Men's college basketball: Wolf Pack, Kaepernick shut down

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico made Nevada's "Pistol" offense look more like a pop-gun.

Lobos defenders pestered redshirt freshman quarterback Colin Kaepernick all afternoon, and came away with a 23-0 victory in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday.

The Wolf Pack, led by Pitman High graduate Kaepernick, had averaged 36.2 points and 488.9 yards during the season. Nevada had logged 23 scoring plays that covered at least 25 yards -- second to Oklahoma's 25 big-play touchdowns.

This time, Nevada had 210 total yards, with only 73 yards rushing. On a chilly day, with the temperature at kickoff 34 degrees, Kaepernick finished 13-of-31 for 137 yards. He had 10 carries for 40 yards rushing.

New Mexico's Paul Baker ran for 167 yards in his first start, and quarterback Donovan Porterie threw for career-high 354 yards and two touchdowns.

The Lobos (9-4) ended a 46-year span without a postseason victory and gave coach Rocky Long, the team's 10th-year coach, his first bowl win in five tries.

"It gets it off our back. We don't have to listen to it anymore," Long said. "But this program was good before we won today."

Long was both defiant and jovial in the interview room, scolding reporters for focusing on the bowl losses -- including Long's 0-4 mark before Saturday.

"It's you people who make it so important that we have to win to be justified," he said. "It's you folks that write that stuff, not us.

"We believe. Our players believe. I believe. I'm glad you're giving me a soap box, by the way," he added, drawing laughter.

John Sullivan made field goals from 53, 39 and 37 yards, but give credit to New Mexico's defense, which delivered just the second shutout loss for Nevada under Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault.

The Wolf Pack (6-7) hadn't gone scoreless since losing 10-0 to Weber State on Sept. 27, 1980, a span of 329 games -- the longest current streak in college football and the second longest in history.

It's the first time Nevada was shut out since moving to Division I-A in 1992.

"It's certainly a compliment to their defense," Ault said. "They played a great game. At the other end of the spectrum, we played as poorly on offense as we've played in a long time."

It was New Mexico's first bowl victory since beating Western Michigan 28-12 in the 1961 Aviation Bowl at Dayton, Ohio. The Lobos also notched a nine-win season for just the fourth time in school history.

As for Nevada, it was ugly on nearly every front.

The Wolf Pack blocked two field goals, Sullivan missed another 43-yard try and the Lobos failed to score after having first-and-goal at the 4 late in the third quarter. But Nevada just couldn't take advantage.

"We didn't do a good job with any consistency on the run game or the pass game," Ault said. "Colin Kaepernick didn't have a chance to get into any type of rhythm. We just shot ourselves in the foot."