RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Jeff Rowe passed for 204 yards and two
touchdowns and ran for a third while B.J. Mitchell ran for a
career-high 150 yards and two scores as Nevada beat Hawaii 38-28
Saturday in the Western Athletic Conference.
Kamehameha Schools graduate Caleb Spencer caught two touchdown
passes and Robert Hubbard added 88 yards rushing for the Wolf Pack
(5-3, 4-1 in the WAC), who are bidding for their first winning
season since 1998.
Hawaii freshman Colt Brennan completed 29-of-43 passes for 409
yards and three touchdowns, but he was sacked five times and
intercepted once. Freshman Davone Bess had 12 catches for 171 yards
and a touchdown for the Warriors (3-6, 3-4 in the WAC), who needed
a victory to keep alive any hopes for a bowl berth.
Rowe, a junior who has passed for more than 200 yards every game
this year, surpassed the 2,000 mark for the season for the second
year in a row, now 2,065. He completed 20-of-36 attempts with no
interceptions, after having thrown four last week in a 49-14 loss
at Boise State.
"That was on the top of my goal sheet: no turnovers, especially
after Boise. That was huge," Rowe said.
"We ran the ball well, especially that last 6-minute drive.
There are always things you can improve on but I think we played
pretty well," he said.
The Wolf Pack's 4-1 league mark is their best since they
finished 4-1 in the Big West Conference in 1997. It keeps them
alive for a possible bowl berth with road games next at New Mexico
State and Utah State before closing the season at home against
"Nothing makes up for the Boise game, but we played well and
did what we had to do to win... We still have a long row to hoe,"
Nevada coach Chris Ault said.
"Running the ball was difference in ball game. I think our
offensive line did a great job and our running backs ran well," he
It was the fourth game over 100 yards this year for Mitchell,
who impressed Hawaii coach June Jones.
"We had guys in position to defend. But that little running
back is tough to bring down sometimes. They do a nice job with what
they do and they were better than us today," Jones said.
"Turnovers at the end really caught up with us. We had many
opportunities that we didn't convert on," he said. "We have our
last three games at home and we have to make something happen."
Nevada led 17-14 at the half and went ahead 24-14 early in the
third quarter when Spencer made a one-handed catch in the end zone
on a 14-yard toss from a scrambling Rowe.
"That one catch, that touchdown, that's as good a catch as I've
seen," Ault said. "When you are not playing well somebody has to
step up and Caleb did that."
Spencer said it was special facing the school from his home
"It's always good to beat them," he said. "It's kind of my
rivalry game. I look forward to this a lot."
Hawaii answered Spencer's TD with a 74-yard scoring drive capped
by Brennan's 22-yard TD pass to Ryan Grice-Mullen to pull within
24-21 with 8:06 left in the third.
But the Warriors missed a chance to score on their next
possession when a wide open Grice-Mullen dropped a long pass from
Brennan at Nevada's 10-yard line.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Nate Ilaoa caught a
screen pass but Nevada's Erics Clark knocked the ball loose and
Ezra Butler recovered at Hawaii's 38. Hubbard ran 19 yards and four
plays later Mitchell scored on a 6-yard run to put Nevada up 31-21
with 11:34 left.
Less than a minute later, Joe Garcia intercepted Brennan near
midfield and six plays later Rowe ran 2 yards for a touchdown on a
bootleg for a 38-21 lead.
Brennan took Hawaii on an 87-yard drive capped by a 24-yard TD
to Bess to pull to within 38-28 but could get no closer.
Ault said he was pleased with Nevada's defense, which held
Hawaii to 46 yards rushing.
"I think our third quarter defense front we had a great blitz
package... I think we had that quarterback a bit on his heels,"
Hawaii scored first on Ilaoa's 3-yard run for a 6-0 lead after
Dan Kelly's extra-point attempt was blocked. Nevada went ahead 7-6
on Rowe's 11-yard touchdown pass to Spencer and Brett Jaekle's kick
at :03 in the first quarter.
Starting on his own 1, Brennan hooked up with Ross Dickerson for
an 87-yard pass play and four plays later hit him for a 4-yard
touchdown, then added a 2-point conversion on a pass to Gordon Slye
for a 14-7 lead at 11:39 in the second quarter.
Nevada moved to Hawaii's 3 on Rowe's 27-yard pass to Anthony
Pudewell on fourth-and-11, but had to settle for Jaekle's 27-yard
field goal to pull within 14-10 4:05 before the half.
Hawaii went three and out on the next series and Kevin Stanley
returned a punt 22 yards, with 15 more added on for Khevin Peoples'
second personal foul of the day to help set up Mitchell's 30-yard
touchdown for a 17-14 lead at 2:11.