Today’s lone bowl game; Quick Lane Bowl at Detroit’s Ford Field: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Western Michigan Broncos

Nevada (8-4) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 – 8 a.m. (PST)
Detroit, Mich. – Ford Field
TV: ESPN  (PxP – Bill Roth; Analyst – Dustin Fox; Sideline – Taylor McGregor)
Radio: 94.5 FM (PxP – John Ramey; Analyst – Mike Edwards)
 
RENO, Nev. – Nevada (8-4, 5-3), following a 52-10 rout of Colorado State (3-9) to end the regular season, was selected to compete in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, Dec. 27 at 8 a.m. PST. The Quick Lane Bowl will be broadcast on ESPN with Bill Roth (Play-by-play), Dustin Fox (Analyst), and Taylor McGregor (Sideline) on the call. The Wolf Pack faces the Western Michigan Broncos (7-5, 4-4) out of the Mid-American Conference for the first time in program history. Nevada earned a bowl berth for the fourth consecutive season and has a chance at nine wins for the first time since going 13-1 in 2010.
 
The Wolf Pack Radio Network will call the game as well on 94.5 FM with John Ramey (play-by-play) and Mike Edwards (analyst) in the booth, with the 60-minute pregame show to begin at 7 a.m. PST.
 
CARSON STRONG NAMED MWC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Mountain West Conference announced Nevada quarterback Carson Strong has been named Offensive Player of the Year. Nevada football has 15 players who earned 16 conference honors following a vote by head coaches as well as conference and media representatives. 
 
The Wolf Pack tied last seasons’ school record with 15 players earning 16 honors including four First Team, three on Second Team, and nine Honorable Mention. 
 
A noteworthy accomplishment as 10 players including Carson StrongRomeo DoubsCole TurnerAaron FrostDom PetersonSam HammondLawson HallJacob GardnerJermaine Ledbetter, and Tyler Orsini earn All-Mountain West honors for the second time in their careers. 
 
Back-to-Back MWC Offensive Player of the Year
Bradlee Van Pelt (CSU) – 2002-03
Andy Dalton (TCU) – 2009-10
Derek Carr – (FS) – 2012-13
Donnel Pumphrey (SDSU) – 2015-16
Carson Strong (NEV) – 2020-21
 
Strong guided the Wolf Pack to an 8-4 overall regular-season record and its fourth straight bowl appearance after setting a single-season program record with 36 touchdown passes. 
 
He finished the regular season with the most passing yards in the conference (4,715), which is also second all-time in a single season at Nevada. Strong is first in the conference and 8th in the nation with a 70.0 (212 of 303) completion percentage.
 
GOING FOR NINE WINS
Nevada opened its 2021 season with a 22-17 victory over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley on Sept. 4. Prior to the win over Cal, Nevada’s last road win at a Power 5 team also came at Cal when Nevada defeated the Golden Bears 31-24 on Sept. 1, 2012. After Cal opened the game with a 14-0 lead, Nevada scored 22 unanswered points to lead the remainder of the game. Carson Strong threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns, posting the ninth 300-yard passing game of his career. Kicker Brandon Talton recorded the 12th multi-FG game of his career after going 3-for-4 for Nevada. Romeo Doubs finished with six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, Cole Turner led all Pack receivers with seven catches (for 75 yards), and WR Tory Horton led the Pack with 94 receiving yards on three catches. Elijah Cooks recorded his first touchdown since the 2020 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Jan. 3, 2020. The Pack defense came up clutch to secure Nevada’s victory. Cornerback Isaiah Essissima, a transfer from Wake Forest, made his first interception in a Nevada jersey in his Wolf Pack debut, stopping a late fourth-quarter Cal drive with a pick. Sam Hammond and Daniel Grzesiak tallied sacks for the Pack, including Hammond’s 13-yard loss which resulted in a missed Cal field goal attempt. JoJuan Claiborne led the Pack defense with 10 tackles (eight solo), and shared a tackle-for-loss. 
 
Nevada handled business on Sept. 11 in its first home game of the 2021 season. The Pack defeated Idaho State, 49-10. Carson Strong powered the Pack offense, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Strong completed 34 of 43 passes, including two touchdowns to Elijah Cooks, who finished with seven receptions for 89 yards. Devonte Lee recorded a 2-yard  touchdown run late in the third quarter and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth. Cole Turner had a touchdown catch. Backup quarterback Nate Cox stepped in the game in the fourth quarter, delivering a 43-yard touchdown to Harry Ballard. 
 
