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Late Field Goal Lifts Hawaii Past Nevada

by Mike Mitchell
November 17, 2007

On Friday night, A 45-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining lifted the Warriors to a 28-26 comeback victory over Nevada to keep their undefeated season alive and extend their winning streak to 11 games.

Playing without star quarterback Colt Brennan, who suffered a concussion in late in last week's win over Fresno State, backup Tyler Graunke began the Warriors' game-winning drive at his own 12-yard line with 2:16 on the clock and no timeouts left. Roughly 50 seconds remained in the game when Hawaii faced 4th down at the Wolf Pack 27-yard line. Despite having two timeouts in his pocket, Nevada head coach Chris Ault elected to let the clock wind down and called back-to-back timeouts to ice Hawaii place kicker Dan Kelly.

The first time-out was taken well before the snap. The second time-out nullified Kelly's first effort that took a late hook to clear the crossbar inside the right upright. The next kick was a high, booming kick that traveled straight down the middle and cleared the crossbar by several yards.

After the ensuing kick-off return Nevada only had enough time left for one desperation heave from its own 37-yard line and that was pass was intercepted.

The Wolf Pack trailed 19-10 at the half, but controlled the ball for most of the third quarter as they rallied to take a 20-19 lead going into the final period. Hawaii went back in front 25-20 with 13:35 remaining on a drive that was kept alive by a premature whistle which negated a fumble recovery by Nevada that may have been returned for a touchdown. The Wolf Pack regained the lead at the 8:27 mark on a 3-play, 51-yard drive. However, the failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 26-25 instead of providing a 3-point cushion.

Nevada blew another golden opportunity to put the Warriors away when they recovered a Hawaii fumbled on its next possession, but fumbled it back three plays later.

Brennan played one snap on each of two separate drives in the first quarter and went 2-for-2 for 21 yards, but never played again. Graunke finished 33-of-46 for 358 yards and 2 TD's.

Nevada, now 5-5, would have become bowl eligible with a win. Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) hosts Boise State next Friday to decide the WAC title.