Bittersweet moment for Kaepernick
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – It was a bittersweet day for Nevada redshirt freshman Colin Kaepernick.
The 6-foot-6 quarterback got his first significant playing action when Nick Graziano suffered a season-ending foot injury in the second quarter, but it’s certainly not the way he wanted to get the job.
Nonetheless, Kaepernick threw for a career-high 384 yards and four scores, and ran for 60 yards and another score in the Pack’s 49-41 loss to Fresno State.
“I’m happy with the way I played,” Kaepernick said. “The offensive line gave me time and our receivers made plays.
“I never had a game like this. It was bittersweet to have a good game and still have a loss. It’s conference and we’re now 0-1. That takes away a lot of it (the success).”
Kaepernick said he will be working hard with his receivers. Based on Saturday’s numbers, he seems to have his timing down already. With Graziano out, he’ll be getting the bulk of the reps, and that can only help the youngster.
One added edge Kaepernick gives the Pack is his scrambling ability, he is a more fluid runner than Graziano, and he made things happen several times with his feet.
“Colin is much faster,” wide receiver Marko Mitchell said. “He’s faster getting out of the pocket. Other than that, they are the same quarterback.”
Ault said that true freshman Luke Collis would assume the No. 2 role, and that a walk-on would be the No. 3 quarterback. That job would appear to fall to Pete Murdacha.
TOUGH START FOR RECEIVERS
Nevada dropped four passes in the first half and six overall for the contest, which didn’t please Ault.
Mitchell was the big culprit, dropping two on the same possession and one later in the game, including a deep ball along the right sideline. The normally sure-handed Mike McCoy and tight end Adam Bishop also had drops.
“I counted six dropped passes,” Ault said. “That is hard to accept, especially in the first half. It showed a lack of focus.”
Mitchell thinks he was trying too hard.
“Those dropped passes were me trying to break my team out of a slump; trying to make plays,” he said. “But, they were dropped so I didn’t make the plays.”
Mitchell and McCoy both finished over the 100-yard mark, however. Mitchell finished with nine catches for 135 yards, and McCoy had five grabs for 116 yards.
JAEKLE IS BLOCKED
Brett Jaekle’s chance for a hat trick ended when his 46-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a score.
Earlier, he kicked three-pointers of 22 and 36 yards. He had made 11 of 12 attempts dating back to the MPC Computers Bowl.
Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews set a Fresno State freshman record with is 171-yard rushing effort.
His 171 yards and three scores were both career highs.
The biggest challenge facing Ault & Co. will be trying to learn from this game and get ready for perennial powerhouse Boise State next Sunday.
It won’t be easy.
“We have to go back to the drawing board, see where we messed up and learn from that,” linebacker Ezra Butler said. “Put it in the garbage and move forward.”
Added Matt Hines, “We’ll look at film. We’ll lick our wounds tonight and start thinking about Boise State.”
FACTS & FIGURES
Fresno State won the toss and deferred … John Bender, who lost his starting job last week to Mike Gallett, started at tackle…Nevada has now scored in 322 games, the longest streak in the nation. The last time Nevada was blanked was in 1980 when it dropped a 10-0 decision to Weber State … Dominic Green made his first start of the year at center. He played guard and center against UNLV, but didn’t start… Safety Uche Anywanu suffered a thigh contusion and was replaced by Michael Samples.
Mike Schellin of Carson City was one of five inductees into the Nevada Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The group was honored with a dinner in downtown Reno Friday night, and then was introduced on the field at halftime.
Schellin went 32-0 as a collegiate boxer, barely missing out making the U.S. Olympic squad. The other four inductees are former track star Kamy Keshmiri, former women’s basketball great Chris Starr and former gridiron stars Alex Van Dyke and Marty Zendejas .
•Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281