Kaepernick still needed some work
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – It was hard to know what Colin Kaepernick thought about this week’s game, because he wasn’t permitted to talk to the media.
Nevada coach Chris Ault was quick to say his decision had nothing to do with a media conspiracy.
“Colin’s technique needs a lot of work,” Ault said after Nevada’s 37-21 win on Saturday. “The early practice (when he usually talks to the media) is our technique period. The week before he lost a lot of his early practice time.”
The redshirt freshman, who burst onto the scene against Fresno State three weeks ago, had a rough outing against Utah State with 170 yards passing and two scores plus another 46 yards on the ground in the 31-28 win.
The Aggies seemed to keep him off balance with blitzes from all over their defensive formation.
Idaho seemed to employ the same strategy, moving players around before the snap in an effort to confuse the Nevada youngster. Kaepernick was over 50 percent passing for 203 yards and a score.
Nevada’s offense was sluggish in the first half despite a 17-7 lead. The defense scored once on an Ezra Butler interception return and worked from a short field for the other 10 points.
In the last three minutes of the third quarter and the fourth quarter, Nevada showed the kind of offensive unit that Ault wants, one that is able to take time off the clock with its running game and to make big plays when needed.
“I’ll take the blame for not putting points on the board,” Kaepernick said. “There were a couple of times I needed to throw the ball away and I tried to force it in.
“The first half was a little slow on our offense. The second half we did a lot better.”
FEELING THE HEAT
Punt returner Alex Rosenblum admits to feeling pressure, and he knew he needed to make some things happen on punt returns.
Rosenblum returned three punts for 56 yards, including returns of 19 and 29 yards that led to Nevada’s first 10 points. Entering the game, he was only averaging 2.4 on 13 returns.
“Coach (Charlie) Camp was on me hard all week,” Rosenblum said. “He was giving me the silent treatment. I knew I had to do something big.”
On the 29-yard return, he caught the ball at his own 34 and ran laterally to his left and then turned the corner and reached the Idaho 37, which set up Brett Jaekle’s 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Rosenblum credited special teams changes for his success. He said that Nevada started to double-team the gunners on the outside, which can give the returners more initial room to operate.
LIPPINCOTT MOVES UP
Luke Lippincott enjoyed his third consecutive 100-yard game, finishing with 119 on 27 carries. He has five 100-yard games this season.
Lippincott admitted that he wanted to have a better game than Idaho’s Deonte Jackson, who came into Saturday’s game as the No. 1 rusher in the Western Athletic Conference at 116.1 a game.
“I wanted to get ahead of him in this game,” Lippincott said. “The defense came to me and told me they wanted me to be No. 1.”
Lippincott isn’t the leader. He’s still averaging 113 a game, two yards per game behind Boise State’s Ian Johnson, the new leader at 115.5 a game. Jackson has dropped to third at 108.2 a contest.
TAUA SCORES FIRST
Redshirt freshman running back Vai Taua, who quit the team earlier this year and was allowed to come back, scored his first college TD on an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Earlier, he had a long TD run wiped out against Nicholls State because of a holding penalty.
“I was telling the line when I got out there that I wanted to get that first one,” he said. “It feels good to be back.”
Taua also played well on special teams.
FACTS & FIGURES
Nevada has now scored in 325 straight games, the longest active streak in the country. The last time Nevada was shut out was Sept. 27, 1980 … Idaho center Adam Korby made his 32nd consecutive start … Idaho started Nathan Enderle at quarterback. Apparently he made a great recovery late in the week … Idaho won the toss and elected to receive … Nevada is 18-4 at home since Ault returned to the sidelines, including 13 of its last 17.