Lindsay Scott Jr. celebrated with the rest of his Incarnate Word team on Saturday night in Mackay Stadium in Reno and he had every reason to. The Cardinals quarterback had just led his squad, who went in ranked #8 in the FCS, to maybe their most impressive win in school history. He had strung together one heck of a game, throwing for four touchdowns, as UIW left Nevada stunned on the wrong end of a 55-41 shootout. It may have been the Cardinals' finest hour.
Despite their eventual success, the game got off on the wrong foot for Incarnate Word. On just their second play from scrimmage, Marcus Cooper fumbled and gave the ball to Nevada. The Wolfpack promptly marched into field goal range and hit a 34-yard kick to make things 3-0.
Not long after that, Scott made his one true error of the night and threw an interception on his first snap of the ensuing drive. Nevada again capitalized and scored a touchdown to go up 10-0 early. Everything was going wrong for the visitors and it seemed as though the Pack were brewing a blowout.
It wasn’t until Isaiah Paul jumped on a fumble from Nevada’s Jamaal Bell late in the first that things started to turn around for the Cardinals. They got a field goal off that turnover then matched the Wolfpack’s second touchdown with one of their own.
In the second frame, Scott hit receiver Darion Chafin for a big 77-yard gain that set up his first touchdown of the evening, a short one-yard dart to Roger McCuller.
Trailing 16-17, the UIW defense buckled down and stopped Nevada on fourth down. With the ball back, Scott and company drove down to the Nevada 18-yard line before Jarrell Wiley gave them the lead with a touchdown run. When halftime hit, Incarnate Word led 24-17.
The Wolfpack’s confidence was beginning to get rattled and on the first drive of the second half it showed. Linebacker Kelechi Anyalebechi scooped up a fumble from Chris Wittaker and rumbled 59 yards the other way for six. UIW now held a 31-17 advantage.
Following another Nevada drive that yielded nothing, the Cardinals scored again to go up by 21, their largest lead of the night. If the Pack was shaken before, they were all but coming apart by this point. UIW had once trailed by ten and now were on the verge of pulling off the big upset.
Late in the third quarter, however, Nevada started to creep back in. Quarterback Nate Cox connected with Toa Taua to cut the deficit 38-24 and breathe some life back into the home crowd.
The two teams traded field goals as the fourth began but then Scott began to put the game on ice. He and the offense drove 75 yards in just six plays to score the sixth UIW touchdown of the night, this one a 10-yard catch by Marcus Cooper. It was the seventh and final touchdown to Chafin that sealed it. Scott’s 41-yard bomb put the Cardinals up 55-41, the score that would be the eventual final.
Scott was on fire, throwing for 406 yards and completing 18 of his 25 throws. He spread the ball to just five different receivers but Chafin by far was the most utilized. The senior wideout hauled in seven passes for a whopping 262 yards and two scores. Taylor Grimes had six catches for 101 yards right behind him.
Nevada’s struggled greatly, giving up 616 total yards and an average of 16.2 per pass. They allowed UIW to convert on 50% of their third downs (7-of-14).
All of that led to a historic night for the Cardinals who have now put up 119 total points in their first two games of the season. Scott already has 797 passing yards and ten touchdowns to his name in 2022. There is no sign of slowing down and now it’s quite clear: UIW is going to be a problem in the FCS this season.
They will face Prairie View A&M next Saturday.