From Vegas Kyle, who's an en fuego 4-1 on posted bowl plays.
Humanitarian bowl - game will be played in boise.
Nevada against Maryland
Location edge ---- medium edge for Nevada. Proximity is the main reason. Reno is about 400 miles away from Bosie which translates to roughly a 6 hour drive from Reno to Boise. So one would expect some support for the Nevada team from their fans. It is also a WAC stadium that Nevada has played in every other year for some time. In addition they have seen the blue turf before and some find it unsettling. I would also assume that the WAC fans in Boise would be cheering more for the WAC representative over the ACC representative. They are knowledgeable football fans there. I suppose there is a chance that they are against Nevada due to rivalry issues. Maryland obviously has to travel a long ways to play in boise and it is not exactly the destination of choice that would lead terp fans to make the trip. I distinctly recall a poor showing from Maryland fans in the Emerald Bowl last year which took place in San Francisco. If you are unwilling to travel the distance to go to northern California , I would think that you would be even less inclined to go to Boise. You have the old east coast team crossing the Mississippi river angle going for Nevada as well. It certainly plays less of a roll as teams are in the city for much longer and become more acclimated to the things compared to a normal road trip but it should be considered any way. The other factor here is the weather possibilities. When weather gets bad , it helps the slower team and also helps the run based team. It hurts the faster team and hurts the pass based team. Now Nevada is certainly a run based team so any bad weather I feel will hurt their offense less than Maryland. The terps are also run based but that simply is not the way to attack Nevada so they will be looking to throw in this game I would think. So the location may cause some wind and may cause some precipitation and/or freezing weather. I think that helps Nevada without a doubt.
Coaching edge ----Medium edge for Maryland.I realize that Chris Ault is a hall of famer but Ralph Friedgen in my estimation is one of the best game day coaches and best preparers in the college game. Friedgen consistently develops his players better than most coaches so that they are better football players at the end of the year than when they began. Chris Ault is by no means a slouch but I have seen several games where he failed to find answers to what his opposition was throwing at him. The concern that I have in this regard is that Ault didn’t seem to attempt to make the necessary changes. Had he made some changes in these games and they failed , I would have more confidence in him standing opposite of Friedgen. To be honest , there are really not that many coaches that are going to whip fat Ralph in the coaching department. Friedgen with thi s much time to prepare is tough to beat.Motivational edge ---Medium edge for NevadaAs is the case with most BCS schools that make it to the bowls to play these smaller conference schools , the BCS school is a tad disappointed to be there and the smaller conference school is looking to make a point. That certainly applies here. Maryland was actually in control of their own destiny to winning the ACC Atlantic and moving on to the conference championship and BCS bowl. They got hit with the turnover bug against Florida State and Boston College and now find themselves in a bowl game in Idaho. That has to be disappointing to those kids. I want to discuss another motivational edge that I see for Nevada this year. Last year Nevada went to the new mexico bowl where they played against the lobos. They were completely decimated and humiliated in that game. New Mexico won that game 23-0 but that does not even begin to tell the story of domination. Nevada was held to 12 first downs and 210 yards of offense. They were shut out for the first time since 1980 a span of 329 games. At the time it was the longest streak in the nation. That defeat had to be humiliating to Chris ault and the staff of Nevada. It has to make Kaepernick motivated as well , since he had possibly his worst game as a collegiate athlete. He was 13 of 31 for 137 yards and was held to 26 yards on 12 carries ( 2.2 per ). So I believe that there will be extra motivation for Nevada to perform in this game than one might think.
