2008 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl Preview
Nevada (7-5, 5-3 WAC) vs. Maryland (7-5, 4-4 ACC)
December 30th, 2008 @ 4:30 PM (EST) – ESPN – Boise, Idaho
The Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho is best known for being the coldest bowl game in the country. It is the northernmost bowl game that is played outside every year and had provided some drama in recent years. The game will be played on Boise State’s famed Smurf Turf and will feature offensive juggernaut Nevada (making their 2nd appearance in three years) against the Maryland Terrapins.
Nevada features one of the country’s best quarterbacks in sophomore Colin Kaepernick, who has accounted for 3,600 yards and 35 Touchdowns running and passing this year. The Wolf Pack comes into the game on somewhat of a roll, having won three of their last four with the only loss coming in a close game to undefeated Boise State. Kaepernick’s team will score some points; they averaged over 37 points per game down the stretch. However, Nevada’s defense has been suspect at times this year and allowed over 29 points per game during the same time span.
Maryland, on the other hand, comes staggering into this game after losing three of their final four games. The Terps are a solid but unspectacular team on offense and rely heavily on sophomore tailback Da’Rel Scott, who should pass the 1,000 yard mark for the year against Nevada. Receiver Darius Heyward-Bey is also explosive but Maryland averaged just less than 18 points per game during the second half of the season. They will have to do better than that if they want to beat Nevada. The Terrapins’ defense is the strength of their team, but even they have been struggling recently, allowing 37 and 28 points against Florida State and Boston College, respectively, with a chance to play for the ACC Title on the line.
Nevada has show to be a dangerous team when matched up with the ACC in the Humanitarian Bowl, pushing Miami (FL) to the brink two years ago before falling 21-20. Furthermore, Nevada will be much more excited about playing their bowl game in Boise than the Terps, who were hoping to spend the holiday season somewhere sunny. In the end, the best player in this game will be Kaepernick and I don’t think that Maryland’s defense will have an answer for him. The only similar quarterback that they faced this year was Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor, who beat them in November. I expect this to be a competitive game but Nevada is much more dangerous on offense and will have the emotional edge. That’s enough for me to call for an upset in the Humanitarian Bowl and pick Nevada to beat Maryland.
Humanitarian Bowl Pick: Nevada 31 - Maryland 27
by Matt Baxendell
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