No. 25 Toledo 40, Nevada 37 OT
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Wasean Tait, who scored three touchdowns in regulation time, plunged over from the 2 on Toledo’s first overtime possession and the No. 25 Rockets capped an unbeaten season Thursday night with a 40-37 victory over Nevada in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The first overtime game of a major college bowl ended quickly when Toledo needed only four plays to score a touchdown and overcome the field goal scored by Nevada on its first possession of overtime.
Tait ran the final two plays for Toledo, which moved 25 yards on its first overtime possession to win an offensive battle between the two high-powered teams.
Tait, the nation’s No. 2 rusher, set up his final run with a 10-yard scamper that gave the Rockets (11-0-1) a first down at the 2.
Nevada (9-3), which had the ball first in overtime, could manage only a 22-yard field goal on its only possession.
Under the new overtime rules in effect this season for major college bowl games, each team gets an equal number of chances to score from the 25 until one team wins.
The Las Vegas Bowl, which opens the major college bowl season, was played before a crowd of only 11,127 at the Sam Boyd Bowl.
Toledo, which forced six turnovers when the teams first met in September, gave the ball away four times itself in the rematch while Nevada did not turn it over at all.
One of the turnovers, a fumbled exchange between Ryan Huzjak and Tait, gave Nevada the ball at Toledo’s 4 and allowed the Wolfpack to tie the game 34-34 on a 26-yard field goal by Damon Shea with 9:28 left.
The high-powered offenses of both teams, however, then sputtered and neither team was able to score the remainder of regulation time.
Toledo led 21-7 midway through the second quarter and had a 34-24 lead after Tait went 26 yards untouched around right end on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Nevada was unable to stop Tait and Toledo’s offense the first three quarters, but the Wolfpack, which ranked first in the nation in passing and total offense, also moved the ball almost at will on its own.
Trailing 34-24, Nevada took the ball right back down the field on a 71-yard drive keyed by a series of catches by Alex Van Dyke, who set an NCAA single-season receiving record.
Kin Minor plunged for a 1-yard touchdown to bring Nevada to 34-31, and the Wolfpack tied the game less than two minutes later after recovering Tait’s fumble.
Nevada held Tait in check during the first quarter, allowing him only 7 yards rushing. But he ripped off touchdown runs of 18 and 31 yards in the second quarter as Toledo opened a 21-7 lead.
The Rockets were controlling the ball on the ground and appeared on the verge of breaking the game open when Huzjak fumbled the ball at midfield and Aaron Lozano recovered for Nevada.
The Wolfpack took advantage of the break, moving the ball 48 yards in seven plays, capped by Minor’s 1-yard plunge that brought Nevada to 21-14 at halftime.