San Diego State failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line in the waning moments Saturday in Reno, losing 26-21 to unbeaten Nevada.

The Aztecs fell to 3-2 on the season, while the Wolf Pack improved to 5-0.

San Diego State led at halftime, 21-16, but Nevada shut them out in the second half to secure the win.

The team “stayed together, fought together, (but) just couldn’t get it done in the end,” coach Brady Hoke said after the game.

Quarterback Lucas Johnson threw for 184 yards and a touchdown in his first start in place of Carson Baker. He also ran for a 35-yard score. Jesse Matthews caught five passes for 80 yards for San Diego State, which lost to Nevada for a third straight time in the series.

Johnson, with less than 90 seconds left in the game, had a golden opportunity to put the Aztecs ahead, driving to the Nevada 4-yard line.

After two incomplete passes to Matthews and a rush by Chance Bell that resulted a one-yard loss,  29 seconds remained on the clock. Johnson though, threw incomplete to Kobe Smith, sealing SDSU’s fate.

A hamstring issue hampered Johnson though, Hoke said. Meanwhile, an ankle injury slowed Greg Bell, who finished with just 28 yards Saturday. He gained more than 100 yards in each of his first four starts for San Diego State.

Darren Hall led the Aztec defense with a career-high 11 tackles and an interception.

San Diego State may face Fresno State at 6 p.m. Friday, but the status of the game remains in doubt due to COVID-19.

The Mountain West conference canceled three games this week, including the contest between Fresno State and San Jose State. ESPN reported that contact tracing at Fresno State prompted the move.

– Staff reports

Note: Photo credit, @NevadaFootball, via Twitter

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