Nevada dropped its first game of the season to No. 25 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., on Sept. 18. Despite the 38-17 final score being in favor of the Wildcats, the Pack and Kansas State began the fourth quarter tied at 17. WR Romeo Doubs made 7 catches for 121 yards for a season-high in yardage. His previous season-best was 83 yards on six receptions against Cal on Sept. 4. It marked his most receiving yards since he gained 133 yards on 5 receptions at Hawai’i on Nov. 21, 2020.
 
Nevada secured its first conference win of the season in Boise, Idaho, on Oct. 2. The Pack defeated the Broncos, 41-31, in a packed Albertson’s Stadium. Carson Strong threw for 263 yards and a touchdown while running back Toa Taua rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Nevada snapped its six-game losing streak to the Broncos, dating back to 2010. Nevada last won in Boise in 1997. Tristan Nichols forced a fumble on Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier. Then, five plays later, Taua punched it into the end zone from 12 yards out to give Nevada a permanent lead. Placekicker Brandon Talton had a strong game, going 4-for-4 in field goal attempts and 3-for-3 on PATs. 
 
Nevada picked up its fourth win of the season after cruising to a 55-28 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday.  Carson Strong threw a career-high six touchdown passes — four in the second quarter — and Nevada cruised to a 55-28 win over New Mexico State on Saturday night.
 
Strong, who did not play in the fourth quarter, finished 25-of-32 passing for 377 yards with one interception. His six touchdown passes were one shy of Nevada’s single-game record, and were the most by a Wolf Pack quarterback since Mike Maxwell twice tossed seven touchdowns in a game, against UNLV and Louisiana-Monroe, in 1995.
 
Nevada took the opening kick of the second half and Turner’s 3-yard scoring catch capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive that made it 38-3. Strong connected with Henry Ballard for a 33-yard touchdown about four minutes later and cornerback BerDale Robins ripped the ball from New Mexico State’s Jared Wyatt and raced 25 yards for a score to give Nevada a 52-3 lead going into the fourth quarter.
 
Carson Strong passed for 395 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns and Nevada pulled away after halftime to beat Hawaii 34-17 in Mountain West Conference play on Saturday.
 
The Wolf Pack (5-1, 2-0) scored first on a Brandon Talton 23-yard field goal midway through the first quarter, but the lead lasted just one play after Dae Dae Hunter took a first-down handoff and raced 75 yards to the end zone for Hawaii (3-4, 1-2). Nevada went up 10-7 on Toa Taua’s 6-yard TD run with 12:58 left in the second quarter, but again the lead lasted one play after Hunter took a first-down handoff 81 yards for a TD. The Wolf Pack answered with a 10-yard TD run by Taua for a 17-14 lead. Both teams added field goals before halftime.
 
Strong took over in the third quarter for Nevada, throwing scoring passes of 28 yards to Romeo Doubs a 3-yarder to Tory Horton as the Wolf Pack upped their advantage to 34-17 with 2:25 left in the period. Strong completed 34 of 54 passes. Cole Turner had a career-best 12 catches for 175 yards.
 
Fresno State defeated the Pack 34-32 on Oct. 23. Down 34-26, Nevada’s Carson Strong threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Cole Turner to cut the deficit to two points with two seconds left, but the 2-point conversion attempt was caught out of the back of the end zone. The Wolf Pack recovered the onside kick but time expired in the scramble for the ball.
 
Nevada football became bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season with a 51-20 win over UNLV. Carson Strong threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, Nevada’s defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
 
The Pack secured its 7th win of the season with a last-second game-winning 45-yard field goal by Brandon Talton to take down San Jose State 27-24. Nevada has matched its 2020 win total with seven wins (7-3) and sits at 4-2 in the conference after a two-point loss at SDSU (23-21).
 
The Wolf Pack snapped its two-game losing skid with a 52-10 rout of Colorado State to end the regular season 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play. The Pack held the Rams to 213 yards passing the ball and posted two interceptions in the game. 
 
WELCOME HOME, COACH WILSON 
Ken Wilson, with over two decades’ experience on the Nevada coaching staff and in administration, has been named Nevada Football’s 27th head coach, Nevada Director of Athletics Doug Knuth announced Dec. 10. 
  
“I couldn’t be happier about becoming the 27th head coach in Nevada football history,” Wilson said. “It’s a dream come true and a job that I have always hoped and worked toward becoming a reality like this is fantastic.” 
 
