Boise Nation forgot about Nevada Wolf Pack QB Colin Kaepernick. They were to busy worrying about other more important things. Too worried about beating Virginia Tech and "the best dual threat QB they would face all year, Tyrod Taylor". Too worried about beating Oregon State in what was considered their last "real" hurdle to laying claim to a BCS game and perhaps a chance at a National Title game. Too worried about Kellen Moore's Heisman chances and what Cam Newton may or may not have done. Too worried about which BCS bowl they would be invited too.
The Bronco Country fans weren't worried about Kaepernick. He was "figured out" after that magical freshman game which ended in such heartbreak for the Nevada faithful. He wasn't that great really. Forget the improved passing. Forget the stats. Not worried at all. And the Wolf Pack game in Reno didn't make fans nearly as nervous as the Hawaii or Fresno games did. This one was destined to end in an even wider margin than the year before.
OBNUG wasn't worried about Kaepernick either. He wasn't a serious consideration for their annual "Public Enemy No 1" story. Along with Idaho HC Rob Akey, they were courtesy nominations at best. The Boise faithful were too worried about the opinions of talking heads Mark May, Craig James, and Gene Wojciechowski and how they might influence voters. Too busy to bother with an actual opponent. In fact, Kaepernick garnered the least number of votes from Boise fans when poled on the matter.
And so the season plodded along. The Wolf Pack slowly built it's record up to 10-1 and a 19th overall national ranking. Colin Kaepernick and friends seemingly set or broke new NCAA records on a weekly basis. And yet Boise faithful still weren't worried. They considered it lucky to get to beat a ranked opponent so far into the season to allow a leapfrog of TCU. It would surely secure a berth in the Rose Bowl. And it would inch them closer to a National Title game. They would have no greater ammunition to backup their complaints for a playoff system.
The game began in typical fashion. Nevada failed to score in it's usual bunches. Boise even got their first ever turn-over against Kaepernick when a pass deflected off the hands of tight end Virgil Green and Boise State safety George Iloka made an amazing tip-toe catch along the sidelines.
With a comfortable 24-7 lead going into the half, Boise Nation forgot that Colin Kaepernick existed.
And as soon as they did, Kaepernick did his best impression of Keyser Soze and unleashed the cruelest form of revenge a player can take upon an opponent. He would leave the entire Bronco community wondering how such a travesty could have happened so quickly, right under their noses.
Colin Kaepernick reacts to Boise Safety Jerron Johnson after scoring on a 3rd and 7 from the 18 yard line. (Photo by Mark Rauh of SilverandBlueSports.com)
With a minute and some seconds left in the third quarter, still down by 17 points, Kaepernick did something that Boise Nation hadn't seen since that 2007 thriller. On a third down and seven, Kaepernick broke containment, beat safety Jerron Johnson to the sideline, and ran in an 18 yard touchdown to pull the Wolf Pack within two scores. It was the first rushing TD for Kaepernick since the 25 yard run in the second OT back in 2007. And as Kaepernick headed back to the Nevada bench, something happened. What was said, who will ever know? But Kaepernick suddenly stopped and headed back towards Johnson to give him what was obviously his opinion on whatever it was that Johnson had yelled in his direction.
Like Winston Churchill once said of our great country: "The United States is like a giant boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate". So was our Nevada Wolf Pack's fire lit, with Kaepernick manning the bellows and the Nevada defense generating the power.
A three and out later and Kaepernick would take over yet again. Kaepernick would complete a key third and seven pass to Vai Taua to extend the drive, which would result in a 44 yard touchdown by Rishard Mathews two plays later.
And after another three and out, Kaepernick would take over at the seven yard line and contribute 27 yards rushing while orchestrating the offense down into Boise territory for the game tying field goal.
And when Boise State threw one last desperation punch in the form of a 79 yard touchdown pass by Kellen Moore to Doug Martin, Kaepernick would not be denied his revenge on the Broncos. With just under five minutes left in the game and only one time out remaining for Nevada, Kaepernick would go 4-7 including a key third down and seven conversion and a game tying touchdown pass to Mathews with just 13 seconds left on the clock.
Nevada players celebrate as Boise misses a field goal in over time. (AP)
Forget about the missed field goals. Boise State should never have even been in that position. But they forgot about Kaepernick. And now they will have to be reminded in the most painful of ways. With their NC game dreams smashed, the kid who they declined to offer in favor of back-up QB Michael Coughlin, would begin to break records along with the hearts and spirits of Bronco Nation.
Kaepernick will lay claim to becoming the first player in NCAA history to have passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards in the same season three consecutive times. And it will have come against the Bronco's number two defense in the greatest upset win in Nevada history. Kaepernick will also lay claim to becoming one half of the all time greatest rushing duo in NCAA history along with running back Vai Taua. And it will have come against the Bronco's number two defense during the greatest choke in Bronco history. He will have lead the team to the greatest victory in Nevada history over the highest ranked opponent to ever have entered Mackay Stadium. He likely not only ruined Kellen Moore's chances for the Heisman trophy, he likely ruined his chances for WAC offensive player of the year and first team all conference quarterback. With the head to head win, the records, the probable 3,000 by 1,000 season and highest ranking in school history, how will the WAC deny Kaepernick those titles?
And it will all have been done against the team who had forgotten him. The team that was convinced that he didn't even exist.
The senior will not face Boise State again. Peterson and Co will get their shot at revenge against Nevada. But they will not get their shot at Colin Soze. He will have had the last laugh. The loudest laugh in his personal war with the Broncos....
And like that, poof. He's gone.