AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Ty Gangi’s worst moment in the game was fleeting, and no match for the best that was yet to come.
Gangi threw for four touchdowns, three of them after a demoralizing pick-6, and Nevada held off a late Air Force rally to beat the Falcons 28-25 on Saturday.
"Ty is a senior and he's been in a lot of tough games, had ups and downs," Nevada coach Jay Norvell said. "But he just continued to believe in himself and our team and that was really important, to play through that adversity."
Gangi completed 24-of-33 for 259 yards with scoring passes of 40 and 23 yards to Elijah Cooks, 29 yards to McLane Mannix and 30 yards to Brendan O'Leary-Orange. Nevada (3-2, 1-0 Mountain West) withstood Zane Lewis' school-record 99-yard interception return in the second quarter to win its conference opener and beat Air Force (1-3, 0-2) for the first time in three trips to Falcon Stadium.
"I've been taught and I've learned through this position that you have to have a short memory," Gangi said. "No matter what happens, even after throwing for a touchdown, you have to have a short memory, come back the next play and play every play and just really move on to the next play."
The steely approach helped Nevada snap its eight-game road losing streak and marked Norvell's first win away from home since he became Nevada's coach before the 2017 season.
"Hopefully, this is the first of many and we keep that rolling," Gangi said.
Nevada's defense also did its part, digging in to turn back the Falcons in the final minutes. Donald Hammond III, who had replaced starting quarterback Arion Worthman midway through the third quarter, drove the Falcons deep into Nevada territory but threw incomplete into the end zone under pressure on a 4th-and-8 play from the 11-yard line with 1:16 remaining.
Nevada ran off most of the clock before deliberately taking a safety and kicking the ball back to the Falcons with 10 seconds left to play. Hammond got off two passes before time expired — both fell incomplete.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said he liked the way his team fought back in the second half.
"Obviously, there was a clear difference between the two halves," he said. "You've got to play well for an entire game and no way did that happen."
Trailing by 14 at the half, Air Force opened the second half by driving to the Nevada 26 before stalling and settling for a 43-yard field goal by Jake Koehnke.
Nevada answered with another pass by Gangi, connecting for a second time with Cooks to rebuild the Wolf Pack's lead to 28-10.
Hammond replaced Worthman at quarterback and led the Falcons to their first offensive touchdown of the day, completing a 2-yard scoring pass to Marcus Bennett and narrowing Air Force's deficit to 11 points late in the third quarter. He finished off a second drive with a 9-yard scoring run that pulled Air Force to within 5 points with 6:48 remaining after Nevada stopped a 2-point conversion try.
Nevada: Despite a couple of turnovers, Gangi kept his composure and found enough seams in the Air Force secondary to make the critical connections for scores with his receivers. Nevada's offense scored just enough over a scrappy Air Force team to carry the Wolf Pack across the line.
Air Force: The Falcons' quarterback position may be in flux. Worthman lost two fumbles and was ineffective for a good portion of the time he was in before being replaced by Hammond. Hammond led the way to the Falcons' two offensive touchdowns on the day.
Nevada: Opens its home conference schedule by hosting Fresno State on Saturday night.
Air Force: Hosts service rival Navy on Saturday.