“Thank you to President Sandoval and Athletics Director Doug Knuth for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. Also, thank you to Chris Ault for giving me my start here and being a great leader and mentor to me.” 
 
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Wolf Pack football.”
 
Wilson possesses over three decades of coaching experience, including 19 years on the Nevada staff (1989-98, 2004-12), which included five seasons as associate head coach (2008-12) and four as defensive coordinator (1996-98, 2007). 
  
Wilson also coached the defensive line, linebackers, and safeties, during his time at Nevada. During his coaching tenures, the Wolf Pack reached a bowl game 11 times, including each of his last eight seasons, and captured two Western Athletic Conference titles (2005, 2010), five Big West Conference championships (1992, 1994-97), and two Big Sky Conference titles (1990-91) with Wilson on staff.
 
DOUBS, TURNER, STRONG ACCEPT SENIOR BOWL INVITE 
Nevada wide receiver Romeo Doubs, tight end Cole Turner, and quarterback Carson Strong have accepted an invite to play in the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5 in Mobile, Ala.  The game, which showcases the top NFL Draft prospects in the nation, will be televised on the NFL Network and will kick off at 11:30 a.m., Pacific Standard Time.
 
Romeo DoubsCole Turner, and Carson Strong have accepted an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl that has been played annually since 1950. 
 
Nevada is the only team in the Mountain West Conference with more than one player invited to the game this year. This year is the first time Nevada will have a player in the Senior Bowl since 2018. Nevada will have three players playing in the game for the first time in program history. Turner, Doubs, and Strong are the 8th, 9th, 10th players to represent Nevada in the Senior Bowl.
 
Doubs is second in the Mountain West Conference in receiving yards (853) and touchdowns (7) in 2021. He was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List (2020 & 2021), All-Mountain West First Team (2020), and All-Mountain West Honorable mention (2019). Doubs led the MWC in receiving yards in 2020 with 1,002, becoming one of 20 Nevada football players to record over 1,000 yards in a season. He and Turner tied for the lead in touchdowns within the conference (9) last season.
 
The senior wideout from Los Angeles, Calif., has reeled in 22-career receiving touchdowns tying him for 6th all-time in Nevada football history. This season, he tied a single-game program record with 19 receptions at Fresno State on Oct. 23.
 
Turner was on the Mackey Award and Biletnikoff Award watch lists prior to the start of the 2021 season and is second in the nation in touchdown receptions this year (8). Turner is fourth among tight ends nationally in receiving yards (618) and third among tight ends in receptions (55). He is sixth in the Mountain West Conference in receiving and leads the conference in touchdown catches.
The Clackamas, Oregon, product was named All-Mountain West First Team in 2020 after making 49 receptions for 605 yards and catching conference-best nine touchdowns. He has recorded 1,311 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns in his career.
 
Junior quarterback Carson Strong was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Dec. 16, after declaring for the NFL draft. Strong was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year after leading the circuit in passing yards and touchdowns. He led the nation’s fourth-best passing attack which paced the conference in points per game (36.7), passing yards (365.8), and touchdown passes (37). He was also named All-Mountain West First Team for the second straight season. 
 
Strong guided the Wolf Pack to an 8-4 overall regular-season record and its fourth straight bowl appearance after setting a single-season program record with 36 touchdown passes. He finished the regular season with the most passing yards in the conference (4,715), which is also second all-time in a single season at Nevada. Strong is first in the conference and 8th in the nation with a 70.0 (212 of 303) completion percentage.
 
Doubs, Turner, and Strong add their names to an exclusive list of Nevada football players who have been invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl:
 
Reese’s Senior Bowl 
1998: Deshone Myles and John Dutton
2011: Colin Kaepernick
2012: James-Michael Johnson
2013: Duke Williams
2014: Joel Bitonio
2018: Austin Corbett
2021: Romeo DoubsCole TurnerCarson Strong
 
TALTON NABS MW PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Brandon Talton is 55 made field goals after going 3-for-3 on field goals against UNLV. Talton kicked a 52-yard field goal which is the longest this season and second-longest of his career (56, 2019). It marked the fourth perfect kicking game of the season for Talton. UNLV’s win also secured Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week for Talton.
 
Talton is 5th in the nation in made field goals this season (19). 
 
OFFENSIVE POWER
The Wolf Pack features the 4th ranked passing offense in the country (365.8), and 37 passing touchdowns. 
 
Nevada leads the Mountain West Conference in offense scoring 36.7 points per game, which is 15th in the nation. 
 
