POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 17, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 02:16 a.m. HST, Oct 17, 2010
Good luck convincing Nevada to return to Aloha Stadium.
Whether the Wolf Pack leave the Western Athletic Conference in 2011 or a year later, the term "at Hawaii" is likely never to show up on their schedule again.
No. 19 Nevada had its best chance coming in to conquer its demons at Aloha Stadium, but instead the one-touchdown favorites fell victim to the same mistakes that have cost the Wolf Pack in every regular-season game here as a member of the WAC.
Four turnovers, including an interception in the final 2 minutes of the game, did Nevada in as Hawaii handed the Wolf Pack their first loss of the season, 27-21, last night.
Nevada, which along with Fresno State is expected to leave the WAC before the 2012 season at the latest, will finish 0-6 as a member of the conference against the Warriors at Aloha Stadium.
It's the third consecutive time the Wolf Pack, who last beat Hawaii here in 1948, lost to UH on its home field by a touchdown or less.
"This is third time we had a chance to win in the fourth quarter out here and didn't," Nevada coach Chris Ault said. "Last time they beat us with a fade route and now we've got a chance to go down and score and (Hawaii) makes the interception."
Senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick had four touchdowns to beat Hawaii 31-21 at Mackay Stadium last year, but four turnovers this year proved to be the difference.
The last one came after Nevada had cut a 13-point deficit to 27-21 on a touchdown pass to Mike Ball. Zach Sudfeld recovered an onside kick and the Wolf Pack moved the ball into Hawaii territory with 1:30 remaining when Kaepernick's pass was tipped into the hands of Hawaii safety Mana Silva, putting an end to the Wolf Pack's undefeated season.
"There was nothing Hawaii did tonight to stop us," said Kaepernick, the school's all-time leader in total offense. "Just lack of execution (on our part), we didn't play like ourselves tonight."
Nevada, which entered the game seventh in the nation averaging 43 points a game, didn't convert a first down until the final 2 minutes of the first quarter and was shut out at halftime for the first time since the 2009 Hawaii Bowl against SMU.
"Our offense stunk in the first half," Ault said.
Nevada opened the third quarter with its best drive of the game, but Kaepernick fumbled at the 1-yard line just prior to reaching the end zone. The ball rolled into the end zone and out of bounds for a Hawaii touchback.
Kaepernick got it rolling as the Wolf Pack scored touchdowns on their next three drives, but the one that would have given them their first lead of the game was cut short by his second interception of the game.
"In my eyes, I single-handedly lost this football game tonight," Kaepernick said. "I fumbled going in; that's another seven points that wins the game. Threw a pick going in, that's another seven. Threw another pick, that's another seven.
"That's 21 extra points we should have had tonight."