Ohio’s potent rushing attack held off Nevada’s late comeback bid in a 30-21 loss on Friday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.
The Bobcats’ 288 rushing yards limited Nevada’s 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Ohio dominated the line of scrimmage for most of the contest, but the Wolf Pack’s resilience came alive in the second half.
After a late-season push to become bowl eligible, Nevada ended the year with a 7-6 record and 4-4 in conference. It was the football team’s second straight bowl appearance under third-year coach Jay Norvell, who has led the Pack to two-straight winning seasons.
The Wolf Pack haven’t won at Albertsons Stadium — home of the Mountain West Conference rival Boise State Broncos — since 1997.
Ohio of the Mid-American Conference had 432 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke threw for 144 yards. The mobile signal caller added 87 rushing yards and one touchdown. Running backs De’Montre Tuggle and Julian Ross combined for 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman kicker Brandon Talton — who opened the season with a 56-yard game winning field goal against Purdue — ended the year with a 51-yard attempt for the longest field goal in Nevada bowl history. Talton finished with three made field goals for the game.
Nevada had 430 yards of total offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback Carson Strong completed 31-of-49 passes for a career-high 402 yards with one touchdown and one fumble. Wide receiver Elijah Cooks hauled in a career-high 14 catches for 197 receiving yards and one touchdown.
The Wolf Pack couldn’t match Ohio’s efficiency on the ground. Toa Taua had a team-high 48 rushing yards on six carries. Devonte Lee added nine rushing yards and one touchdown.
Nevada’s fourth quarter defense was stout, forcing two turnovers and a pair of punts. Defensive tackle Dom Peterson forced a strip-sack of Rourke.
The Wolf Pack opened the contest with Talton’s 51-yard field goal. Ohio kicker Louie Zervos’ 29-yard field goal tied the game at 3-3.
Ohio running back Julian Ross scored on a 12-yard touchdown put the Bobcats ahead 10-3 early in the second quarter. The two teams traded field goals during the final minutes of the first half, Ohio led 20-9.
Ohio continued its dominance in the second half, scoring on two-straight possessions to lead 30-9 heading into the fourth quarter. But Nevada answered in the final quarter of play.
Strong’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Cooks trimmed into Ohio’s dominant lead. Peterson’s strip-sack on the ensuing possession led to Lee’s two-yard touchdown to bring Nevada to a score of 30-21.
Nevada couldn’t complete the comeback. The Wolf Pack fumbled on their ensuing possession and turned it over on downs to help Ohio secure the victory.
— Isaiah Burrows