RENO, Nev. (AP) - Nevada starting running back Vai Taua dislocated his elbow in the loss to Missouri and is unlikely to play against rival UNLV in Reno on Saturday, Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault said Monday.
"As of right now, Vai is not going to play," Ault told about 75 boosters at his weekly luncheon at a Reno hotel-casino.
"But it is not as serious as we thought," he said, adding that he may return for Nevada's opener in the Western Athletic Conference against Louisiana Tech in Reno on Oct. 8.
Nevada (0-3) has lost to Notre Dame, Colorado State and Missouri, but has shown improvement each week, Ault said.
"I've been down this road. It's a bumpy ... road. But we'll come out of it," he said about the team that was picked as the one with the best chance at competing against Boise State for the WAC title.
"It's a long season. We've played some pretty good football teams. Really, all three of those are good, good football teams," he said. "We're not backing off. We'll do nothing but get better."
Turnovers continue to be the Wolf Pack's worst enemy. In the first two games they had four interceptions and four fumbles and added a pair of fumbles in Friday night's 31-21 loss to Missouri. One was a muffed punt reception by Taua on the first series of the game and the other by running back Luke Lippincott, who was 3 yards away from scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter with Missouri leading 21-13.
"The fundamental stuff that is breaking down for us at this particular time is costing us games, not first downs. That's the difference. And it has to be eliminated," Ault said.
"I thought the kids hung in there up until the fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter," Ault said. "We played better, no question about it."
"We had our chances. We had a great shot. We felt good. I thought the offense made some great strides in terms of the run game. Our pass protection the first half was not as good as it had been in the first two games," he said, adding that junior quarterback Colin Kaepernick "is about to hang all" of the offensive linemen.
Ault said he thought the defense played well the first half, holding the Tigers to one touchdown and two field goals to trail 12-7 at halftime.
"Those are good goal-line stands. As I told the defensive coaches, let's just try to make them at the 40 yard line instead of getting all the way down there."
Ault said it was unfortunate the Wolf Pack had to use all three of it's first-half timeouts on the first two offensive series of the game and therefore had none left when they recovered a fumble deep in Missouri territory with 23 seconds on the clock. He said Kaepernick was whistled for delay of game twice in the previous game against Colorado State and so was being extra cautious to make sure that didn't happen again against the Tigers.
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