Thursday, March 3, 2011
Non-AQ Top 25 Players: No. 13
By Andrea Adelson
Here we have another story of redemption. This player quit the team as a freshman before tearfully asking for a second chance. He got it, and ended up becoming a part of one of the most prolific rushing duos in NCAA history.
Vai Taua finished a career season with 1,610 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
It is safe to say that nobody quite knew what to expect out of Nevada going into 2010. The Wolf Pack had a mature team returning, one that featured two senior players in Colin Kaepernick and Taua ready to run the pistol offense. But nobody could have envisioned they would run it as perfectly as they did.
Taua proved to be the perfect back in 2010, rushing for a career-high 1,610 yards -- despite missing one game with an ankle injury. He ranked No. 7 in the nation, averaging 123.85 yards a game and had nine 100-plus yard games. He also tied for second in the nation with 19 rushing touchdowns, behind LaMichael James with 21.
You can talk about the system all you want, but he did not put up these stats in the same system as a junior. He and Kaepernick meshed together just perfectly, and that allowed the Wolf Pack to win a share of the WAC championship and post the best record in school history. Taua was an All-WAC first-team selection. Not bad for a player who wanted to quit.