In Nevada football program history, there have been a handful of last minute upsets where the Wolf Pack came out on top. One of the most widely known is the overtime stunner against rival Boise State in 2010.
This year, Thanksgiving falls on the tenth anniversary of Blue Friday, the day future NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick helped lead the Wolf Pack to a 34-31 win over the Broncos. It was the first and only loss for the team in the regular season.
Nevada had been ranked #19 in the nation by the Associated Press, and they were set to face #3 Boise State in Mackay Stadium for their senior night game on Nov. 26.
The Broncos took the lead early in the game, and kept the Pack’s score at zero until senior running back Vai Taua rushed five yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Nevada rallied in the third and fourth quarters and tied the game at 24-24 through a series of successful drives and plays. The Broncos pulled away and scored a touchdown when quarterback Kellen Moore threw a 79 yard pass to running back Doug Martin.
A few minutes later, Kaepernick completed a seven yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rishard Matthews, tying the game again at 31-31. Moore threw a successful hail mary pass to advance the line of scrimmage to the nine yard line with two seconds left in the fourth quarter. Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman missed a 26 yard field goal as time ran out and the game went into overtime.
After an unsuccessful drive, the Broncos attempted a 29 yard field goal, and missed again. After regaining possession, the Pack reached Boise territory on a fourth down.
Nevada kicker Anthony Martinez made a 34 yard field goal, putting the Pack on top and denying Boise State an NCAA top four slot, sole ownership of the Western Athletic Conference championship title, and a spot in the national title game. Nevada went on to defeat Boston College 20-13 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Kaepernick completed 19 of 35 passes for 259 yards on Blue Friday. Taua achieved his 25th career game with over 100 rushing yards. As a whole, Nevada covered 528 yards during the game compared to Boise’s 493.
During the 2010 season, Nevada lost only one game against Hawaii, leaving their record at 13-1. They finished the season ranked #11 by the AP.
The Boise State game was Nevada’s first win against a top 10 team, and is considered the biggest win in program history.
Notable players from the 2010 season include defensive lineman Dontay Moch, running back Courtney Randall, and Vai Taua, the older brother of senior running back Toa Taua.
Much like the 2010 team, the 2020 Wolf Pack has executed an impressive season so far. They are currently on an undefeated streak, with their record standing at 6-0. Next, they will play on the road against Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 28.
Madeleine Chinery can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mchinery6