Scores

Final

Nevada 41

(5-4, 3-2 MW)

Fresno State 28

(5-4, 2-3 MW)

Coverage: ESPN2

9:00 PM ET, November 7, 2008

Bulldog Stadium (CA), Fresno, CA

1 2 3 4 T
NEV 7 10 14 1041
FRES 7 0 14 728

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brandstater (FRES) - 260 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: V. Taua (NEV) - 28 CAR, 263 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Ajirotutu (FRES) - 7 REC, 95 YDS, 2 TD

Taua's 263 yards help Nevada to 1st win in Fresno since '98

Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. -- Colin Kaepernick was a pitcher who had major league scouts salivating before he abandoned baseball to run Nevada's unorthodox offense.

The quarterback barely even needed to use his outstanding arm at Fresno State -- not while Kaepernick and his teammates were running right over every Bulldog in sight.

Fast Facts

• Vai Taua rushed for a career-high 263 yards, his fourth straight game with at least 120 yards on the ground, helping the Wolfpack to their fourth win in their last six games.

• Quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores in the win. Kaepernick has accounted for 21 touchdowns in the past six games (10 rushing, 11 passing).

• Nevada dominated the ground game, outrushing Fresno State 472-106 on Friday night.

-- ESPN research

Vai Taua ran for a career-best 263 yards and a late touchdown, and Kaepernick added 118 yards and two scores in Nevada's 472-yard ground attack in a 41-28 victory Friday night, the Wolf Pack's first win in Fresno since 1998.

Courtney Randall had 66 yards rushing and another touchdown for the Wolf Pack (5-4, 3-2 WAC), who rarely stopped moving forward in another prodigious performance by Kaepernick and their distinctive "pistol" offense, which even gave Texas Tech some trouble earlier this year.

After holding on to the ball for 13:46 in the fourth quarter, Nevada finished with 600 total yards -- its third 600-yard game this season, even with Kaepernick going 7-for-17 for just 128 yards through the air.

"We knew towards the end of the second quarter that they were getting tired," said Kaepernick, a sophomore whose 20th rushing touchdown tied Hall of Famer Marion Motley's career total. "We just kept executing our game plan and running it in on those guys. It's fun to run this offense."

Seyi Ajirotutu caught two touchdown passes from Tom Brandstater for the Bulldogs (5-4, 2-3), who lost their second straight and dropped to 1-3 at Bulldog Stadium this season with just their second loss to Nevada in the schools' last 10 meetings. Brandstater went 23-of-43 for 260 yards, but threw two interceptions.

A.J. Jefferson returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score in the fourth quarter to keep Fresno State close, but Kevin Grimes intercepted Brandstater's fourth-down pass in the final minutes, and Ajirotutu fumbled at the Nevada 10 with 1:57 to play.

With inexperienced players lining up at several key defensive positions, the Bulldogs' youth and injury problems were too large to mask.

"We might not be the same team we were in September, but we're going to keep battling and trying to find ways to win games," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "We felt that we had a game plan for them, but obviously, we didn't. There was just a lot of inconsistency."

Lonyae Miller also rushed for a score, but Fresno State simply couldn't stop the Wolf Pack, who got Kaepernick's third 100-yard rushing game and Taua's first 200-yard performance of the season. Mike McCoy caught an early touchdown pass, and Taua -- a third-stringer when the season began -- had the sixth-highest rushing total in school history while averaging 9.4 yards per carry.

Kaepernick and Brandstater both grew up in Turlock, Calif., a San Joaquin Valley town about 80 miles north of Fresno, graduating from different high schools two years apart. While Brandstater is a more classic dropback passer, the 6-foot-6 Kaepernick is thriving in the pistol, a shotgun derivative which involves plenty of option rushing and multiple-receiver sets.

"You have to contain a quarterback with such athleticism," Fresno State defensive end Chris Carter said. "We made some adjustments and figured out some of the different things they were trying to do, but we just gave up some really big plays."

Nevada converted a fourth-and-10 on its opening drive, which ended in a 16-yard TD run up the middle by Kaepernick. The quarterback then hit McCoy on the Fresno State sideline on a fourth-and-6 play for a 36-yard score early in the second quarter.

The Wolf Pack racked up 330 yards of offense and made three lengthy scoring drives in the first half, but Nevada also missed a golden opportunity to score more points in the final seconds.

Taua was stopped at the Fresno State 1, and the clock ran out before the Wolf Pack could call a timeout. The officials didn't see Nevada coach Chris Ault, who won his 196th game, frantically signaling to stop the game before the half ended.

The Bulldogs still need another win to clinch bowl eligibility, and they'll get their best shot next Saturday in their home finale against New Mexico State. Fresno State's final two games are on the road against San Jose State and Boise State, the WAC's top two teams.

"I'm 100 percent confident that we will be bowl-eligible," Carter said. "We've got to dominate New Mexico State, because we can't let people go around thinking they can beat us like this."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NEV
FRES
1st Downs2921
Total Yards600366
Passing128260
Rushing472106
Penalties8-798-57
3rd Down Conversions6-155-10
4th Down Conversions1-10-1
Turnovers04
Possession37:5022:10

Passing Leaders

NevadaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kaepernick7/171287.510
Fresno StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Brandstater23/432606.022

Rushing Leaders

NevadaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Taua282639.4157
Kaepernick171186.9226
Fresno StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Miller66010.0134
Harding8324.0019

Receiving Leaders

NevadaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mitchell45112.8024
Wellington14040.0040
Fresno StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ajirotutu79513.6226
Pascoe5459.0013

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEVFRES
TD06:02Colin Kaepernick 16 Yd Run (Brett Jaekle Kick) 70
TD01:05Seyi Ajirotutu 23 Yd Pass From Tom Brandstater (Kevin Goessling Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERNEVFRES
TD12:49Mike McCoy 36 Yd Pass From Colin Kaepernick (Brett Jaekle Kick) 147
FG04:54Brett Jaekle 34 Yd 177
THIRD QUARTERNEVFRES
TD09:08Lonyae Miller 34 Yd Run (Kevin Goessling Kick) 1714
TD03:16Colin Kaepernick 2 Yd Run (Brett Jaekle Kick) 2414
TD01:38Courtney Randall 15 Yd Run (Brett Jaekle Kick) 3114
TD00:00Seyi Ajirotutu 3 Yd Pass From Tom Brandstater (Kevin Goessling Kick) 3121
FOURTH QUARTERNEVFRES
TD08:40Vai Taua 25 Yd Run (Brett Jaekle Kick) 3821
TD08:28A.J. Jefferson 92 Yd Kickoff Return (Kevin Goessling Kick) 3828
FG02:23Brett Jaekle 20 Yd 4128