RENO, Nev. -- Turlock's Colin Kaepernick ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 181 yards and two more scores in Nevada's 52-31 victory over California on Friday night.
Marlon Johnson scored on a 65-yard interception return, and Vai Taua added 151 yards rushing -- including a 54-yard run that made it 45-24 with 7:43 left -- to help the Western Athletic Conference school improve to 3-0.
Shane Vereen ran for a career-high 198 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears (2-1), who had a 22-1-1 record against Nevada entering the game and had won their only previous contest in Reno 81-6 in 1915.
Kaepernick, a graduate of Pitman High School, moved into a tie for seventh with Missouri's Brad Smith in career rushing touchdowns with 45. In three games this year, the 6-foot-6 senior has thrown for six touchdowns and run for seven.
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It was the ninth time in their career that Kaepernick and Taua have each surpassed 100 yards rushing in the same game. Last year, they teamed with Luke Lippincott to become the first backfield trio in NCAA history to each rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season.
The Bears were without linebacker Mike Mohamed, the Pac-10's leading tackler a year ago who was out with a sprained toe. They entered the game leading the nation in fewest yards allowed averaging 161 per game. But Nevada had 297 by the half while holding Cal to only 136 as the Wolf Pack scored on four of their five possessions for a 24-14 lead.
On the first series of the second half, Vereen ran 50 yards for a touchdown to pull Cal to 24-21. Nevada went three and out on the next series, but six plays later Johnson stepped in front of Riley's quick out intended for Keenan Allen and raced 65 yards down the sideline for a 31-21 lead.
Vereen ran for 35 yards and Riley passed 32 yards to Miller to set up Giorgio Tavecchio's 22-yard field goal that made it 31-24 with 5:14 in the third quarter.
Nevada went up 38-24 four minutes after Rishard Mathews caught a 29-yard pass from Kaepernick near the goal line, had it stripped by Cal's Marc Anthony but was determined by the officials' review of the videotape to have recovered the fumble with the nose in the end zone for a score.
Taua's put the game away with 54-yard TD run up the middle for a 45-24 lead with 7:43 remaining before a sellout crowd of 29,993 at Mackay Stadium, many flooding the field to celebrate after the final gun.
Nevada ate up nearly half the first quarter on the opening drive, going 80 yards in 12 plays for a 7-0 lead on Kaepernick's 15-yard touchdown pass to Tray Session.