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Nevada plays without Fajardo, loses 62-7 at FSU

By Mark Long

AP Sports Writer

LAST UPDATED: 5:36 p.m. HST, Sep 14, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. >> Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo gave UCLA some trouble in the season opener.

He was a non-factor against Florida State.

Fajardo sat out Saturday's 62-7 loss against the 10th-ranked Seminoles because of a sprained right knee.

Without him, the Wolf Pack (1-2) struggled to get much going on offense, which led to even bigger problems on defense.

"It was whether or not, frankly, he could protect himself," Nevada coach Brian Polian said. "We decided that he was not mobile enough, especially against a very, very athletic defense like this. ... I'm not going to guess as to what Cody's status is going to be moving forward. We won't have an idea of that until tomorrow evening."

Florida State (2-0) racked up 617 yards, including 377 on the ground.

The Seminoles were a little out of rhythm early, but responded in a big way. They scored the final 59 points, including four touchdowns on their first four possessions in the second half. None of those drives lasted more than two minutes, and the first two took a combined 33 seconds off the clock.

Nevada, meanwhile, managed just 71 yards over its final nine drives.

"We came out firing on all cylinders in the first half," said Brandon Wimberly, who had an 11-yard TD reception for Nevada's only score. "Of course, in the second half, we let off the gas. We have some missing parts. We really don't know where we stand."

Backup Devin Combs got the start and completed 6 of 9 passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. He was limping late in the first half and was replaced to start the third quarter.

"Devin thought he was going to give it a try, and looking at him move, it was clear that he was not healthy enough to go," Polian said.

Freshman Tyler Stewart played the second half, completing 7 of 15 passes for 49 yards, with an interception.

"By no stretch of the imagination are we making any excuses and we're not hiding from this," Polian said. "We are going to be honest about it and then we are going to bury it and we are going to get ready to play in our league."

Nevada opens Mountain West Conference play next week against Hawaii.

Fajardo threw for 164 yards in a 58-20 loss at UCLA. He also ran for 100 yards and two scores. But he injured his knee last week against UC Davis.

Florida State had much more success with Jameis Winston, who accounted for three touchdowns.

The freshman from Hueytown, Ala., completed 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score, capping a third-quarter TD barrage that turned a close game into a lopsided affair.

"We have great players on offense that can make big plays at any time," FSU running back James Wilder Jr. said.

The Seminoles thumped Pitt 41-13 on the road 12 days ago, a game in which Winston grabbed headlines with a 356-yard, four-TD passing performance that included a school record for completion percentage.

Some wondered what he would do for an encore.

Well, he had an early hiccup -- a second-quarter interception that Nevada turned into a 7-3 lead -- but he responded better than anyone could have expected. He completed his final 13 passes for 184 yards and two scores.

"When the adversity came, we knew we had to go higher," Winston said. "That's what most of the players were telling me, 'This prepared you for the future.' I was like, 'We don't want to see that in the future guys. ... We've got to start fast and keep grinding.'"

For Nevada, it's about starting over.

"It's rough because you don't prepare going into a game with your third-string quarterback," Wimberly said. "But Tyler did good for the weapons he had available. He used those, but it just didn't come out how we wanted."

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