With the 31-24 win over Cal, Nevada opened the season with a win for the second time in three years. The win moved Nevada’s all-time record to 511-441-33 and Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault saw his record move to 227-103-1.
OPENERS: Nevada is now 59-44-3 all-time in season openers and Ault is 17-11. More importantly, Nevada broke a stretch of bad luck in season openers on the road. Going into today’s opener at Cal, Nevada was 0-for-13 in season openers on the road. The Pack’s last season-opening win on the road was 1987 when the Pack won at Eastern Washington, 40-26.
VS. BCS: Nevada’s win today marked the Pack’s fifth win over a BCS school and third since the start of the 2010 season. The Wolf Pack beat Washington in 2003, Northwestern in 2006, Cal in 2010 and Boston College in 2010. Nevada will have another opportunity next week when South Florida of the Big East comes to Mackay Stadium.
FAJARDO SHINES: Sophomore quarterback Cody Fajardo was brilliant on Saturday, completing 25-of-32 for 230 yards. He also ran 21 times for 97 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown. Fajardo commanded the offense to the tune of 450 yards of total offense. Fajardo connected on his first seven attempts in the game for 51 yards. Fajardo his six different receivers during the game and each target had at least three catches.
WIM RETURNS: Brandon Wimberly missed all of the 2011 season due to injury but his senior season got off to a solid start on Saturday. Wimberly led Nevada in receiving with 7 catches for 83 yards. Five the catches went for first downs but none was bigger than his last catch – a 19-yarder on third-and-9 that took Nevada to the 2-yard line, setting up Stefphon Jefferson’s game-winning score. Wimberly has now caught a pass in every game of his career, a stretch of 28 straight that is the sixth-longest streak in the nation.
PBUs: Last year, Nevada’s Isaiah Frey was second in the nation in pass breakups and led the nation in passes defended. Though Frey is off to the NFL, the Pack secondary picked it up on Saturday against Cal, breaking up seven passes, including two each by Boughton and Garrett.
JEFFERSON ERUPTS: Junior Stefphon Jefferson claimed the starting job at running back in fall camp and he showed no signs of letting go of it. Jefferson was the only running back who carried the ball and he had 145 yards on 34 carries with three touchdowns to lead the way. It was Jefferson’s third 100-yard game of his career and his first three-touchdown game. It was his first-multi-touchdown game since the New Mexico State game (Oct. 29) last season.
STARTS: Five Wolf Pack players made their first career start on Saturday. They were: Matt Galas, Brock Hekking, Jordan Hanson, Lenny Jones, Bryan Lane Jr. Overall, Nevada had 10 new starters in the game.
DEBUTS: A number of players saw their first collegiate action for the Pack on Saturday, including: Markus Smith, Reggie Coates, Burton De Koning, Richy Turner, Bryson Keeton, Bryan Lane Jr., Arthur Forrest II, Danny DeCarlo, Chase Tenpenny, Josh Wiley, Cortez Woods, Jordan Dobrich, Jonathan McNeal, Connor Talbott, Tyler Houk, Lenny Jones and Fred Lavulo.
EXTRA POINTS: Nevada won the toss and deferred to the second half … Cal received the opening kickoff and defended the south goal to start the game … Nevada opened in a two-tight end set with Kolby Arendse getting the start … Chris Barker started his 41st straight game, all 41 games of his career … the game was the first in the new renovated Memorial Stadium and Jefferson’s 2-yard TD run in the first quarter was the first score in the new stadium … Nevada is now 1-0 as a Mountain West school.