Nevada stays unbeaten with 27-13 victory over BYU
PROVO, Utah – Dear voters: Undefeated Nevada is knocking on the door of the top 25 for the first time since 1948, and it wants in.
Colin Kaepernick threw for 196 yards and a touchdown and ran for 82 yards and another score as the Wolf Pack (4-0) continued to build a case for being ranked with a 27-13 road win over BYU.
“I honestly don’t think everybody thinks too much about it,” Kaepernick said, “but we all think it should happen.”
Vai Taua added 133 yards rushing and a touchdown for Nevada, which is off to its best start since going 12-0 to begin the 1991 season.
The Wolf Pack beat then-No. 24 Cal last week.
“These are big wins, this one on the road, and once again you have to look at tradition,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “BYU has as good a tradition as any program in the West.”
Taua called the win a confidence-booster and said Nevada’s fifth-year seniors badly want to be ranked.
“When we came in we were nowhere near the top 25,” he said.
BYU (1-3) lost its third straight game for the first time in six years.
“(Nevada looks) like a very good football team that scores a lot of points and has for the last few years,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Kaepernick led five scoring drives of nine plays or more. He threw a 6-yard touchdown to Courtney Randall on the game’s first possession and added a 4-yard TD run in the second quarter that gave the Wolf Pack a 21-7 lead.
Kaepernick completed 16 of 25 passes but also threw his first interception of the season. He moved past David Neill to become Nevada’s all-time leader in total offense with 11,357 yards.
True freshman Jake Heaps completed 24 of 45 passes for 229 yards in his first college start for BYU.
J.J. DiLuigi scored the Cougars’ only touchdown on a 2-yard run. He finished with 67 yards rushing and added eight receptions for 56 yards.
Kaepernick ran for 66 yards and threw for 166 more in the first half as Nevada took a 24-10 lead.
Nevada went 84 yards on the game’s first possession to take a 7-0 lead. Kaepernick completed all three of his passes on the drive, including a 36-yarder to Brandon Wimberly and the touchdown toss to Randall.
BYU went three-and-out on its first drive, but the Cougars got the ball back when Taua fumbled at his own 36. The turnover led to BYU’s only touchdown.
Nevada went right back to Taua, despite the fumble. He responded by carrying seven times for 32 yards on the Wolf Pack’s next drive, scoring from 1 yard out to give Nevada a 14-7 lead.
“That’s coach Ault,” Taua said. “If you drop the ball for him, he makes you pick it up and help carry the team. I wanted to pick it up.”
Kaepernick’s touchdown run in the second quarter was set up by his own 26-yard dash.
Ricky Drake kicked a 38-yard field goal for Nevada as time expired in the first half, and the Wolf Pack got another field goal from Anthony Martinez at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Martinez’s field goal came at the end of a 21-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up nearly nine minutes of time. Nevada controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes, compared to just over 23 for BYU.
Both teams were missing a player due to suspension. Reserve Nevada running back Mike Ball and starting BYU tight end O’Neill Chambers each sat out the first game of matching two-game suspensions for violations of team rules.