QB Carson Strong posted the 6th-most passing yards in the FBS (4,175 leads MWC) and the 5th-most passing yards per game (347.9 – leads MWC). Strong finished the regular season tied for 6th with 36 passing touchdowns, tied for the lead in the Mountain West Conference. 
 
Strong is 7th in the nation in completion percentage (70.0), completing 366 of 523 pass attempts.
 
Strong has thrown 74-career touchdown passes which is 3rd all-time in Nevada history. He has thrown 36 touchdowns this season which is a new program record. 
 
FOURTH STRAIGHT BOWL APPEARANCE
Nevada is heading to a bowl for the fourth straight year after finishing the season moving 8-4 on the year with a 52-10 win over Colorado State. 
 
The Pack will take on Western Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 27 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. 
 
The Mountain West Conference has bowl tie-ins with the Los Angeles Bowl (12/18), Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (12/22), New Mexico Bowl (12/18), Arizona Bowl (12/31), SoFi Hawai’i Bowl (12/24), and the Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl (12/21).
 
TURNOVER TOWEL 
The Pack is 8th in the nation with 25 turnovers gained including 11 fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions. Nevada is 28th in the nation in interceptions with 13. 
 
Daiyan Henley is tied for third in the nation with four interceptions. Henley is tied for first among FBS linebackers with four interceptions. Tyson Williams is 33rd in the nation with three  interceptions and BerDale Robins is 135th in the country with two INTs. 
 
TURNER NAMED REESE’S SENIOR BOWL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior tight end Cole Turner was named the Reese’s Senior Bowl Offensive Player of the Week after a career-best performance against Hawai’i. Turner hauled in 12 receptions for a career-high 175 yards against the Rainbow Warriors.
 
STRONG WEEKLY HONORS
Nevada quarterback Carson Strong was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Monday, following a six-touchdown performance in the Pack’s 55-28 win over New Mexico State. In addition, Strong was also named to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list and Manning Award Star of the Week after his performance against the Aggies. 
 
Vacaville, Calif., native threw for 377 yards and six touchdowns while completing 25-of-32 passes against New Mexico State. 
 
The six touchdown passes marked a single-game career-high for Strong and is the most touchdowns thrown in a game by a Wolf Pack quarterback since Mike Maxwell threw seven touchdowns twice during the 1995 season against UNLV and Louisiana-Monroe. 
 
The 300-yard game was the 11th of Strong’s career, and his six touchdown passes came over a 52-point Nevada run in which the Pack erased a 7-0 first-quarter deficit to grab a 52-7 lead through three quarters. 
 
TALTON, TAUA SECURE MW WEEKLY HONORS
Place kicker Brandon Talton has been named Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week, while running back Toa Taua has been selected as Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday.
 
Talton went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts at Boise State, marking his first 4-for-4 performance since Sept. 14, 2019, against Weber State. Talton accounted for 14 of Nevada’s 15 points after going 3-for-3 on PATs. Talton made two 38-yard field goals, along with hitting one from 37 and another from 33. 
 
Taua led the Nevada rushing attack with a season-high 124 yards on 12 carries, averaging 10.3 yards per touch. Taua also punched the ball in the endzone twice and caught seven passes for 44 yards. In addition, Taua’s 124 yards marked his most on the ground since he rushed for 131 on Nov. 28, 2020, against Hawaii. 
 
THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE
Quarterback Carson Strong has racked up the preseason honors for the Pack. Most recently, Strong has been named a candidate for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Prior to his nomination for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Strong has also been named a candidate for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, CFPA National Performer of the Year Trophy, and Manning Award. Strong, a consensus pick to the Preseason All-Mountain West First Teams of Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, and Pro Football Focus (PFF), was the Mountain West’s top offensive player and the quarterback of the Mountain West’s top offensive player and the quarterback of the All-Mountain West First Team in 2020. He paced the conference in passing yards (2.858), passing touchdown (27), completion percentage (70.1), and ranked in the FB top 10 in completions per game (27.7, 2nd), passing yards per game (317.6, seventh), completion percentage (seventh), and touchdown passes (ninth), while coming in 11th in passing yards. He also finished the year with an interception rate of just 1.13, throwing just four picks over 355 over 355 attempts.
 
Carson Strong, the Mountain West’s first underclassman to win Offensive Player of the Year honors after he did, has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation following his sophomore season. Strong led the Mountain West in a number of categories including completion percentage (69.4), passing touchdowns (22), and passing yards (2,587), and ranked second in passing efficiency (155.6), passing yards per game (323.4), and total offense (310.9). All of those stats rank in the top 20 on a national level, including completion percentage, passing yards, and passing yards per game in the top 10.
 
