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Taua helps Nevada edge Fresno State

Nov 14, 2010 - 7:12 AM Fresno, CA (Sports Network) - Vai Taua's 24-yard rushing touchdown with 4:51 to play proved to be the difference, as 21st-ranked Nevada squeaked out a 35-34 victory over Fresno State in Western Athletic Conference action.

Taua amassed 89 yards on the ground on 16 carries and scored three times for the Wolf Pack (9-1, 4-1 WAC), who face New Mexico State next week before a home showdown against unbeaten Boise State on November 26. Colin Kaepernick threw for 171 yards on 16-of-26 passing and added 153 rushing yards and two scores on 16 carries.

Robbie Rouse ran for 217 yards and a pair of scores for Fresno State (6-3, 4-2), which had won its last three games. Ryan Colburn completed 16-of-26 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns in defeat.

Trailing by six in the fourth quarter, Nevada elected to go for it on 4th- and-1 from the Fresno State eight-yard line with 8 1/2 minutes to go. The Bulldogs' defense came up big, holding Taua for no gain to regain possession.

Fresno State garnered only two yards on its ensuing drive and punted the ball away after a minute had elapsed.

Nevada took over at its own 46 and moved the ball 54 yards in seven plays. On 3rd-and-7 from the 49, Kaepernick hit Rishard Matthews for a 16-yard gain into Bulldogs territory. After a four-yard completion to Malcolm Shepherd on 3rd- and-3 from the 28, Taua ran nearly untouched up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown.

The Bulldogs were able to get to their own 45 before Colburn's pass attempt on 4th-and-5 fell incomplete to seal the outcome.

Rouse's two-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive staked Fresno State to an early lead, but Kaepernick responded with a 47-yard dash to the end zone to tie the game.

The Bulldogs made it two perfect drives to begin the game, as Rouse finished an eight-play, 72-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception for a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter.

Kevin Goessling's 42-yard field goal with less than five minutes until halftime extended Fresno State's lead to 17-7 before Taua's four-yard touchdown run with a minute remaining cut the Nevada deficit to three.

On the next Bulldogs series, Colburn was sacked and fumbled the ball away on his own 20, leading to a Taua one-yard rushing score just before halftime for a 21-17 Wolf Pack lead at the break.

Fresno State regained the lead on its first second-half possession when Isaiah Burse caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Colburn, but Kaepernick again found the end zone on the ground from 19 yards away to put Nevada back in front, 28-24, with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third.

The Bulldogs' continued the back-and-forth affair with Rouse's 44-yard touchdown, and Goessling's 34-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter made it a 34-28 contest.

Game Notes

Fresno State still leads the all-time series, 24-17-1, but Nevada has won the last three...Shepherd had 68 yards receiving on seven receptions...Fresno State outgained Nevada, 444-416.