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Colin Kaepernick Runs Wild

Posted Aug 10, 2012

Colin Kaepernick showed flashes of the dual-threat ability that made him a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft during the San Francisco 49ers preseason-opening 17-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Working with the second-team offense on San Francisco’s second offensive possession, Kaepernick found a large hole to his right after faking a handoff to rookie running back LaMichael James on the second unit’s second play of the evening. It allowed the young quarterback to run virtually untouched along the sideline for a 78-yard score.

Kaepernick, in his second season in the NFL, finished his touchdown run with an emphatic stiff-arm on Vikings cornerback Chris Cook to increase the host’s advantage to 14-6 in the second quarter.

“Our offensive line did a great job blocking the box,” Kaepernick said. “Our receiver blocked the corner, our tight end got up to the safety and left me with a lot of green grass. I felt him coming behind me. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t get caught.”

Kaepernick rushed for 92-yards, with his 78-yard touchdown scamper as the highlight, in his four series of action with the second-team offense. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback went 5-of-9 for 40-yards in the air during the first half.

Kaepernick and the San Francisco second-team offense came on after Alex Smith and the starters went 84 yards down the field for a touchdown on their first drive of the game, giving the 49ers a 7-3 lead.

The backups wasted little time finding the end zone on their first series of the game.

Kaepernick and James came out in the no-huddle attack to start their 2012 campaign and Kaepernick found the end zone on his second snap of the game. Both operated in a hurry-up offense with great success in college.

Kaepernick looked comfortable running option plays alongside James all night.

“I think it’s just something we are used to because we have done it for so long,” Kaepernick said.” It was something that I think both of us won’t forget how it feels to be back there. The chemistry was just good.”

It was Kaepernick’s first rushing touchdown in a professional game, and was the longest run of his NFL career.

Kaepernick, the former No. 36 overall pick, continued to command the offense with success for the rest of the first-half before making way for fellow second-year quarterback Scott Tolzien at the start of the third quarter.

“I think our offense played well as a whole today,” Kaepernick said about the team’s performance. “We went out and executed the plays we wanted to. We were picking up first-downs and we put points on the board.”

On his third series of the game, Kaepernick marched the second-team offense 47 yards down the field on 12 plays, converting two third-downs, to set up a Giorgio Tavecchio 29-yard field goal to make it 17-6 for the final points of the evening.

The second-quarter scoring drive, which took more than six minutes off the clock, was set up by Kaepernick’s 15-yard completion to rookie, first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins along the right sideline. The connection between the two former high draft picks’ was the team’s longest completion in the first half, in what appeared to be a preview of both youngsters’ potential.

“A.J. Jenkins made the big catch on the sideline,” Jim Harbaugh said about the play. “It was a great throw from Colin and a tremendous catch.”

Kaepernick spent much of his time on the field showing off his rookie weapons as he handed off to James three times with additional option fakes to the speedy running back helping to keep the Vikings defense on its heels. The first-year runner out of Oregon gained 15-yards with a long of 11 in his first professional game.

Kaepernick’s dual-threat ability helped Harbaugh’s offense outrush the Vikings 198-59 in the first half. The 49ers finished the game with 260-82 advantage in rushing yards.

Scott Tolzien came on in relief of Kaepernick to start the third-quarter in efficient fashion going 10-for-13 for a game-high 84-yards passing.

“All our quarterbacks really played well,” the 49ers coach said. “Alex, Colin, Josh and Scott Tolzien did some real exceptional things. He (Tolzien) made a great play on the hit. He got the strong safety blitz, took it right in the teeth and threw a great accurate ball there.”

Josh Johnson saw action at quarterback in the fourth quarter, with a 49ers game-high 22-yard completion to Ben Hannula along the left sideline with just over six minutes remaining in the game as the highlight.

Harbaugh had good reason to be happy with all his quarterbacks’ play on Friday as they out-passed the Vikings 152-126 to go along with completing 20 passes compared to Minnesota’s 11 link-ups.

The 49ers will be off on Saturday before returning to Candlestick Park for Fan Fest on Sunday.

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