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Kaepernick's injury costs the Wolf Pack

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
If Colin Kaepernick had played the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl healthy, it would have been a better game. But Kaepernick suffered a sprained ankle late in the first half and the Nevada offense suffered right along with him as the Wolf Pack lost to Maryland 42-35.

Prior to Kaepernick's injury, Nevada was right in the game, down 20-14 and moving the ball. But as soon as Kaepernick injured his ankle, the game changed. He couldn't make plays with his feet, which allowed the Maryland defense to drop back into coverage. Many of his passes sailed because he couldn't set his feet. Although Wolf Pack receivers were getting open, Kaepernick's accuracy was gone.

It's too bad Nevada's season had to end like this. It really seemed like the Wolf Pack were energized after they won their final game of the regular season and early it looked like they were going to challenge Maryland. But things got out of sync when Kaepernick was injured and even though he yielded some plays to backup Nick Graziano, it wasn't enough rest to get him moving again.

The loss means that the WAC goes 1-4 in bowl games in what could be considered one of the most disappointing seasons in the WAC since the 1970s. I know that statement might seem ridiculous considering Boise State's 12-0 regular season, but the Broncos couldn't beat TCU, ultimately the best team on their schedule.

Louisiana Tech, a team that started the season 2-3, earned the lone win for the WAC.

The WAC, which has been good in past years, lived up to everything every college football pundit said about it all season. The way the WAC performed during the bowl season merely strengthened the claim that Boise State didn't play a tough enough schedule to deserve a BCS bid.

So, I go back to what WAC commissioner Karl Benson said earlier in the season; the lower half of the WAC needs to provide more commitment to its programs to make the top better. I do believe that Boise State, Hawaii, and Louisiana Tech were among the better teams in the non-BCS this season, but playing weak competition gives those teams a false sense of confidence when it goes against some of the better teams around the country.