A television audience estimated at 80 million watched Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick break his own all-time NCAA record as the Wolf Pack defeated Boston College 20-13 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on January 9 in San Francisco.
It may not have been a BCS bowl, but for the nearly 41,000 fans who packed AT&T Park, site of the 2010 World Series, it had all the excitement of one.
The City by the Bay was overrun with fans, as some 15,000 attended the pep rally in Union Square and filled the pubs and eateries near the stadium.
The entire event was a spectacular success for its sponsor, Kraft Foods and the city itself. The turnout by the Nevada faithful far exceeded expectations.
The game itself was a defensive struggle, as both teams contained each other's offense. Nevada was held to its lowest rushing total of the season.
Kaepernick was 20-of-33 through the air for 192 yards and rushed for another 22, bringing his career total to a staggering 10,098 yards passing and 4,112 yards rushing. He previously held the all-time NCAA record for the combination of passing and rushing yards as the only player to have passed for over 9,000 and rush for 4,000.
Having broken through the 10,000 passing yard mark widens the distance between him and second place by some 1,500 passing yards and virtually guarantees that his record will stand for a very long time. In fact, this record may never be broken.
Kaepernick joins Brad Smith and Vince Young as the only players in history to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. He had already set a record as the only player in history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 in three seasons.
With 82 passing TDs, 59 rushing TDs and one receiving TD to his credit, Kaepernick has accounted for 142 career TDs and 852 points. He will remain tied with Eric Crouch for the all-time NCAA record for rushing TDs by a QB at 59.
The win against Boston College capped the best season in Nevada history, as the Wolf Pack finished 13-1. The season was highlighted by a blowout over then-No. 23 Cal and the come-from-behind victory over No. 3 Boise State. Kaepernick finished his career at Nevada having led the team to a share of the WAC championship while snapping a four-game bowl losing streak. Nevada finished the season ranked No. 11 in the final AP poll.
Hoisted by fellow players and fans as the victory trophy was presented, Kaepernick has forever endeared himself with the Nevada faithful as the best player ever for the Wolf Pack.
Sure to be drafted, his future in the NFL remains uncertain. As the most productive dual threat in NCAA history, it remains to be seen if that can translate into success at the next level. Time alone will tell.
It is safe to say, however, that there are a lot of college coaches and scouts who are still wondering how they overlooked him. The University of Nevada was the only school to have recruited him, and his impact will benefit Nevada for many years to come.