LOGAN — Pretty soon, opportunity is going to stop knocking for Utah State. For the fourth time this year, the Aggies had a lead in the final quarter only to squander it.
Utah State led Nevada by four early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Leon Jackson III scored on a 10-yard run, but the Pack answered with a touchdown midway through the quarter to hold on for a 31-28 victory on Saturday.
The loss drops the Aggies to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in Western Athletic Conference play and extends their school-record losing streak to 13 games.
"We've already bought that ticket, and we've already seen that movie (four times)," Utah State football coach Brent Guy said. "It's a tough pill to swallow."
Despite being held to just 18 yards on 16 plays in the second half, the Aggies still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. With his team leading by four, linebacker Jake Hutton had a possible fumble recovery slip through his fingers midway through the fourth quarter.
On the same drive, the defense had a chance to stop Nevada on downs but couldn't hold on the fourth-and-one.
After Nevada scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Mike McCoy, Utah State's Kevin Robinson returned the kickoff to the Nevada 45. But the Aggies couldn't get into field-goal position after being sacked twice.
"That's what's killing us as a team," Hutton said, stating his team would have won if he'd recovered the fumble.
"We've got to step up and make that one play at the end of the game. Coach talked about it all day long — you don't know when it's going to come in the game, but playmakers need to step up and make plays."
Nevada, which trailed by seven at the half, made the plays down the stretch. Most notably, running back Luke Lippincott rushed for 188 of his 241 yards in the second half. On one scoring drive, he carried the ball 10 times for 73 yards.
"We had a much better second half offensively, and we had a very well-executed fourth quarter," Nevada coach Chris Ault said. "I think Kaepernick finally started to recognize what he needed to recognize, and we had a couple key play-action passes."
Essentially, the Pack (3-4, 1-2) kept the Utah State offense off the field.
In the second half alone, the Pack held the ball for 22:21 to Utah State's 7:39.
"In the third quarter we got dominated. There is no way around it," Guy said. "They ran the ball right down the field and ate the whole third quarter up on us."
The Aggies ran 10 plays for 34 yards in the third quarter, and six plays for a minus-16 yards in the fourth quarter.
"We couldn't hold on to it (the lead). It's hard for these guys, but it's on me," Guy said. "I've got to figure out a way to get these guys to make that (important) play."
The Aggies trailed 14-0 just minutes into the game but battled back with 21 unanswered points. Jackson had a 1-yard run, Derrvin Speight a 12-yard run and Robinson added an electrifying 70-yard punt return to give the Aggies the 21-14 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Pack tallied 298 yards total offense (472 for the game) to post the come-from-behind victory.
"I knew before the game that it would be a fourth-quarter game," Ault said. "You have to look at the games (Utah State) has played. They had Wyoming beat on the road, had UNLV beat at home and they had San Jose State beat here. They had them all beat."
Now Utah State will say it had Nevada beat as well.