Special Teams --Field Goal Kicking -- Slight Edge for Nevada. Brett Jaekle has been awesome all year long from 39 yards and under. He is 12 of 13 from 39 or less but doesn’t have a huge leg. He only attempted 4 kicks of over 40 yards and did not attempt a single kick of over 50 yards. He was 2 of 4 from beyond 40 with a long of 43. He ahs made every extra point this try which has been often. He is 58 of 58 in that regard. In addition it has to be noted that he is familiar with kicking in the cold environment that is likely in boise. Maryland has had some issues with the kicking game this year. Obi Egekeze ( Obi from now on ) is similar but less reliable than Jaekle. Obi was 12 of 16 from 39 or less. He ws given the go by Friedgen more than Jaekle was by Ault from distance. Obi was just 3 of 8 from beyond 40 and also never attempted a 50+ yarder. It should be noted that Obi had 3 misses in the season opener from beyond 40 so he went 3 of 5 for the remainder of the year. Slight edge to Nevada in my opinionPunting -- Slight Edge Nevada. Brad Langley has been a monster for Nevada this year averaging 44 yards per punt. It needs to be noted that he has punted at altitude at times. Again , an advantage in my opinion that he is more used to cold environment that is likely here. Travis Baltz for Maryland is averaging 41.4 per kick which is pretty solid along the east coast that is ACC football. Again , I give a slight edge to Nevada but nothing major.Return game -- Large edge to Maryland. The terps are basically an average team in the return game but they possess more speed and discipline than this Nevada club. Nevada has struggled covering kicks all year long and there is little reason to think they have success here. I would not be surprised at all to see Oquendo or Smith break a really big return in this game. In addition , Maryland sports one of the better punt coverage teams in the nation. I think this is a very dangerous area of concern for anyone looking at the Nevada side of the bet.Kick blocking -- WASH
Alright lets get down to the nitty gritty. How are these teams likely to attack their opponents and can they have success doing it ……..
When Nevada is on offense. Edge nevadaNevada runs the pistol offense Basically they line up Kaepernick 3 or 3 ½ yards behind center and run a lot of read option but also throw from the set. They are without question a run first offense, run second offense ,,,, run third offense. Only tcu and Tulsa have more rush attempts per game than Nevada ( excluding option schools ) and the Tulsa number is more a result of number of plays per game when they are involved. Nevada has had a lot of success running the football averaging 291 yards pe r game and a nations best 6.24 yards per carry. Since this decides how the Nevada offense will or will not succeed , lets look at how they did this year vs. each opponent. They had 426 yards vs. grambling state …. So throw that out.vs. texas tech -- rushed for 224 at 4.8 per carryTexas tech gives up an average of 133.5 at 3.89 a carry ( rank 45th )At Missouri -- rushed for 182 at 4.1 per carry ( Missouri scored so many td that Nevada got out of game plan a little bit )Missouri gives up an average of 129 yards at 3.56 per carry ( rank 39th ) At unlv -- Nevada rushed for 444 yards at 7.7 per carryUnlv gives up 213.5 yards per game at 5.03 yards per carry ( rank 112th )At Idaho -- Nevada rushed for 264 yards at 5.6 per carryIdaho gives up 208.4 yards per game at 5.55 yards per carry ( rank 109th )vs. nmsu --Nevada rushed for 313 yards at 7.5 per carryNmsu gives up 220 yards per game at 5.2 per carry ( rank 116th )vs. Utah state -- Nevada rushed for 284 yards at 6.8 per carryUtah state mighty aggies give up 160.2 yards per game at 4.47 yards per carry ( rank 84th )At Hawaii -- Nevada rushed for 308 yards at 7.7 yards per carryHawaii gives up 148 yards a game at 4.00 per carry ( rank 73rd )At fresno st --Nevada rushed for 472 yards at 7.7 per carryFresno st gives up 197.33 yards per game at 5.25 per carry ( rank 105 )vs. sjsu -- Nevada rushed for 333 yards at 6.8 per rushSjsu gives up 142 yards per game at 4.00 yards per carry ( rank 60th )vs. boise st-- Nevada rushed for 144 yards at 4.1 per carryBosie gives up 140.9 yards per game at 2.96 per carry ( rank 15th )At latech -- Nevada rushed for 103 yards at 2.5 a carryLa tech gives up 100.33 at 2.99 a carry ( rank 11th ) So for me looking all of this over a few things stand out. The first is that Nevada has rushed the ball on all but the very strong rush defenses. Maryland certainly does not apply. They give up 149.42 yards per game at 3.95 per carry. THIS IS SIGNIFICANT. Why ? Because we are talking about the ACC. The offenses are mediocre across the board . The only rush defense that has been weaker in conference this year is ncst and that has been the result of injuries more than anything else. The acc outside of the GT option attack , have 0 teams in the top 30 in rushing. The defenses are ahead of the offenses. Another concern here for Maryland is familiarity with the pistol and read option. They didn’t r eally play a similar offensive scheme this year, with the Eastern Michigan offense being the most similar to Nevada. Maryland gave up 171 yards on the ground that day to emu and 4.4 per carry … and that was with