Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland vs. Nevada


December 30 * 4:30 PM * ESPN

Nevada’s high-powered offense will take on a Maryland squad that had their sights set on the Orange Bowl – but should still be motivated. Maryland will be making its sixth bowl appearance in eight years. After having a shot at the Atlantic Division title – before they dropped back-to-back games to Florida State and Boston College and finished the season 1-3 – the Terrapins should be motivated to end the season on a positive note. The problem is, the Terps have been inconsistent on defense all season and have struggled to run the ball, checking in at 72nd in the nation with 134.5 yards per game. Nevada-Reno finished in a three-way tie for second place in the WAC behind undefeated Boise State. The Wolf Pack won three of its last four regular-season games with the only loss coming to the Broncos. Nevada ranked fifth in the nation in total offense with 510.6 yards per game and second in rushing with 291.4 yards per game. The unit, led by Colin Kaepernick, who has 1,115 rushing yards and 2,479 passing yards, could prove to be too much to handle for Maryland. Running back Vai Taua also rushed for 1,420 yards this year and, with Kaepernick, combined for the country’s second-best rushing attack with 291.42 yards per game. The Wolf Pack defense also ranks fifth in the nation in rushing defense with 74.5 yards per game allowed, but struggled in the secondary, allowing 321.08 yards per game which was worst in the nation.

Inside the Numbers – Pass, Run & Catch

Maryland Terrapins (7-5, 4-4)

Pass: Chris Turner – 2,318 yards, 11 TDs
Run: Da’Rel Scott – 959 yards, 6 TDs
Catch: Darrius Heyward-Bey – 38-561-5 TDs

Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5, 5-3)

Pass: Colin Kaepernick – 2,479 yards, 19 TDs
Run: Vai Taua – 1,420 yards, 14 TDs
Catch: Marko Mitchell – 56-1,011-9 TDs