|AP Photo / Cathleen Allison|
If you didn't stay up to watch the second half, you missed a roller-coaster fourth quarter. Nevada started the quarter with a score on a reverse to Rishard Matthews, who juked and slithered through Boise defenders for a 44-yard touchdown, pulling Nevada within three.
Boise State returned the kickoff to midfield but were stonewalled by a Wolf Pack defense who was impressive in the second half. Boise lined up to go for it on 4th & 2 at Nevada's 43, but instead Kellen Moore executed a perfect pooch punt that died at Nevada's 7.
Nevada pounded Boise into submission on a tying field goal drive which saw the Wolf Pack rush the ball 12 times for 82 yards. Tied at 24-24, Kellen Moore hit Doug Martin in the flat on Boise's next offensive play, and Martin gashed his way through Nevada for a 79 yard touchdown. Just like that, Boise was up 31-24, with just under 5 minutes remaining.
In a methodical, definitive answer, Kaepernick led Nevada down into the Boise red zone in a balanced drive with 27 rushing yards and 45 passing yards. With just under 20 seconds, Kaepernick found Matthews on a 7 yard TD toss to tie the game at 31.
As Titus Young returned the kickoff to the Boise 37, fans, coaches, and everyone else was mentally preparing for overtime. But the roller coaster continued! Kellen Moore hit Titus Young on a 54-yard bomb, and Young's diving catch was completed with just 2 seconds left as he fell to the Nevada 9-yard line. Cameras showed Nevada coach Chris Ault absolutely laying into the defensive coordinator. Just when Nevada thought they could battle in overtime, Boise was setting up for a game-winning, 26-yard chip shot.
Kicker Kyle Brotzman, who was 13-14 on field goals up to this point of the season, lined his kick up, put his foot to the ball, and .... pushed it wide.
For non-AQ fanatics, it was a kick eerily reminiscent of the potential-game-winning-chip-shot pushed wide-right by BYU's Mitch Payne in Boise in 2004, a kicked missed as time expired. Boise went on to go undefeated.
In overtime, Boise lost the coin flip and went on offense first. The Broncos moved the ball to the Nevada 12, where on 4th down, Kyle Brotzman took the field again for a 29-yarder. This was the same Boise kicker who hit a 50-yarder last week against Fresno State. In a surreal moment, Brotzman yanked this kick wide-left, and Boise State's title hopes were unraveling.
Nevada played conservatively, picked up 4 yards, and sent Anthony Martinez on the field to win the game. Martinez, who had a field goal blocked earlier in the game, booted the kick right down the middle, and Nevada had pulled off a shocking comeback.
As mentioned, Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick surpassed Eric Dickerson and Craig James as the highest-yard-earning rushing tandem in the history of college football. Taua ran for 131 yards on 32 carries, and Kaepernick added 45 yards. Through the air, Kaepernick was 19-35 for 259 yards and 1 TD.
In the loss, Kellen Moore was a stellar 20-31 for 348 yards and 2 TDs. Doug Martin added 152 yards on 24 carries.
The loss leaves Boise State, Nevada, and Hawaii in a 3-way tie for first place in the WAC, and moves Boise from dreaming of Roses, to playing in one of the wonderful bowls (all sarcasm intended) with which the WAC is tied in.