McMahon running the emu offense instead of Schmitt. Would have to think it would have been a lot worse had Schmitt been starting that day. If you look back upon last year to find similar attacks and how Maryland defended them you would have to look at the games ooc vs. west Virginia and their bowl game vs. Oregon state.. Now neither of those teams run the pistol but they employ similar tactics. West Virginia rushed for 353 yards at 7.4 per carry and Oregon state ( more of a fly sweep/ hb dive combo than read option but similar elements at work ) rushed for 275 yards at 5.1 per carry. If you look at Nevada and what they did vs. similar rush defenses ( Hawaii and sjsu ) you find that they dominated the season averages yielded by these teams. Another point of note is the success that Nevada has away from home running the ball ( 295.5 yards per game ) which means a lot for this particular game. However you also have to look at how Nevada performed against the bcs conference schools ( red raiders and mizzou ) and realize that production went way down when on the shorter end of the athlete stick which they will certainly be in this matchup. Also have to consider that the rushing attack has not been as potent the last two games though that was against boise20st and latech who both have decent rush defenses. Looking at everything in a whole , I think that we should come to the conclusion that Nevada has atleast some degree of success running the ball on this Maryland defense. I am extremely fearful however that Nevada just hasn’t played competition. I recall last year playing Nevada in the New Mexico bowl and watching them get physically dominated by rocky longs squad. Similar fears here. So what happens if Nevada is stifled slightly in the run attack ? Can they succeed at all passing ?? Sure. 264 yards passing against texas tech , 180 at mizz , 241 vs. boise ( when rush game shutdown ) , and 397 at latech ( when rush game shut down ). So I think , in the event that they are forced to throw that they can still have some success against an average Maryland defense.
I believe that Nevada rates to score points.
When Maryland has the ball. What Maryland likes to do is pound the ball at you and use play action and a controlled passing game to move the chains as well. Nevada struggles mightily in the secondary and that is where friedgen should look to exploit the wolfpack. Heyward-Bey is probably the best wide receiver in the ACC and they should be looking to him often and should find success often. When matched up against superior receivers the wolfpack has been torched this year. …a lot of consecutive games with huge receiving days b y the number one option in the pass attacksCrabtree 7 catches 158 yards 1 td TTMaclin 6 catches 172 yards 3 td MizzWolfe 8 catches 167 yards 1 td unlvWilliams 10 catches 142 yards 2 td IdahoWilliams 6 catches 128 yards 0 td nmsuNelson 4 catches 86 yards 2 td Utah stateWashington 5 catches 100 yards 2 td HawaiiAjirotutu 7 catches 95 yards 2 td Fresno stRichmond 9 catches 91 yards 2 td sjsu --also had Williams catch 4 for over 100Pettis 9 catches 126 yards 2 td bosie st -- also had perretta with 5 and 126 ydsLivas 5 catches 70 yards 1 td LaTechThere is no reason at all to think that Heyward-Bey does not go off on Nevada in this game.
In addition if you look over Nevadas schedule they have not played many smash mouth , pound it at you run style teams like Maryland. Boise st , Fresno st and latech being the most similar in style to maryland. Boise ran for 70 yards at 2.7 per carry ,Latech rushed for 185 yards at 5 per carry and fresno ran for 106 at 6.6 per carry. Obviously , Fresno fell behind and passed a lot in that game. So while it is difficult to expect Maryland to dominate Nevada in the rushing game , I think it is safe to say that Maryland is also one of the better run teams and offensive lines that they have faced. So ,=2 0I think Maryland can move the ball if turner is competent at all at the helm. I also have faith that friedgen will see how to attack this Nevada defense. Nevada rush defense stats cannot be overlooked. They give up 2.64 yards per carry which is better than texas or Alabama if you don’t look deeper than that. They give up just 74.5 yds per game on the ground. However the offenses faced by Nevada average rank is 73.6 in the nation. Ironically Maryland is 74th but they are in a tough run defense conference.I look for Maryland offense to have success against Nevada thru the air and some limited success in the ground game. So here is my quick checklist as far as this game. Two smilies for big edges Athletes -- Maryland 1Location -- Nevada 1Motivation -- Nevada 2Coaching --Maryland 1Motivational --nevada 2Special teams --Maryland 1Strength of schedule/conference --Maryland 2Nevada pass vs. Maryland pass d - PICKNevada rush vs. Maryland rush d --Nevada 2Maryland pass vs. Nevada pass d --Maryland 2Maryland rush vs. Nevada rush d--Nevada 1 As a general rule , I prefer to have the team that can run the ball and stop the run and that lines up here a little bit for Nevada. I also believe motivati on takes on much larger meaning in bowl games than in regular season games as does coaching. Hope that helps a little , I realize I rambled and went off on some tangents.
Nevada minus the small number