In Nevada’s 2020 matchup against New Mexico, Strong saw his streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception come to an end in the second quarter at 299, a school record, and the second-longest streak in Mountain West history. Strong tossed a career-high five touchdown passes against Fresno State, becoming the ninth player in Nevada history, and first since Colin Kaepernick in 2010, to do so.
 
In his 2021 season debut against Cal, Strong went 22-for-39 with 312 yards and two touchdowns against Cal. The Vacaville, Calif., native tallied his ninth 300+ passing yard game of his career. 
 
Strong posted another career night in Nevada’s win over Idaho State, going 34-43-0 with 381 passing yards and four touchdowns. Strong also compiled a 70.1 passing percentage on the night. In Saturday’s victory, Strong recorded the 10th  300-yard passing game of his career. His 381 passing yards were part of Nevada’s 586 yards of total offense, helping the Pack hit the 500-yard mark for the first time since racking up 542 against Utah State on Nov. 5, 2020, and the Pack’s 586 yards was also Nevada’s highest output since going for 636 yards against Colorado State on Nov. 10, 2018. Saturday night marked Strong’s fourth career game with four or more touchdown passes.
 
Despite week three’s loss to Kansas State, Strong completed 27-of-40 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown. 
 
Against Hawai’i, Strong completed 34-of-54 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns. 
 
Strong posted a career night against Fresno State on Oct. 23. Strong passed for a career-high 476 yards and completed 49 passes which are the most in a single game in Nevada history. Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs also marked Strong’s fourth career, 400-plus passing yard performance. Strong posted the second 400-plus-yard passing game of the season (417) vs. UNLV and 5th of his career to lead the Pack to a 51-20 win. 
 
NEVADA EARNS 16 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE HONORS
Senior wide receiver Romeo Doubs was named First-Team All-Mountain West after finishing fourth in the conference in receiving yards (1,109) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (11). Doubs recorded the second-most receiving yards per game in the Mountain West (100.8).  He was tied for second with 7.3 receptions per game. Doubs also earned All-Mountain West First Team as a punt returner after leading the conference with 14.2 yards per punt return and a long of 47 yards for 170 total return yards.
 
Doubs finished fourth in the conference in receiving yards (1,109) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (11). Doubs recorded the second-most receiving yards per game in the Mountain West (100.8).  He was tied for second with 7.3 receptions per game. Doubs also earned All-Mountain West First Team as a punt returner after leading the conference with 14.2 yards per punt return and a long of 47 yards for 170 total return yards.
 
Defensive lineman Tristan Nichols earned All-Mountain West First-Team Defensive honors after finishing the regular season first in the conference in sacks (10.0). It marked a career-high for the graduate student from Kihei, Hawai’i. The 2021 season was a break-out year for the edge rusher that included a single-game career-high three sacks against Idaho State and a season-high five tackles at Colorado State to close the regular season.
 
The Saint Louis High School product recorded 28 total tackles of which, 10.0 were sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. Nichols also forced two fumbles and posted five quarterback hurries.
 
Tight end Cole Turner, offensive lineman Aaron Frost, and linebacker Daiyan Henley earn All-Mountain West Second Team honors. Turner led all tight ends within the conference with 10 touchdown catches. The touchdown reception mark was second among all pass-catchers in the Mountain West.
 
2021 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos.       Player                     Cl.          
QB          Carson Strong        Jr.          
WR         Romeo Doubs        Sr.          
 
DEFENSE
Pos.       Player                    Cl.          
DL          Tristan Nichols      Sr.         
PR          Romeo Doubs      Sr.         
 
2021 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos.       Player                 Cl.          
TE           Cole Turner       Sr.         
OL           Aaron Frost       Sr.          
 
DEFENSE
Pos.       Player                    Cl.          
LB           Daiyan Henley      Sr.         
 
2021 HONORABLE MENTION
Nevada: Jamaal Bell, KR; Gray Davis, OL; Jacob Gardner, OL; Lawson Hall, LB; Sam Hammond, DL; Jermaine Ledbetter, OL; Jordan Lee, DB; Tyler Orsini, OL; Dom Peterson, DL.
 
FOLLOW THE PACK
Follow Nevada Football on social media at @NevadaFootball (Twitter), @nevadafootball (Instagram), and on Facebook at @NevadaWolfPack
 

Ford Field entrance 2015 photo By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

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