Adam Tafralis passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns to rally San Jose State to a 27-24 win over Nevada on Saturday, the Spartans' first win over the Wolf Pack in six years.
Nevada had a chance to tie the game and force overtime but Brett Jaekle's 37-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright and bounced away as time expired, preserving the win for San Jose (5-7, 4-4 WAC) in its season-finale and setting off a mild celebration on the field.
It was the Spartans' first win in the series since a 64-45 win on Nov. 10, 2001 when the two schools combined for an NCAA record 1,640 yards in offense.
Saturday's game didn't come close to matching that type of offensive output, though Tafralis and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick did their best to try.
Tafralis completed 29 of 46 passes and led San Jose to scores on its first three possessions of the second half when the Spartans outscored Nevada 17-0. The senior quarterback, who earlier this year became San Jose's all-time passing and total offense leader, also broke the school mark for career completions with 603.
Kaepernick was 12-of-22 for 252 yards and two touchdowns and added another 72 yards rushing for the Wolf Pack (5-6, 3-4 WAC), who led early but couldn't sustain the momentum and lost its second straight.
Nevada, which was coming off a last-second 28-26 loss to then-No. 13 Hawaii last week, built a 14-point halftime lead behind Kaepernick. He threw a pair of touchdown passes to Marko Mitchell in the first half and Jaekle added a 36-yard field goal as time ran out in the second quarter to help the Wolf Pack build a 24-10 lead.
But behind Tafralis, the Spartans rallied to win for just the second time in their last six games.
He completed all five throws during an 80-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brian Elledge. After a Nevada punt, Jared Strubeck's second field goal of the afternoon pulled San Jose within 24-20.
Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack offense couldn't respond and the Spartans went ahead for good on Sean Flynn's 13-yard burst up the middle on an inside draw. The score was set up by a Tafralis 41-yard completion to wide receiver David Richmond, who finished with nine catches for 143 yards.
Tafralis' first touchdown pass came late in the first quarter when he found Kevin Jurovich for a 33-yard touchdown, taking advantage of a mix-up in coverage by Nevada defensive backs Devon Walker and Uche Anyanwu. Jurovich, San Jose State's leading receiver this year, later suffered an apparent right shoulder injury but stayed in the game and finished with eight catches for 91 yards. He also established the Spartans' single-season reception record with 85.