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Oct. 6, 2012
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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Backup quarterback Devin Combs hit Aaron Bradley with a 24-yard touchdown pass in overtime and Nevada came from behind to beat Wyoming 35-28 on Saturday.
In a strange game that saw both teams lose their starting quarterbacks, the Wolf Pack tied the game in the final seconds of regulation as Combs connected with Richie Turner from 44 yards out to tie the score at 28.
Nevada (5-1, 2-0 Mountain West) led 21-7 in the second quarter when starting quarterback Cody Fajardo went down with back spasms with 5:04 left to play. He did not return.
Nevada coach Chris Ault praised Combs, a sophomore who finished 11 of 19 for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
"It took Devin some time to find himself, but he did and I'm proud of him," Ault said. "To bring this team back in the fourth quarter and then win this thing, that was pretty special."
Fajardo was 19 of 26 for 221 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. His 20-yard scoring pass to Kendall Brock put Nevada ahead 21-7 with 9:50 left in the first half.
Wyoming (1-4, 0-1) came back behind quarterback Brett Smith, who was ejected with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter after receiving a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Smith's 8-yard touchdown run with 13:07 left in the game had given the Cowboys a 28-21 lead. He received his first unsportsmanlike penalty after the touchdown for taunting.
The second came on the Cowboys' next drive when Smith protested a Nevada defensive holding penalty that was waved off by the officials.
Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was critical of the call.
"Guy's running off the field, 3 yards from the sidelines running off the field, takes his helmet off and you're going to throw a flag on him," Christensen said. "Kick him out of the game? That's unbelievable."
Smith was 21 of 34 for 197 yards and three touchdowns. His replacement, Jason Thompson, was 1 of 6 for 10 yards.
Nevada had the ball first in overtime, starting at the 25. After rushing for 1 yard on the first play, Combs hit Bradley cutting across the middle from 24 yards out.
Wyoming then took over at the 25 and after Thompson rushed for 1 yard on the first play, he threw three consecutive incomplete passes to end the game.
The Cowboys held Wolf Pack running back Stefphon Jefferson, the nation's leading rusher entering the game, to 78 yards on 23 carries, nearly 100 yards fewer than his season average of 174.
"I think our guys did a nice job stepping up against the run, but gave up far too many passing yards," Christensen said."
Nevada vs. Wyoming
Oct. 6, 2012
With the win over Wyoming on Saturday, Nevada improved to 515-442-33 all-time and Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault saw his record go to 231-104-1.
Nevada won its second-straight overtime game and improved to 4-1 in overtime games overall under Chris Ault in its FBS history and 4-2 overall in its FBS history in overtime games.
COMBS TO THE RESCUE
With starting quarterback Cody Fajardo knocked out of the game late in the second quarter, backup Devin Combs brought the Pack back for the victory. Combs, who played one season in junior college before coming to Nevada and redshirting in 2011, entered the game having never attempted a pass at the FBS level. He completed 11-of-19 for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
His first career touchdown pass came with 1:18 left in the game and tied the game. Combs drove the Pack 59 yards in 17 seconds, hitting Richy Turner from 44 yards out for the score. On Nevada’s second play of overtime, Combs threw a bullet to Aaron Bradley from 24 yards out for what proved to be the game-winner.
Combs also ran 11 times for 38 yards.
Nevada now has back-to-back second-half comeback victories this season. A week after coming back from a 21-20 deficit to Texas State to win, the Wolf Pack erased a 28-21 hole against Wyoming to beat the Cowboys.
Nevada coach Chris Ault now has 38 come-from-behind wins in his Hall of Fame career, including four since the start of the 2011 season. Ault, of course, was the first to engineer the greatest comeback in the history of the NCAA when he guided the Pack back from a 35-point deficit against Weber State in 1991.
TURNER, BRADLEY TOP 100
Sophomore Richy Turner matched a career high with seven catches on Saturday and set a career high with 150 yards receiving, including a touchdown. Sophomore Aaron Bradley topped Turner in catches with a career-high eight receptions, and he recorded 111 yards receiving in the game.
It marked the first career 100-yard receiving game for Turner and Nevada’s second in as many games as Brandon Wimberly topped the century mark last week at Texas State. The 150-yard game is a season high for Nevada and the most by a Pack player since Rishard Matthews had 205 yards against Utah State last November.
It was the second 100-yard game for Bradley, who had 136 yards in a win over Idaho last year. After a slow start to the season, Bradley caught his second touchdown in as many games. This score was the game-winner – a 24-yard strike from Combs in overtime.
Turner also recorded the longest reception of his career, a 71-yarder from Devin Combs in the fourth quarter. Turner nearly scored on the play but was ruled to have stepped out at the 6-yard line.
Nevada entered the game with a 14-game streak with at least one 100-yard rusher but that came to an end as Nevada has just 127 rushing yards as a team and junior Stefphon Jefferson tallied just 78 yards on the ground. The 14-game streak was by far the longest active streak in the nation and marked the longest of Nevada’s FBS history (1992-). Nevada’s school record is 24 straight games from 1978 through the end of the 1980 season and featured College Football Hall of Famer Frank Hawkins.
SUDFELD SCORES AGAIN AND AGAIN
Senior tight end Zach Sudfeld entered his sixth year at Nevada without having ever scored a touchdown. Now he has six in his last five games.
Sudfeld did not have to wait long to extend his scoring streak as he caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cody Fajardo early in the second quarter to give Nevada its first lead of the game at 14-7. Sudfeld caught the short pass and then raced toward the goal line, leaping over a Wyoming defender to get into the end zone.
His first career touchdown came in week two against USF came when he jumped on top of a Fajardo fumble in the end zone. In week three against Northwestern State, Sudfeld caught his first TD pass – a 25-yarder from Fajardo.
In the third quarter against Hawaii, Sudfeld made it three-for-three, hauling in an 8-yard TD pass from Fajardo as part of his three-catch, 41-yard night. In week five against Texas State, Sudfeld caught a 9-yard pass from Cody Fajardo in the first quarter for Nevada’s first touchdown of the game. Just before halftime, Sudfeld caught a 2-yard pass for his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
EXTRA POINTS: Nevada won the toss and deferred to the second half … Wyoming received the opening kickoff and defended the north goal to start the game … Nevada opened in a single-tight end set and started with three wide receivers (Wimberly, Bradley and Turner) for the first time this year … Chris Barker started his 46th straight game, all 46 games of his career … Redshirt freshman Lenny Jones registered his first career two-sack game and he now has three on the year … Cody Fajardo entered the game with 2,951 passing yards and topped the 3,000-yard mark with his 221 through the air before leaving with injury … Nevada started its sixth different combination in the secondary in six games … The 438 yards passing were the most by Nevada since last year’s 459-yard effort against UNLV, which Nevada will play next week … Kendall Brock scored his first touchdown of the season on a 20-yard pass from Fajardo … Brandon Wimberly caught six passes for 67 yards and extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 33 – all 33 games of his career.