Toa Taua, No. 35, walks across the endzone in Mackay Stadium. Taua wear grey football pants with blue jerseys. Behind Taua are multiple Nevada football players.
Ryan Freeberg/Nevada Sagebrush. Toa Taua scores a touchdown in Mackay Stadium. Against Fresno State on Saturday, Nov. 23, Taua carried the ball 20 times for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Toa Taua’s three-yard plunge with 12 seconds left lifted Nevada past Fresno State at 35-28 on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Bulldog Stadium. 

With the game tied 28-28, Nevada forced a stop and ran in the score to seal the victory for the Wolf Pack. Taua finished with a game-high 135 rushing yards with one touchdown on 20 carries. 

The victory pushes the Wolf Pack to 7-4 on the year. Nevada has one game left in the regular season against in-state rival UNLV on Nov. 30 at Mackay Stadium. 

The Pack’s balanced offensive attack helped them pull away from the Bulldogs in a hard-fought battle. Nevada had 408 total yards of offense on the night.  Redshirt freshman quarterback Carson Strong completed 20-31 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. 

Sophomore running back Devonte Lee finished with 77 rushing yards and one touchdown on four carries. Nevada rushed for 254 yards as a team. 

Wide receivers Romeo Doubs and Elijah Cooks were the primary targets out wide. Doubs hauled in six catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks had five catches for 60 yards and one touchdown. 

Nevada held Fresno State’s potent rushing attack to just 53 yards on the ground. Bulldogs running back Ronnie Rivers—who came into the game with 757 rushing yards—was held to just 20 yards on seven carries. 

Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna attacked Nevada through the air with 261 passing yards and three touchdowns to just one interception. 

Nevada opened the game with a 75-yard drive capped-off by Cooks’ 29-yard touchdown reception. The Wolf Pack topped it off with another score on their next possession to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

The Bulldogs tied the game with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Keric Wheatfall in the second quarter. Nevada’s second fumble of the game helped Fresno State take a 21-14 lead after tying the game up.

To close out the half, Bradon Talton attempted a 50-yard field goal, but it fell just short, keeping the Bulldogs’ seven-point advantage intact at the half. 

Fresno State came out of the locker room from halftime red hot, increasing their lead on a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The score increased their lead to 14 points. The Wolf Pack responded with a score of their own when Strong connected with Doubs on a five-yard score.

Nevada linebacker Lawson Hall intercepted Reyna at the Fresno State 31-yard line. The Pack took advantage with Lee’s 25-yard scamper to the end zone, tying the game 28-28 heading into the final quarter of play. 

Both defenses stood strong for much of the fourth quarter. The Wolf Pack forced three punts to give the offense good field position. Taua’s three-yard score secured the road win as Nevada heads back to Mackay Stadium for their regular-season finale.

The 7-4 Wolf Pack are already bowl eligible. One more win against the UNLV Rebels can potentially secure its second-straight bowl appearance.

Isaiah Burrows can be reached at or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.