(Saturday, November 22nd)
Final Score: (9) Boise State 41, Nevada 34
Reno, NV (Sports Network) - Kellen Moore threw for 414 yards and three touchdowns but had three costly interceptions, as ninth-ranked Boise State survived several furious comebacks to top Nevada, 41-34.
Moore connected on 29-of-48 throws for the Broncos (11-0, 7-0 WAC), who gave up a season high in points but managed to come away with the victory. They can complete their undefeated regular season next Friday at home against Fresno State.
"We put him in a bad situation where he has to throw it that much," Boise State head coach Chris Peterson said of Moore. "Nevada's got a very good defense. We can't do anything more than that and it makes it hard on us. I'm just proud how tough he is. He does what he needs to do to win."
Ian Johnson ran for 71 yards and a score on seven carries for Boise State, while Austin Pettis caught nine passes for 126 yards and two TDs. Vinny Perretta added five catches for 126 yards in the win.
Colin Kaepernick threw for 241 yards and one TD on just 19-of-50 passing but was not intercepted. He also ran for 70 yards for Nevada (6-5, 4-3), which closes out its regular season next Saturday at Louisiana Tech.
Jerome Johnson and Joshua Mauga each had an interception return for a touchdown for the Wolf Pack, while Vai Taua ran for 75 yards and a score.
"The defense played great tonight and kept our hopes alive," Kaepernick said. "Offensively, they did great up front. I didn't make passes when I needed to. That was the difference in the game."
Two scores at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave Boise State a 17-point lead. Nevada had already nearly overcome a 21-point deficit at halftime to get back in the game and was forced to do so again.
Nevada began it with a touchdown with 4:36 left, a nine-yard connection from Kaepernick to Marko Mitchell, bringing the Wolf Pack within 41-31.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nevada tried an onside kick and recovered the ball.
"I knew they would make a run," Peterson said. "As we turned the ball over, I knew it would be a tight game. We had our hands team in but (Nevada) executed better than we did."
After converting a third down, Kaepernick avoided several tackles around midfield and ran down to the 23.
A pass interference call got Nevada to the eight-yard line, but three passes went incomplete, leading to Brett Jaekle's 25-yard field goal with 2:36 left to get the Wolf Pack within a touchdown.
Nevada's next onside kick, though, was recovered safely by Boise State, which ran off almost a minute of clock getting to the 30. But Kyle Brotzman's 48- yard field goal attempt sailed wide right, and the Wolf Pack took over at their own 31.
Nevada advanced the ball to its own 46, and on 4th-and-6 with 44 seconds on the clock, Kaepernick scrambled and threw a strike to Mike McCoy for a 28-yard gain to the Boise State 26.
Kaepernick threw his first pass out of bounds, leaving 15 seconds on the clock. His next end zone try was almost intercepted with eight seconds left, and another incompletion left Nevada with one last try with three ticks left. But Kaepernick's heave was batted down, sealing Boise State's win.
Boise State got on the scoreboard first after Moore escaped a 3rd-and-24 situation with a 60-yard strike to Perretta. That set up the Broncos deep in Nevada territory, leading to Moore's 16-yard end zone connection with Richie Brockel.
The Broncos got another TD later in the quarter when a pair of long Moore passes -- 24 yards to Julian Hawkins and 22 yards to Pettis -- set up Perretta's three-yard plunge into the end zone.
Nevada's subsequent drive bridged the first and second quarters, and the Wolf Pack managed a 25-yard field goal from Jaekle less than two minutes into the new stanza.
Brotzman hit a field goal of his own, a 34-yarder, to give Boise State a 17-3 lead with a little more than six minutes left in the half. After a Nevada punt, Boise State got another score on an 18-yard strike from Moore to Pettis, giving the Broncos a 24-3 lead at halftime.
But Nevada climbed back in the contest in the second half thanks to a few big defensive plays. The Broncos started a drive at their own 21, and on second down Moore was picked off by Jerome Johnson, who returned the ball 28 yards for the score to bring the Wolf Pack within 24-10.
"I just stepped in front of it, jumped as high as I could, and took off," Johnson said of the play.
Boise State countered with its own touchdown, a 66-yard rush to the end zone by Ian Johnson, but Nevada had an answer -- a 31-yard TD run by Taua with 6:24 on the clock.
Nevada was still down two scores as Boise State took over at its 20, and the Broncos started to drive with 13-yard throw from Moore to Perretta and a six- yard run by Jeremy Avery. But Moore was intercepted again, this time by Mauga, who returned the ball up the right sideline, paused to let traffic clear around the 10-yard line and stepped into the end zone. The 46-yard return, coming with 5:14 left, brought Nevada within 31-24, and the score remained that way headed into the fourth.
But Boise State was able to extend its lead, taking the ball with 11:20 remaining at the Nevada 31, after a long kick return. It took just three plays to score, as Moore found Pettis from 10 yards out, restoring Boise's two-TD cushion.
Nevada was then forced to punt from the end zone, and Boise State got the ball at the Wolf Pack 35. The drive went nowhere, but Brotzman drilled a 50-yard field goal with 7:20 left for a 41-24 lead.
Boise State piled up 484 yards of total offense to Nevada's 385...Boise State was 5-for-5 converting red zone scoring chances, while Nevada went 3- for-3...Moore completed passes to 10 different receivers for the Broncos...Mitchell finished with four catches for 73 yards for the Wolf Pack.
11/22 23:03:10 ET