Sept. 17, 2010
RENO (AP) - Colin Kaepernick ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 181 yards and two more scores in Nevada's 52-31 victory over California on Friday night.
Shane Vereen ran for a career-high 198 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears (2-1), who had a 22-1-1 record against Nevada entering the game and had won their only previous contest in Reno 81-6 in 1915.
Marlon Johnson scored on a 65-yard interception return, and Vai Taua added 151 yards rushing - including a 54-yard run that made it 45-24 with 7:43 left - to help the Western Athletic Conference school improve to 3-0.
Kaepernick moved into a tie for seventh with Missouri's Brad Smith in career rushing touchdowns with 45. In three games this year, the 6-foot-6 senior has thrown for six touchdowns and run for seven.
It was the ninth time in their career that Kaepernick and Taua have each surpassed 100 yards rushing in the same game.
The Bears were without linebacker Mike Mohamed, the Pac-10's leading tackler a year ago who was out with a sprained toe. They entered the game leading the nation in fewest yards allowed averaging 161,9 per game. But Nevada had 297 by the half while holding Cal to only 136 as the Wolf Pack scored on four of their six possessions for a 24-14 lead.
On the first series of the second half, Vereen ran 50 yards for a touchdown to pull Cal to 24-21. Nevada went three and out on the next series, but six plays later Marlon Johnson stepped in front of Cal quarterback Kevin Riley's quick out intended for Alex Lagemann and raced 65 yards down the sideline for a 31-21 lead.
Vereen ran for 35 yards and Riley passed 32 yards to Miller to set up Giorgio Tavecchio's 22-yard field goal that made it 31-24 with 5:14 in the third quarter.
Nevada went up 38-24 four minutes after when Rishard Mathews caught a 28-yard pass from Kaepernick near the goal line, had it stripped by Cal's Marc Anthony but was determined by the officials' review of the videotape to have recovered the fumble with the nose in the end zone for a score.
An interference call on Nevada's Isiah Frey on third-and-8 kept a drive alive for the Bears, who moved inside the Wolf Pack 10. But Riley overthrew an open Keenan Allen in the end zone on third down, was called for delay of game while trying to go for the score on fourth-and-goal from the 6 then had his pass tipped away by James-Michael Johnson with 10 minutes left in the game.
Taua put the game away with his 54-yard TD run up the middle for a 45-24 lead with 7:43 remaining before a sellout crowd of 28,809 at Mackay Stadium, many flooding the field to celebrate after the final gun.
Nevada ate up nearly half the first quarter on the opening drive, going 80 yards in 12 plays for a 7-0 lead on Kaepernick's 15-yard touchdown pass to Tray Session.
Cal's first series ended with Riley's first interception of the year when the ball went through Allen's hands to cornerback Doyle Miller at Nevada's 17.
After the Wolf Pack went three and out, Vereen found a hole up the middle then dodged three would-be tacklers en route to a 59-yard score to make it 7-7 at 3:06 in the first quarter.
But Kaepernick capped another 12-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 early in the second quarter.
Nevada's James-Michael Johnson and Dontay Moch sacked Riley on consecutive plays to push the Bears back to their own 10 on the next Cal drive and the Wolf Pack got the ball back at the Cal 47. They scored five plays later when Kaepernick ran left on an option then cut back inside for an 8-yard TD run and a 21-7 lead 8:22 before the half.
Cal managed only one first down before punting again, but linebacker Keith Browner stripped Kaepernick of the ball on the next play and Deandre Coleman recovered the fumble at Nevada's 21 to set up Vereen's 1-yard touchdown run that cut it to 21-14 at 3:19.
But Kaepernick got another Nevada drive going with a 33-yard pass to Matthews and - after Cal tried to freeze him with three consecutive time outs - Martinez capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the first half to make it 24-14 at the break.