Nevada football looks to rebound against Utah State |

Nevada football looks to rebound against Utah State

Darrell Moody
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer

Borel is similar to Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick in the sense that he is a run-pass threat each time he touches the ball. He has rushed for 300 yards, tops for the Aggies. Running back Robert Turbin has 283 rushing yards, and has played better than returnee Curtis Marsh.

One player who stepped up on defense last week despite the loss was middle linebacker Josh Mauga, who had his most productive game of the season with 13 tackles. The Pack will need efforts like that each week from Mauga, who had underperformed until last week.

Utah State, which led Nevada early in the fourth quarter last year in Logan, will have its hands full with Nevada’s offense, which is averaging 44 points a game in its last three outings and 518 yards per contest through six games. Nevada has run the ball at will in that three-game stretch, averaging 340 yards a game in wins over Idaho and UNLV and the loss to New Mexico State.

Vai Taua has 614 yards rushing and eight scores while Kaepernick has 565 yards rushing and nine scores. Kaepernick also has thrown for 1,151 yards and nine scores.

The Aggies’ defense, led by tackle Ben Calderwood, linebackers Jake Hutton and Paul Igboeli and safety Caleb Taylor, will have their hands full.

“Nevada is a team right now that is running the ball very well,” Utah State coach Brent Guy said. “They have a young sophomore running back (Vai Taua) running very well. The receivers are playing well and (Colin) Kaepernick is running the ball well at quarterback and he is the one that keeps the machine running. They are doing a good job of moving the football and scoring points.

“They are struggling on defense right now. They lost a tough game (last week), so we need to get back on the road and play a lot better in the first quarter than we did last week.”

Utah State fell behind early last week against San Jose State and ended up on the short end of a 30-7 decision.

No doubt Guy has watched film of what New Mexico State did to Kaepernick. He would like to bottle up Kaepernick’s running, too.

The Nevada quarterback was limited to 54 yards, and 32 of those came on one play.

“We have to make sure Kaepernick can’t get started in the run game,” Guy said. “He is still out of the pistol, but they are adding blockers where they can get him out in the open field where secondary or back-side pursuit players have to show up and make a play.”

Road wins, or any wins for that matter have eluded the Aggies since they entered the WAC in 2005. Utah State is 3-19 away from home, including an 0-3 mark this season.

Center Dominic Green expects a tough game, however, despite the fact Nevada has dominated the series.

“Utah State has a solid defense,” center Dominic Green said. “They play very hard. They have one of the best line and linebacker corps that we’ve gone against in recent history. Last year they threw everything at us.”

Notes: Today is homecoming. The Pack will honor volleyball star Tiffany Neumeier-Breeden, football star James Canada, baseball star Andy Dominique, former football and baseball coach Bill Ireland and the 1956 national championship rifle squad … Utah State has a seven-game losing streak in the month of October, and has lost 18 of its last 21 in October … On the Utah State roster is Magnum Mauga, cousin of Nevada star Joshua Mauga … The visiting team has won eight of the last nine games in this series. The only blemish was Nevada’s home win in 2006.