Nevada may never want to return to the islands again after
losing its sixth straight at Hawaii. By bolting for the Mountain
West Conference next year, it may never have to.
Bryant Moniz threw three touchdowns, Mana Silva intercepted a
late pass and Hawaii held on to upset No. 19 Nevada 27-21 on
Saturday night, spoiling the Wolf Pack’s perfect season.
”We knew that they’ve never won here and we wanted to keep that
going,” Moniz said.
The surging Warriors (5-2, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) have
won four straight to emerge as the top challenger to powerhouse
Boise State for the WAC title.
”This one’s sweet,” Moniz said. ”Nevada is ranked, undefeated
season, leaving the WAC, we lost to them last year. I could go on
Moniz threw two scoring passes to Kealoha Pilares in the first
quarter and zipped an 11-yard TD strike to Royce Pollard with 5 1/2
minutes left. But Nevada answered with its own score to pull within
six with 3:06 left, then recovered an onside kick.
With Nevada driving, the crowd in a frenzy and the clock winding
down, Colin Kaepernick’s pass was tipped into the hands of Silva to
seal Hawaii’s win. It was Kaepernick’s second interception of the
night. He also fumbled twice, both forced by Corey Paredes.
”I single-handedly lost this football game tonight,”
Kaepernick’s second fumble erased a touchdown from the
scoreboard. Kaepernick scrambled 10 yards to the left and tried to
reach across the goal line. After a review, officials ruled he
fumbled into the end zone for a touchback.
”I thought I was going to get in easy, but I just didn’t take
care of the ball,” said Kaepernick, who was 14 of 26 for 159 yards
and two TDs. He also carried the ball 11 times for 30 yards.
Nevada (6-1, 1-1) fell to 0-6 at Aloha Stadium and hasn’t won in
Honolulu since 1948. Its last loss also came at the 2009 Hawaii
Bowl when it was routed by SMU.
Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said the win was satisfying.”
”There’s a real personal satisfaction because they don’t want
to play with us anymore,” he said. ”They’re too good for us now
and they’re trying to do what’s good for their program, I
understand that, but the way it was done, I don’t know if that was
right or not.”
Moniz finished 26 of 36 for 287 yards. His final touchdown pass
capped a six-play, 57-yard drive that included a highlight-reel
play. Moniz escaped the arms of a defender, and scrambled around
until tossing a 37-yard pass to Greg Salas to the Nevada 14.
Salas finished with 11 catches for 153 yards.
”I just keep believing in my O-line, believing in my receivers
and we were never worried,” Moniz said. ”Whether we’re up 17 or
down 17, we’re going to believe in ourselves.”
The showdown of two of the nation’s top offenses that average a
combined 1,000 yards and 80 points turned out to be a defensive
”It was a lack of execution, we just didn’t play like ourselves
tonight,” Kaepernick said.
After a slow start, Nevada finally got on the scoreboard with
about a minute left in the third quarter on Kaepernick’s 1-yard
run. On fourth-and-goal, Kaepernick leaned across the goal line to
slice the lead to 10.
Nevada cut it to 20-14 with 9:30 left on Kaepernick’s swing pass
to Vai Taua, who rumbled 18 yards. The score was set up by Mike
Ball’s 84-yard kickoff return.
Ball also caught a 10-yard TD pass late in the game, Nevada’s
Hawaii took a 17-0 halftime lead behind its swarming defense
that plugged Nevada’s pistol.
”I was telling the defense that we need to lock it down and
play with our hearts,” Paredes said.
The Wolf Pack, who entered the game averaging 43 points and
545.3 total yards, were held to 107 yards in the first half and 293
”Our offense was kind of just hurting ourselves once again,”
said Taua, who ran24 times for 91 yards, snapping his string of
100-yard games at five.
Nevada failed to score on its seven possessions in the half,
going three-and-out four times and failing to convert on fourth
Pilares caught two TD passes in the first quarter as Hawaii took
He caught a swing pass and weaved his way through three
defenders en route to the 16-yard score.
Earlier in the quarter, Moniz rolled right and found Pilares for
a 6-yard TD strike, giving Hawaii a 7-0 lead. It was the first time
Nevada had trailed all season.