Nevada (2-2) rolled up 620 yards in total offense, including an amazing 444 yards on the ground, en route to an easy 49-27 victory over UNLV (3-2) in the annual Battle for the Fremont Cannon at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick took advantage of UNLV's porous run defense, gaining 240 yards on 18 carries (13.3 avg.) and scoring three touchdowns. He also completed 11 of 16 passes for 176 yards and two more scores.
"We did not defend the option well," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "It's a very specific type of offense that they run and we worked on it all week and we did not defend it well."
That would rank as a classic understatement. Many times Kaepernick would run 10 to 15 yards before a defender would catch up to lay a hand on him.
"When you practice something all week you have to come out at game time and do what you practiced," UNLV defensive tackle Jacob Hales said. "On defense tonight we didn't do anything that we had practiced all week long.
"It's option football. It's assignment football. We had our assignments and we didn't execute. That's why we lost. That's the bottom line."
It's the fourth straight year that UNLV has lost to its in-state rivals.
"The loss isn't disappointing," Hales said. "What is disappointing is that we didn't look like that all week. We were sharp all week. Everybody had all there assignments now. … Then we came out here today and just laid a dog."
The Rebels actually in good shape early in this one, jumping out to a 17-7 first quarter lead behind the passing of sophomore quarterback Omar Clayton (18-of-38, 327 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int.).
But Nevada rebounded to score touchdowns on four of its next five possessions, the final one on a 66-yard gallop by Kaepernick that upped the Wolf Pack lead to 35-20 early in the third quarter.
The Rebels closed to 35-27 on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Clayton to Ryan Wolfe, who finished with eight catches for 167 yards, with 7:25 left in the third quarter.
But Nevada put the game away with an 82-yard, 12-play drive to start the fourth quarter with all but seven of the yards coming on the ground. Tailback Vai Taua, who also topped the 100-yard plateau with 123 yards on 19 carries, capped the series with a four-yard run.
Kaepernick added a 28-yard touchdown run four minutes later to conclude the scoring.
"We are a better football team than what we played tonight," Sanford said. "We've got to correct the things that we did not do well. We've got a conference game (at Colorado State) next week. … There is a lot of football ahead of us."
Rebels get run over by Nevada, 49-27
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