Maryland vs. Nevada
Tuesday 4:30 PM ESPN
Line: Nevada -2
Maryland and Nevada meet for the first time ever in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl on the smurf turf in Boise. The Wolf Pack bring one of the nation's best running attacks from the Pistol formation to face the 7-5 Terrapins, who lost their final two games in the regular season.
Keys to the Game
1. Just stack the box, right?
It would seem that a Nevada opponent should just stack the box to try to slow down the running game averaging 290 ypg. Well, Nevada passes the ball pretty well too, at a clip of 219 ypg. They were even skewed towards the passing game down the stretch, going for 277 per game versus 193 on the ground in their final three contests.
Maryland is not very good at stopping the run allowing 150 ypg, and they didn't even play Georgia Tech this year in the ACC. I think the Terps have to come out aggressive on defense and try to get a big play early to keep this Nevada offense in check.
2. Chris Turner has a big game
You thought Maryland was bad against the run? You haven't seen the Nevada pass defense, which gives up just a grass length over 321 ypg through the air. Turner has been up and down in '08 after seizing the starting job early in the season, with 11 TD and 10 INT with a completion rate of 58 percent. Napoleon Dynamite needs to take advantage of the porous Nevada defense.
3. Maryland turnovers
The Terps cannot afford to get behind big against a team with the fifth-best offense in the country. Maryland has really struggled in the turnover department at -.67 margin per game, good for 99th in the country.
Ticket Sales have not been brisk for this game for either team, so don't expect a lot of Pack backers or Terp followers in Boise. Maryland had a potential Atlantic Division fall right through their hands with their poor performance over the final two and gets the West Coast Bowl Trip from the ACC offices (this is the last year for the ACC in Boise). Nevada gets a chance to defeat a team from a BCS conference, so I have to give the edge to Nevada.
I see Nevada's running game being able to have success against Maryland's run defense. The Terps really need to shorten the game as much as possible and create some turnovers on defense to pull the upset. I like Nevada by at least a touchdown here.
Nevada 38, Maryland 24
Nevada Covers -2
Confidence Ranking (of 34): 13
My confidence ranking of the 34 bowl games for a Nevada win.
Bowls: 2-2 ATS, 3-1 SU
Season: 33-32-3 ATS, 44-24 SU
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