COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Kaepernick leads Nevada over Fresno St. 35-34
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Colin Kaepernick set a school record with two more rushing touchdowns, and Vai Taua’s third score of the night gave No. 21 Nevada a 35-34 win over Fresno State on Saturday night.
Kaepernick ran for 152 yards and scored the 55th touchdown of his career for the Wolf Pack record.
Taua’s 24-yard scamper up the middle with 4:51 remaining gave the Wolf Pack (9-1, 4-1 WAC) its first lead since midway through the third quarter.
Robbie Rouse rushed for 217 yards and scored three touchdowns for Fresno State (6-3, 4-2) in a game with six lead changes.
The Bulldogs drove to midfield before turning the ball over on downs with 1:26 left.
Kaepernick converted two third downs on the go-ahead drive, including a 16-yard completion to Rishard Matthews on third-and-7. Kaepernick finished 16 of 26 for 171 yards and an interception.
Fresno State scored 10 straight points to go ahead 34-28. The touchdown came on a spectacular 44-yard touchdown run by Rouse, and Kevin Goessling added a 34-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs got excellent field position on their opening drive of the second half when Nevada punter Brad Langley booted the ball off the back of a teammate’s helmet.
Fresno State took over at midfield and found the end zone four plays later when the left-handed Colburn scrambled to his right and found Isaiah Burse down the middle for a 26-yard touchdown.
Kaepernick answered with a 19-yard touchdown run, faking the handoff before taking off up the middle, as the Wolf Pack regained a 28-24 lead with 9:28 left in the third quarter.
Trailing 34-28 following Fresno State’s 10-point surge, Nevada marched downfield for the potential go-ahead touchdown. But on 4th-and-1 from the Bulldogs 8, Kyle Knox and Desia Dunn smothered Taua for no gain.
Fresno State failed to move the ball, and the Wolf Pack took over on its 46 to set up Taua’s go-ahead score.
Rouse was coming off a career-high 286-yard effort in Fresno State’s 40-34 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Nevada scored two touchdowns in a 27-second span late in the second quarter to take a 21-17 halftime lead.
The Wolf Pack trailed by 10 before two TDs by Taua swung the momentum. One was set up by Colburn fumbling.
Kaepernick shook off a sluggish start by leading Nevada on a 10-play, 73-yard drive, capped by a 4-yard Taua touchdown run with 1:01 left before halftime. The senior converted two third downs on pass completions during the march to trim Fresno State’s lead to 17-14.
On the ensuing possession, Colburn dropped back and the ball slipped from his hand without being touched. Ryan Coulson made the recovery for Nevada on the Bulldogs 20.
Following a 19-yard pass to Brandon Wimberly, the Wolf Pack was in the end zone again when Taua plunged in from 1 yard with 34 seconds left.
Nevada even got the ball back on a squib kick but could not move the football in the final 27 seconds.
Fresno State led 17-7 with 4:18 remaining in the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Kevin Goessling.
Rouse scored the Bulldogs’ first two touchdowns on a 12-yard catch and a 2-yard run on Fresno State’s opening drive.
Kaepernick passed for 114 yards and ran for 95 in the first half. His only mistake was an interception by safety Lorne Bell for a touchback that went right through the hands receiver Malcolm Shepherd.
After Fresno State scored on its opening drive, Kaepernick pulled the Wolf Pack even by faking the handoff and running around the right end 47 yards for a touchdown.