Nevada running back Luke Lippincott rushed 25 times for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Late-game heroics stun the Wolf Pack
RENO, Nev. » The long line of dark blue jerseys shuffled toward the locker room in silence as chants of "B-C-S" echoed in the background from an elated group of Hawaii fans.
"Words can't describe it," said Nevada cornerback Paul Pratt. "Us seniors don't have another chance against Hawaii. That was it."
The Wolf Pack were collectively stunned after a late Dan Kelly field goal slammed through the uprights to give undefeated Hawaii a 28-26 victory in front of a national TV and wild Mackay Stadium audience.
"We had our chances," said stoic head coach Chris Ault. "We just didn't get it done."
Nevada seemed to have the game in the bag before a late Hawaii drive put Kelly within range. Two timeouts and a jet-engines crowd roar didn't faze the kicker as he kept the 10-0 Warriors on track for a possible big-time bowl bid.
"We couldn't hold the ball at the end and gave them another chance," Ault said. "They were able to move the ball and convert."
Ault blew off the absence of Heisman Trophy candidate Colt Brennan, who completed two passes for 21 yards.
"Their system is not going to change," said the 23-year Nevada coaching veteran. "It was no issue who started, or even if Brennan played or not.
"He might have the stronger arm, but it really didn't matter. They can score from anywhere on the field and score quickly."
Ault also praised his team's pass coverage and overall defense.
"We had some breakdowns, but we played with a lot of energy," he said. "They have a lot of weapons, especially with those receivers."
Wolf Pack second-year freshman quarterback Colin Kaepernick blamed himself for the tough loss.
"I keep replaying plays in my head that I should have made," he said softly. "I didn't play well in the first half and just didn't finish the game.
"There are so many different plays to look at ... touchdowns that should have been made. It was a heartbreaker. We were ready to play."
Kaepernick, who completed seven passes in 17 attempts for 94 yards and one touchdown, also complimented the Warriors.
"They're a good team," Kaepernick said. "They can play. That's why they're undefeated and where they are today."
Defensive tackle Matt Hines was still in shock afterward.
"I'd rather lose by 50 points than like that by two," he said. "It was a tough game. We should have come out on top.
"A lot of guys were yelling and screaming in there (the locker room), but we have two more games left and a chance to go 7-5. We don't need to keep our heads down. We played a good game."
Ault just shook his head when asked if holding high-scoring Hawaii to 28 points should have meant a certain victory.
"We don't talk about holding a team to a certain number of points," he said. "We just needed to find a way to score more than they did."
Is Hawaii a BCS team?
"Yes," Ault said. "They definitely are."