Nevada 59, Boise State 52, 3OT
RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Senior fullback Ray Whalen scored three touchdowns, including the game- winner in the third overtime, to lead Nevada to a 59-52 victory over Boise State in the NCAA I-AA championship playoffs on Saturday.
The victory advances Nevada, 13-1, to the I-AA championship game next Saturday against defending champion Georgia Southern, 11-3, in Statesboro, Ga.
Nevada’s only loss this season was a 30-14 romping by Boise State, which ends its season 10-4.
Whalen, who didn’t play the previous game against Boise State, rushed for 245 yards and a school-record 44 carries in Saturday’s victory.
Nevada led 20-14 at the half. But Boise scored two straight third-quarter touchdowns on a 44-yard pass from second team quarterback Duane Halliday and a 14-yard run by senior fullback Bart Hull to take a 28-20 lead.
In a wild fourth quarter, Nevada outscored Boise State 22-17, but allowed the Broncos to score the game-tying touchdown with 59 seconds remaining in regulation. The 7-yard pass from Mike Verdin to Ryan Tell sent the game into overtime knotted at 45 a piece.
Both teams missed field goals in the first overtime. Boise came ahead on a 1-yard run in the second overtime, but Nevada tied it at 52 a piece on an 8- yard pass from freshman Chris Vargas to Scott Benning.
Nevada came ahead for good in the third overtime on an 8-yard Whalen run and held the Broncos to no touchdowns to capture the game.