to 43 straight - all 43 games of his career.
Wimberly also caught his second touchdown of the season - and 12th of his career - in the first half as Devin Combs hit him from 11 yards out for Nevada's first touchdown of the game. Wimberly also had a touchdown last week against UC Davis.
KEETON'S PICK: Nevada's first-half touchdown was set up by Bryson Keeton's first interception of the season. Keeton returned the interception 10 yards to the FSU 28 to set Nevada up with great field position. Four plays later, Combs hit Wimberly for the score. The interception was the first career pick thrown by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
SACK MAN: Sophomore Lenny Jones registered his first sack of the season in the first quarter when he brought down Winston for an 11-yard loss. Jones is second on the team in career sacks with 7.0, one behind teammate and fellow defensive end Brock Hekking.
STEWART ENTERS: Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Stewart saw his first extended playing time of the season, which include a couple of firsts.
Stewart first career completion was a 4-yarder to Kolby Arendse. He finished the game 7-of-15 for 49 yards and an interception.
FIRST PICK: Stewart's interception was the first by a Nevada quarterback since last year's New Mexico Bowl. It was just the second turnover by Nevada this season.
QB LUNCH/RADIO SHOW: Monday marks the second Quarterback Club Luncheon of the year. Doors open at the Peppermill at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is $17. Coach Polian will introduce key players, recap tonight's game and preview the Florida State contest.
The Wolf Pack Coaches Show rolls on this Wednesday with the third edition of the season from the Little Wal at 7 p.m.
EXTRA POINTS: Florida State won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half ... Nevada received the opening kickoff and defended the south to open the game ... Running backs Kendall Brock and Don Jackson did not play ... Offensive lineman Zach Brickell did not make the trip due to illness ... Nigel Westbrooks made his debut as a kick returner with four returns for 99 yards ... Punter Chase Tenpenny averaged 45.9 yards per punt ... Jonathan McNeal led the team in tackles with 10.