Wolf Pack rallies to beat Louisiana Tech
Nevada Appeal Staff and Wire Reports
RUSTON, La. ” Nevada coach Chris Ault said earlier in the week that he wouldn’t want his Wolf Pack going to a bowl game if it finished 6-6.
Thanks to a fourth-quarter rally, neither Ault nor the Pack players have to worry about a .500 record anymore.
Sophomore running back Vai Taua ran for a 22-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left to cap Nevada’s 35-31 comeback victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Nevada improved to 7-5 overall and on Dec. 7 will likely find out in which bowl it will play.
Along with Louisiana Tech and Hawaii, the Wolf Pack finished in second place with a 5-3 record in the Western Athletic Conference.
Taua’s score capped a 21-0 run that washed away Louisiana Tech’s 31-14 lead with 4:48 left in the third.
Taua rushed for 61 yards and concluded the regular season with 1,420 yards, tying Luke Lippincott (2007) for the fourth-best single-season in Nevada history.
Nevada’s three-touchdown turnaround started late in the third quarter with sophomore Colin Kaepernick’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Marko Mitchell.
Kaepernick had a season-high 397 yards on 24-of-42 passing with four touchdowns, including a 27-yarder to Mike McCoy to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 31-28 with 3:11 to play.
Kaepernick’s four TD passes matched a career high (vs. Fresno State in 2007) and the yardage was his most since his 404 last year against Louisiana Tech.
Kaepernick also threw one interception.
Mitchell also hauled in a 62-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter to pull Nevada within 24-14.
Mitchell finished with six catches for 153 yards and went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season. This is the 19th time in Nevada history that player recorded a 1,000-yard season.
The wide receiver is also tied for eighth place all-time at Nevada in career touchdowns with 21. He is tied with Geoff Noise (1995-98).
Mitchell moved into ninth place all-time at Nevada career receiving yards. He now has 2,653 yards in his career. He trails Nichiren Flowers by 15 yards for eighth place.
Louisiana Tech quarterback Ross Jenkins was 16-for-30 with 259 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Jenkins’ 26-yard pass to Shane Womack and Daniel Porter’s 20-yard touchdown run helped give Louisiana Tech a 17-7 lead at halftime.
After Kaepernick hit Mitchell for the 62-yard score, Jenkins hit Phillip Livas on a 44-yard TD.
Patrick Johnson’s 4-yard run made it 31-14.
Kaepernick rushed for 28 yards on the day and now has 1,115 yards on the ground this year.
Nevada sophomore Kevin Basped forced a fumble in the first quarter, his third forced fumble of the season.
Junior Chris Slack recovered that fumble, the first fumble recovery of his career.
Basped recorded 21⁄2 sacks in the game and nine tackles overall. He now has 10 sacks on the year and took the team lead over Dontay Moch (9.5).
Each of Nevada’s starting wide receivers ” Mitchell, Chris Wellington and McCoy ” caught a pass on Saturday and each finished the regular season with a catch in all 12 games during the year.