Saturday provided Nevada fans the first opportunity to gander at the new-look Wolf Pack.
First-year head coach Jay Norvell and green offensive coordinator Matt Mumme are amidst transforming Nevada from a run-first team to a unit that features the air-raid attack. Jeff Castell has been handed the task of plugging the Wolf Pack’s leaky defense with the 3-3-5 alignment. And a former Alabama quarterback David Cornwell got to show why he landed at the national power house in the first place.
An announced crowd of 3,100 at Mackay Stadium watched the Cornwell-led starters – the Blue team – score 49 answered to claim the annual Silver and Blue scrimmage 49-28 despite starting the game in a 21-0 hole.
Playing only the first half, Cornwell completed 22-of-33 passes for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He often targeted sophomore Brendan O’Leary-Orange, who wrapped up a strong spring season by grabbing 10 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.
The defense played its part as well. Incumbent starting quarterback Ty Gangi was susceptible to turning the ball over last fall and shades of the 2016 campaign resurfaced. Gangi threw a pair of interceptions to E.J. Muhammad in the second quarter and he returned them both for touchdowns of 37 and 18 yards.
Gangi finished 19-of-35 for 159 yards working with the No. 2s.
Norvell said Cornwell started separating himself in the QB competition in the final two weeks of spring practices.
Last year’s backup running back Jaxson Kincaide ran the ball five times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore middle linebacker Gabe Sewell led all tacklers with 12 and a sack.
Stud junior defensive end Malik Reed compiled three sacks.
Senior running back James Butler, last year’s leading rusher, and senior wide receiver Wyatt Demps, last year’s leading receiver, did not suit up for the scrimmage.
Nevada is coming off a 5-8 season that cost former coach Brian Polian his job after four seasons with the Wolf Pack.
The 2017 season starts Sept. 2 at Northwestern of the Big 10.
Before Saturday’s scrimmage, Nevada revealed next year’s uniforms. The team wore last year’s unis in the scrimmage.
— Nevada Wolf Pack (@NevadaWolfPack) April 29, 2017