As a super senior at the University of Nevada, I am one of the few remaining students on campus who was here during Colin Kaepernick’s reign as the Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback. I was a freshman during his final year on campus, and I can still remember how exciting it was to attend football games with such a talented athlete leading the team.
We started out the season strong, with two wins at home against Eastern Washington and Colorado State. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we beat UC Berkeley 52-31 at home during our third game. We kept the Fremont Cannon blue with a 44-26 victory on UNLV’s turf. And no one can forget the historic November 26th game when we robbed Boise State of their otherwise-perfect season. #ThankYouKyleBrotzman
Our 12-1 record in the regular season earned us an invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where we defeated Boston College 20-13. With the exception of one away game against the University of Hawaii, our team won every game in the 2010 football season. (FBSchedules) Man, those were the glory days.
Much of the Nevada Wolf Pack’s success that season was due to none other than Mr. Colin Kaepernick. In 2008, he was the only NCAA quarterback to pass for 2,500 or more yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards, and was awarded MVP at the Humanitarian Bowl with a record 370 yards passing and an ankle injury. During his career with the Pack, Kaep was twice named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and during his senior year, was ranked first amongst active college football players in rushing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in the history of Division 1 FBS college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career, and the only one to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season three consecutive times. (NCAA FBS Records 2011)
Seriously, what a star. We Nevada fans were so proud to have Mr. Kaepernick leading our team back then, though we knew that eventually the day would come when he would hang up his Wolf Pack gear to pursue a career in the NFL. We never imagined the tremendous success he would find.
Not only was Colin drafted by the NFL, not only was he selected as the 4th pick of the second round, but he was chosen by Northern Nevada’s closest NFL team: the San Francisco 49ers. Considering there are no professional sports teams in the state of Nevada, most people from Nevada consider themselves fans of California’s teams, including the San Francisco 49ers. This is especially true for those of us who are Bay Area natives.
You can only imagine the enormous pride we all felt for the 49ers, the Wolf Pack, and Colin Kaepernick when he was drafted in 2011. We watched as Kaep had a fairly uneventful first season, we watched as his second season had a similar start, and we watched as that all changed, when in week 10 he replaced Alex Smith due to a head injury. Though we all felt terrible for Smith and his concussion, we couldn’t help but draw similarities between this occasion and the 2007 Wolf Pack season, when starting quarterback Nick Graziano suffered a foot injury. Both instances led to Kaepernick finishing out the game in lieu of the starting QB, and eventually taking over as the starting QB for the remainder of the season.
Kaep quickly rose to fame during the 2012 NFL season, breaking the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. He led the San Francisco 49ers to victory in 8 of the 11 games in which he started during the regular and post-season, and led the team to Super Bowl XLVII, where they were unfortunately defeated by the Baltimore Ravens 34-31. Though it was a tough loss, the game proves Kaepernick’s tremendous potential.
Let us not forget the off-field attention Kaepernick has also received, from a Sports Illustrated spread, to advertisements with Beats By Dre, to a viral trend known as “Kaepernicking.”
He continues his success with the 49ers today, and win or lose, his fans believe that he can lead our team to another Super Bowl.
From Saturdays, when I would wear his name on a navy jersey while cheering from the student section of Mackay Stadium, to Sundays, when I now wear his name on a red jersey while cheering him on the big screen, I consider myself a tried and true fan of Colin Kaepernick. I couldn’t be more proud that he’s been the quarterback of my two favorite football teams. Go Kaep!
Do you have a favorite Colin Kaepernick memory? Tweet it to me and I might retweet you!
FBSchedules. 2010 Nevada Wolf Pack Schedule. Web. <http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa-10/wac/2010-nevada-wolf-pack-football-schedule.php>
NCAA FBS Records 2011. Web. <http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/2011/FBS.pdf>
Official Website of Colin Kaepernick. Web. <http://www.kaepernick7.com/>