With 1:18 left in the game and Nevada still down by a touchdown, Combs connected with wide receiver Richy Turner on a 44-yard bomb. Turner split the Cowboy safeties and went in for the game-tying score. After the game headed to overtime, Combs hit receiver Aaron Bradley on a flag route for a 24-yard touchdown before the Wolf Pack defense clamped down on Wyoming to outlast the Cowboys for a 35-28 victory.
“It was a great team win,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “I thought our defense that second half played well. Offensively, we were just trying to find our way with Devin. He really struggled at first. I thought Devin, the last three minutes of the game, he stood up, and that’s what we expect out of him. We had everything happen in this game, and we found a way to win. It’s a pretty exciting time for him and to come out of it and have our team win a game like that in Mackay Stadium, being behind and having to comeback in the fourth quarter, that’s good stuff.”
After Fajardo left the game with bask spasms when he was driven into the turf as he threw an interception, the Wolf Pack offense sputtered.
While Fajardo was under center, Nevada put three scores on the board and totaled 277 yards, with 221 coming through the air. Once the quarterback left the game, the Wolf Pack failed to find the end zone with drives of 6, 66, 4, 8, 68 and 32 yards. While the lengthier possessions seemed promising, they stalled as a missed field goal, fumble and turnover on downs left the drives empty and allowed the Cowboys to grab a 28-21 lead with 13:07 to play in the game.
With the game on the line, the replacement QB stepped up and delivered for the Wolf Pack.
“I wasn’t very good pretty early, so I had to get settled down and start doing my job to be able to help out with the rest of the guys,” Combs said. “My confidence definitely started growing as the game went on… Everybody else was playing hard, playing well, so I had to just do my job.”
Taking the ball with 1:35 to play and looking to tie the contest, Combs dropped a pass into the arms of Turner for the 44-yard tying score just two plays and 23 seconds after starting the drive.
In overtime, Combs again needed just two plays to find the end zone as Bradley beat his defender to get open over the middle for the 24-yard winning touchdown.
“I tip my hat off to the kid,” Nevada defensive back Duke Williams said of Combs’ performance. “He came in and he wasn’t expected to play. He came in the game and we didn’t miss a beat. He played and he won the game for us. There’s more to come and he’s a great player. It just builds depth throughout our quarterbacks.”
To start the game, Wyoming grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Brett Smith to Robert Herron. Nevada answered with three straight scores on a 3-yard plunge by Nick Hale, a 13-yard reception by Zach Sudfeld and a 20-yard catch by Brock Kendall, putting the score at 21-7 with 9:50 left in the first half. The Cowboys answered with a trio of scores of their own to put the Wolf Pack in the 28-21 hole.
Combs finished the game 11-of-19 passing for 217 yards and two scores. Before he entered the game, Fajardo tallied 221 yards and a pair of TDs on 19-of-26 passing. On the ground, Stefphon Jefferson finished the night with 82 yards on 23 carries. Turner led the receiving corps with seven receptions and 150 yards while Bradley accounted for 111 yards on eight receptions.
Nevada improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain West on the season and will travel to its arch rival UNLV Saturday to try to keep the Fremont Cannon blue. Kickoff is set for Noon.