Kaepernick wins WAC offensive player of the year
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” Sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick was waiting to review game film with head coach Chris Ault when he found out he’d won the Western Athletic Conference’s most coveted award.
Kaepernick, who became the fifth different player in NCAA history to pass for more then 2,000 yards and run for more then 1,000 yards, was named the WAC Offensive Player of ther Year and first-team quarterback in a vote of conference coaches.
Five other Nevada players ” center Dominic Green, defensive end Kevin Basped, running back Vai Taua, kicker Brett Jaekle and wide receiver Marko Mitchell ” joined Kaepernick on the first team.
Boise State’s Chris Petersen was named Coach of the Year, Hawaii linebacker Solomon Elimimian and San Jose State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert were Co-Defensive Players of the Year, and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was Freshman of the Year.
“It’s a great feeling,” Kaepernick said Monday during a hastily called press conference. “It shows the hard work put in during the off-season. It’s a great that the program is getting recognition.”
Ault had no doubts that Kaepernick would win the honor. Kapernick completed 55 percent of his passes for 2,479 yards and 19 TDs with just five interceptions. He rushed for 1,115 yards and 16 scores.
“It’s well deserved,” Ault said. “I’m really pleased for Kap. I’ve never had a sophomore win player of the year.
“We had six players on the first team. That’s a nice compliment.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider Nevada averaged 37.8 points and 510.6 yards per game en route to a 7-5 record.
Taua rushed for 1,420 yards and 14 scores, while Mitchell caught 56 passes for 1,011 yards and nine scores. Jaekle was 14-for-17 on field goals this season and averaged 42.5 per punt when pressed into emergency duty as a punter. Green, a four-year anchor on the offensive line, was a big reason why Nevada averaged 291 yards per game on the ground.
Basped was the only Nevada player to get first-team honors. He ended up with a fourth-best 47 tackles, including 18.5 behind the line and 10 sacks for minus-63 yards.
Nevada put four players on the second team ” linemen Mike Gallett and Alonzo Durham, punter Brad Langley and defensive end Dontay Moch.
Moch finished with 45 tackles, including 15 for minus yardage and 9.5 sacks for minus-77 yards. Langley, who ruptured his Achilles running onto the field before the Boise State game, averaged 44 yards per kick. He put 10 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and had nine kicks of more than 50 yards.
The fact that Green and Jaekle are the only seniors in the group paints a bright future for the Nevada program.
“We knew we had a young group this year, how young we didn’t know,” Ault said. “We stubbed our toes a couple of times (New Mexico State and Hawaii).”
Ault said that the second-half comeback Saturday against Louisiana Tech ranks right up there as one of the best in his 24-year history at Nevada, and that it said a lot about the resilience of the program and team.