Boise Blues: Terps Take on Nevada in Humanitarian Bowl

Brett GellmanCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2008

It's hard to imagine that Maryland was two wins away from potentially playing in the Orange Bowl in sunny Miami. It's also equally hard to imagine that the team would be shipped out West to play on the infamous blue turf of Boise State University in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.

Yet the worst case scenario transpired as the Terps dropped its last two games of the season to Florida State and Boston College, ultimately finishing with a 4-4 record in the ACC which punched their ticket to Idaho.

While five teams in the conference finished their season with an identical record as the Terps, Maryland had no other choice but to play at Boise since the team was unable to accept a bid for the inaugural EagleBank Bowl in DC due to final exams as well as have participated in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco a year ago.

Then again, the entire idea of the bowl pecking order, at least in the ACC, has seemed a little preposterous since Clemson was invited to the prestigious Gator Bowl with a paltry 6-5 record.

That didn't sit too well with Florida State fans, as the Seminoles had a better overall resume. Unfortunately for the Noles, money, not your record, is what ultimately counts as Clemson is known for their well-traveling fan base.

As for today's game, scheduled for a 4:30pm ET kickoff, the Terps (7-5, 4-4 ACC) will be taking on the Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5, 5-3 WAC) of the WAC Conference in what will (thankfully) be the ACC's final game in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott will have a difficult time on the ground as Nevada possesses the nation's second best run defense. Scott will have to channel the success he had earlier in the season now that the speedy sophomore is finally healthy but he could have trouble finding some holes not only because of the Wolf Pack's strong defensive skills but also because of the Terps' own underachieving offensive line.

If the Terps want to come out of Boise victorious they'll have to rely on throwing the ball as the Wolf Pack's pass defense is the worst in the country, giving up nearly 321 yards per game. 

Fans, however, should be sure not to overlook Nevada just because they're in a non-BCS league. 

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the WAC offensive player of the year, threw over 2,400 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. Kaepernick is also quite the mobile threat as he scrambled for over 1,000 yards and collected another 16 touchdowns on the ground.


Prediction: 38-31 Nevada

The Wolf Pack's shotgun pistol formation will give the Terps all sorts of defensive problems judging from Maryland's past games against mobile quarterbacks.

Then again, with former defensive coordinator Chris Cosh departing before the bowl game, linebackers coach Al Seamonson will step in as interim DC and could possibly inject new life into the struggling unit.

The Terps won't be able to get the running game going which means quarterback Chris Turner will have to rely on wide receivers Danny Oquendo and Darius Heyward-Bey (in what could very much be his final game in a Maryland uniform) against a very weak Nevada pass defense.

All and all, Nevada's potent offense may ultimately be too much for the Terrapins, which will lead to a Wolf Pack victory.