RENO, Nev. — Colby Cameron passed for three fourth-quarter touchdowns and Louisiana Tech stunned Nevada 24-20 on Saturday.
Cameron’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Taulib Ikharo with 51 seconds left completed the comeback in which the Bulldogs (7-4, 5-1 Western Athletic Conference) faced a 20-3 fourth-quarter deficit.
Tech will host New Mexico State at 3 p.m. Saturday at Joe Aillet Stadium with a share of the WAC title on the line.
Nevada (6-4, 4-1) could have clinched at least a share of the WAC title with a victory.
With Tech trailing 20-17, a Nevada punt pinned the visitors on their 7-yard line with 2:26 to play.
Facing a third-and-12 from the 5, Cameron found Hunter Lee for a 23-yard gain. Cameron then connected with Patton for 35 yards and Jaccari Jackson for 25 yards to give the Bulldogs a first down at the Wolf Pack 11.
After Lee gained 3 yards on first down, Cameron found Ikharo on a fade route for the game-winning score.
“To drive 93 yards for the game winner … that was awesome,” Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. “We never got into a flow in the first half. We are an offense where when we make a first down, the second one is easier and then the third one is easier. In the first half, we never made one. We misfired on everything.
“Once we got the momentum and made some plays, good things started happening.”
Nevada had one last opportunity, starting at its 21 with 47 seconds left. But Adrien Cole, who ended the night with 17 tackles, sacked Cody Fajardo on the last play of the game to secure the win.
Cameron also had a 14-yard touchdown pass to Myles White and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Patton in the fourth quarter.
Cameron finished 25 of 45 passing for 355 yards, including 237 yards in the fourth quarter.
Dykes credited his defense with a key role in the comeback.
“I talked (to the defense) the day before about not looking at the scoreboard,” he said. “Just hang in there and expect something good to happen. And that’s what happened. We will enjoy this (victory) until tomorrow and then all of our focus will be on New Mexico State.
“The more games you win, the bigger they become at the end of the day. Next week will be big.”
Nevada’s Fajardo rushed for 110 yards and passed for 212 and a touchdown.
Through three quarters, the Wolf Pack held Tech to 5 yards rushing and 123 yards of total offense.
Nevada led 7-0 at halftime, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Fajardo to Rishard Matthews with 45 second left in the first quarter.
The Wolf Pack went up 20-3 with 13:01 left in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Stefphon Jefferson.
Nevada’s Lampford Mark rushed for 109 yards.
Patton finished with seven catches for 162 yards and Ikharo had eight catches for 90 yards for Tech.