Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 | 2:30 a.m.
- UNLV sports blog about Rebels athletics
- Judgment Days: Commentary from UNLV linebacker Jason Beauchamp
- Shark Bytes: Legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian shares his thoughts
- Opponent: Colorado State
- Date: Oct. 4, 11 a.m.
- Where: Fort Collins, Colo.
Teresa Kaepernick stood in a concession line the entire halftime Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.
She started itching a bit as it looked like the second half of UNR’s football game against UNLV was about to start. She pondered what to do.
Family members, including some who flew in from Wisconsin to watch her son, Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick, were thirsty in the hot and humid evening. She decided to stay in the queue.
“I was getting right up there to the front,” Kaepernick said. “Then, oh my gosh. Off he goes.”
Off went Colin, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound sophomore, for a 66-yard touchdown run up the gut of the UNLV defense on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. That play gave UNR a 35-20 advantage.
“That said we weren’t backing off,” said Reno coach Chris Ault. “It set the tempo.”
Kaepernick set the tempo all night, passing and running for a combined 416 yards to pummel the Rebels in a 49-27 victory that enabled the Wolf Pack (2-2) to keep the Fremont Cannon for a fourth consecutive year.
Kaepernick ran for 240 yards, a record for a Wolf Pack quarterback and the ninth-best ground total in Nevada history.
“I don’t know, I think it might just be genes or something,” said Nevada sophomore running back Vai Taua. “He’s a tough guy.”
With his long strides, Kaepernick looked like he was chewing up 5-yard chunks two steps at a time.
When he wasn’t keeping the UNLV defense off-balance with misdirection keepers, he was throwing touchdown passes of 40 and 70 yards.
It's all because Ault might have been the only Division-I coach in the nation who believed Kaepernick when he said he wouldn't make himself available for the Major League Baseball draft.
“He threw 95 mph in high school. He threw two no-hitters as a senior,” said Kaepernick’s older brother Kyle.
“We’re pretty thankful to Chris Ault,” said Teresa Kaepernick. “He’s about the only one who offered Colin a football scholarship. It was always his dream to play football. This was his shot.”
Six or seven members of Kaepernick’s family mingled outside the Reno locker room late Saturday night and every one of them wore blue No. 10 jerseys bearing Colin’s signature high on the zero.
He signed them all at a wedding in Wisconsin in July.
Colin’s father, Rick, had been in the dairy industry in Milwaukee until Colin turned 4. Hilmar Cheese Company, just outside Turlock, Calif., offered Rick an executive position.
So Colin, 20, is a Cheesehead, a fan of the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre.
“We called him Bo, as in Bo Jackson,” said Kyle Kaepernick, 31. “Remember the ‘Bo Knows’ commercials? He was just like that.”
When Nick Graziano went down last season with a foot injury, Colin Kaepernick took over and hasn’t taken a seat.
He accounted for 420 yards of offense and five touchdowns in a thrilling four-overtime, 69-67 defeat to Boise State in October.
His quarterback rating (161.06) and yards per rushing attempt (9.4) both were among the top five figures in the country.
He struggled a bit during fall camp with the offense, and a 69-17 defeat at Missouri stung him … and his family.
“That made me sick,” said Teresa Kaepernick.
And Saturday’s stunning performance by her son?
“They needed this,” she said.
Colin Kaepernick said a week off helped the Wolf Pack prepare for the Rebels.
“For the most part, we were on point … we were able to run the ball at will,” he said. “We thought we’d be able to run this past week. Luckily, they played into our game plan.
“We stuck with our game plan the whole night. It worked out really well. When your offensive line dominates and gets 4- and 5-yard pushes, it’s really easy on us.”
Kaepernick’s immediate family will go to Hawaii to watch the Pack play the Warriors at the end of the month.
About 80 members of the family’s church in Turlock will make the road trip to Fresno to see Nevada play the upstart Bulldogs on Nov. 7.
Kyle Kaepernick will make both trips.
“Chris Ault was the only one who believed him, that he wouldn’t play baseball,” he said of his little brother. “But he was too good at football.”
UNLV will second that sentiment.