Sunday, October 19, 2008

Odd Start Turns Into Big Homecoming Win

(photo by Patrick Cummings, RGJ)

After a heart breaking shoot out that went to the rAggies last week, the Nevada Wolf Pack was looking to bounce back in a big way against the bAggies this weekend. And to add to the excitement, it was homecoming week at Nevada (hey, there has to be a king and queen you know).

The pressure was on the defense to come out and perform, but it would soon shift to the usually high powered Nevada offense. Nevada's defense held USU to 3 and outs on 5 of the first 7 offensive possessions and didn't give up a score until late in second quarter when the bAggies recovered a Brian Fludd fumble inside the Nevada 40 yard line and capitalized on the turn over. The defense would total 5 sacks (2 for Moch), a fumble recovery, and interception for TD, and 9 tackles for loss.

The big story of the game however was on offense. Taking the field to start the game was quarterback Nick Graziano, not WAC offensive yardage leader Colin Kaepernick. This snapped a 14 consecutive games started streak for Kaep. After reading the quotes by the players and coaches (as well as some posts on Nevada's fan boards) it sounds like this was a decision that was made just seconds before the offense took the field. Apparently Kaepernick did something to irritate coach enough to bench him for the entire first quarter. Graziano would get four drives in that time and would lead the team to one score on a Vai Taua 26 yard scamper. The snap of PAT would be fumbled and the Pack would take a 6-0 lead. Unfortunately for Graziano two of the other drives would result in turnovers as Taua fumbled on the first drive and Kejon Murphy would make a nice play stepping in front of and intercepting a Graziano to McCoy out route.

Kaepernick would enter the game at 13:46 in the second quarter. Not wasting any time, he would make his intentions known at 13:38 when he crossed the goal line for his first score of the day on a 19 yard TD run.

A short while later, USU would get on the board after a short field situation due to the Fludd fumble.

The Nevada offense would then come alive, scoring on their next 3 possessions which would include a Mike McCoy rushing TD (his first score of the season), a Brett Jaekle field goal, and a big 75 yard bomb from Kaepernick to Mitchell to put the game at 30-7 Pack. And for those of you gamblers out there, thank the defense and Jared Silva-Purcell for a late pick six that pushed the game to a 44-17 victory, covering the spread for those who bet on the Wolf Pack.

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