Pack brought their A game against Colorado State |

Pack brought their A game against Colorado State

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack football team after a 51-6 victory over the Colorado State Rams on Saturday . . .


Colin Kaepernick played a near-perfect game. The senior set the tone early, ripping apart the Rams’ defense for runs of 57 and 44 (touchdown) yards on the Pack’s first two drives. Crazy Legs Kaepernick was responsible for 402 yards of total offense (241 passing, 161 rushing) and four touchdowns. He completed 21 of 29 passes without an interception and he averaged 14.6 yards on each of his 11 rushes. You can’t play a more perfect game.


The Pack didn’t do anything fancy on the ground. All they did was run the ball right up the middle of the Colorado State defense. But the Rams never stopped it. Vai Taua went for 118 yards and a touchdown. Lampford Mark, Stefphon Jefferson and Courtney Randall combined for 66 yards on 13 carries. Backup running back Mike Ball, who missed the game because of a virus, didn’t even play. Pack backs carried the ball 28 times and never lost a yard.


Rishard Matthews dropped the first pass thrown to him but the junior college transfer showed that he is ready to step in and contribute in a big way to the Pack offense in his first year in Division I-A. Matthews led the Pack with six catches for 87 yards. Matthews also made a nice adjustment on a route, finding open space on a 21-yard catch near the right sideline as Kaepernick had to roll to his right to avoid trouble. Tray Session also had a nice night, grabbing four passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Wimberly had three chances, including one nice grab on a dive for a 7-yard gain late in the first quarter. Tight end Virgin Green had another productive night, catching three balls and a touchdown.


The Pack averaged 8.2 yards each time they ran the ball. The Wolf Pack was not sacked on any of its 33 pass attempts. Kaepernick also had plenty of time to throw all night long. The Pack offensive line — center Jeff Meads, tackles Steve Haley, Jose Acuna and guards John Bender, Chris Barker — demoralized the Colorado State defense.


The Wolf Pack front played much better than it did in the opener against Eastern Washington. Dontay Moch had five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Ryan Coulson had four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Zack Madonick had three tackles and was in on a sack. Mike Andrews had three tackles and a sack. Brett Roy had a tackle for a loss and also batted away a pass. This is about as well as a defensive line can play.


James-Michael Johnson was a play-maker with nine tackles and 1.5 sacks. Brandon Marshall chipped in with three tackles, DeAndre Boughton had five tackles, including one for a loss. Kaelin Burnett had three tackles. Albert Rosette had three tackles and picked off a pass. It was just a solid effort all around.


The Pack secondary did not allow a touchdown pass. Safety Marlon Johnson had seven tackles. Duke Williams had five tackles (one for a loss) in his 2010 debut. Dean Faddis had five tackles. Doyle Miller had three. Colorado State QB Pete Thomas did complete 23-of-36 passes for 194 yards but most of those completions were on short passes in front of the coverage. Eight of Thomas’ completions went to his backs for 60 yards. Only one Ram completion was as long as 20 yards.


Anthony Martinez, a redshirt freshman from McQueen High, booted the first three field goals of his Division I-A career from 22, 33 and 31 yards out. The 5-foot-6 Martinez is also now a perfect 13-of-13 on extra points. The Pack did not get a chance to do anything with its return game. Rishard Matthews had a fair catch on both of the Rams’ punts and the Rams’ three kickoffs were deep in the end zone for touchbacks. Colorado State did return nine Pack kickoffs for an average of 26.9 yards, including one 47-yard return by Tony Drake. Drake also had a return of 31 yards and two for 27. Pack kicker Nick Rhodes had one kickoff for a touchback.


The Pack played almost a flawless game, which was in direct contrast to last year’s sloppy effort (11 penalties, five turnovers) at Colorado State. The Pack simply dominated the game on both sides of the ball. The offensive game plan was a perfect combination of passes (33) and runs (46) The defense came up with big plays and controlled the Rams all night long. The Pack simply played with a quiet confidence the entire game and that is a reflection of how well they prepared in the week leading up to the game.