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Provo • BYU's leading rusher, Jamaal Williams, did not play Saturday night against Nevada because of a sprained ankle.

It showed.

Without its usual ability to depend on Williams, BYU had to ride the arm of quarterback Christian Stewart. He threw for 408 yards and four touchdowns, but the Cougars failed to withstand the Wolf Pack's second-half rally and lost, 42-35.

While not 100 percent, BYU's rushing offense was surprisingly effective at times.

With Williams sidelined and backup Algernon Brown leaving with an ankle injury in the first quarter, the Cougars turned to Paul Lasike and seldom-used Nate Carter for balance.

Lisake, of course, is the Cougars' starting fullback.

But Carter?

Who would have guessed?

A 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior from St. George, he was never listed better than fifth at running back on BYU's preseason depth chart.

Carter performed well against Nevada, though. In the first half alone, he rushed five times for 52 yards. By comparison, he carried six times and for eight yards in the first six games of the season.

In Williams' absence, Carter's contribution was especially noticeable.

Williams had rushed for 219 yards in the Cougars' 28-23 win over Nevada last season and, considering the Wolf Pack's potent offense, BYU might have looked for another workman-like performance.

For a while, however, the situation seemed survivable. The Cougars ran 51 plays in the first half. Nevada managed only 37 and found itself trailing, 28-13.

Still, BYU had to pass its way to a 14-3 lead.

On their first scoring drive, the Cougars marched 97 yards but ran only three times on the 12-play drive. On the next possession, BYU drove 72 yards but ran only three times — all by quarterback Christian Stewart.

At that point, Carter became a factor.

Midway through the second quarter, he carried twice for 14 yards, helping BYU score again.

On the Cougars' final drive of the half, Lisake carried five times for 22 yards. Carter added runs of 22, 11 and five yards before BYU eventually scored on Stewart's 11-yard pass to Mitch Mathews.

During the 90-yard drive, the Cougars consumed four of the final five minutes. Lisake and Carter combined for 60 yards.

That kind of ball control was lacking in the second half. —-

BYU's rushing leaders against Nevada:

Player Attempts Yards TDs Longest Average

Nate Carter 7 87 0 22 12.4

Paul Lisake 12 46 1 9 3.8

Christian Stewart 15 42 0 12 2.8

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