RENO, Nev. (AP) _ John Dutton threw for three scores and Alex Gresham ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns to spark Nevada to a 66-28 victory Saturday over Boise State in the opening game for both teams in the Big West Conference.
Nevada’s defense contributed 14 points and sacked Boise State quarterback Tony Hilde six times for the Wolf Pack (4-2). It was the fifth straight loss for the Broncos (1-6).
This was Boise State’s first game in the Big West after 26 years in the 1AA Big Sky Conference. And it was a long afternoon.
Nevada outgained Boise 516 yards to 406.
The Wolf Pack on its first possession drove 62 yards with Dutton completing five passes for 45 yards, including a 7-yard scoring strike to Matt Kelly.
On Boise’s next possession, cornerback Darnell Hasson picked off a Hilde pass and ran 25 yards to put Nevada ahead 14-0.
Dutton connected with Greg Russell on a 50-yard scoring play to put Nevada up 22-0 by the end of the first quarter.
Hilde, who ended up completing 12 of 25 for 217 yards, got Boise on the board, hitting Ryan Ikebe on a 34 yard pass play and then connecting with Ikebe for 30 yards who made a diving catch in the end zone to narrow the gap to 22-8.
Nevada’s defense set up the next score by recovering Hilde’s fumble on the 18 yard line. Two plays later, Gresham scored the touchdown from 5 yards out.
Geoff Noisy caught a 17 yard touchdown pass from Dutton for a 36-8 lead, but the Nevada offense then stalled.
Ikebe returned the kickoff 73 yards. And Hilde hit Bryan Johnson on a 27-yard scoring pass to pull Boise to 38-14. Hilde drove the Broncos 80 yards with Reggie Etheridge scoring on a 1-yard run.
The Broncos opened the third quarter scoring on a 47-yard run by Etheridge as Boise State climbed to 38-28. Nevada countered with a 43-yard field goal by Damon Shea, his career high. And cornerback Don Morgan picked up a fumble and rumbled 81 yards to put Nevada up 49-28 and put the game out of reach.
Dutton completed 27 of 35 passes for 298 yards and no interceptions. Damon Wilkins had 13 catches for 121 yards for the Wolf Pack.
Ikebe ended up with five catches for 123 yards for the Broncos before being knocked out of the game in the third quarter when he was hit hard trying to catch a pass.
Etheridge carried the ball 18 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Hilde rushed for 80 yards in 15 carries, many of the runs on broken plays as he sped pass the linemen.