Nevada’s Justin Lockhart (left) and Romeo Doubs celebrate Doubs touchdown in the second quarter of Nevada’s 34-9 win over Utah State on Thursday night.
Nevada’s Justin Lockhart (left) and Romeo Doubs celebrate Doubs touchdown in the second quarter of Nevada’s 34-9 win over Utah State on Thursday night.
RENO — They are happy on North Virginia Street that a college football season kicked off a few weeks ago.

The once on, then off and back on in the spring and back on in the fall football season, sees the University of Nevada at 3-0 for the first time since 2010 after dismantling Utah State 34-9 this past Thursday in Reno.

It’s the first time the Wolf Pack has been 3-0 in conference play since 2009, when they were a member of the WAC.

Nevada got off to a slow start on a short week, trailing 9-0 in the first quarter, before cruising the rest of the way. Just two days after the loss, Utah State fired coach Gary Anderson.

“I was really pleased with the way our players handled the short week and preparation,” said Nevada head coach Jay Norvell. “There was a lot going on with practice and the election. We had to get a waiver to practice because of the election. It was a lot of different things going on. They (Utah State) showed us some different things defensively and our kids had to adjust to that.”

After trailing 9-0 in the first quarter, it was the Carson Strong and Romeo Doubs show for Nevada.

The duo connected for the first of three consecutive touchdowns on a 42-yard pass on fourth down with 1:38 left to play in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter — the two got back together on a 3-yard pass play on fourth down to give Nevada its first lead of the night at 14-9.

After forcing Utah State to punt again, Strong and Doubs found the end zone on a 54-yard pass that Strong perfectly placed in Doubs arms. That gave Nevada a 21-9 lead, which they took into halftime. 

“We’ve run that play a few times,” said Strong. “I’m just reading the safety to see if he attaches to Cole (Turner). After that read, I’m looking to at the post over the middle.” 

Doubs, who entered the game leading the nation averaging 168 receiving yards per game, finished with 137 yards on seven receptions and snagged a career-high three TD receptions, all in the first half.

Doubs now has seven 100-yard performances in his career, including a stretch of three consecutive.

After allowing the 61-yard scoring drive by Utah State in the first quarter, the Nevada defense held the Aggies to -1, 13 and 25 yards on the final three drives of the first half.

Utah State was held to just 210 yards of total offense in the game. Meanwhile, Nevada finished with 542 yards, as the daunted air raid offense is getting in gear.

“Our defense was excellent in third down and getting them off the field. “They managed their offense really well,” said Norvell. 

Nevada added its final touchdown of the night four minutes into the third quarter on a 15-yard run by Toa Taua. Taua finished the night with 12 carried for 112 yards.

“I am really happy for Toa,” Norvell said. “Toa, I think he had seven catches and over 100 yards rushing. Really, really good night for Toa.” 

Strong finished the night 36-for-52 for 411 yards and three touchdowns.  Strong has thrown 350 yards or more in five consecutive games, including three 400-yard performances. He now has nine touchdown passes through three games, he threw 11 in 10 games in 2019.

Sophomore WR Justin Lockhart posted six receptions in the game for a career-high 95 yards, falling just five yards shy of his first career 100-yard game.

Junior QB Nate Cox, a transfer in the offseason, made his Wolf Pack debut late in the fourth and completed 1-of-2 pass attempts for 10 yards.

Nevada will look to remain undefeated, with a trip to Las Vegas to play New Mexico. New Mexico has been forced to play its home games in Las Vegas due to New Mexico health orders due to Covid-19. The game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on FS2.

“It kind of goes with this whole year,” said Norvell. “We just have to deal with what is given to us that week. We’re going to be going back to the same hotel we were at a week ago.”