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One of the top offenses in the country takes on one of the top defenses that the land has to offer out in San Francisco, where Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl betting action will ensue on Sunday night after all of the NFL playoff betting festivities for the first round are said and done. The Nevada Wolf Pack will look to send QB Colin Kaepernick and company out of Reno as winners against the youthful Boston College Eagles, who have a lot to prove down the stretch.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Matchup: Boston College Eagles vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Date: Sunday, January 9th, 9:00 ET
Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Line: Nevada -7.5
Eagles Notes: It's clear that the key to winning this game for Head Coach Frank Spaziani and company is going to be contain the Nevada offense. The good news is that there has been a full month and a half to prepare for this Pistol look, something that really should play into BC's hands. Though this unit never saw an offense like this in 2010, the Eagles can rest assured that they have now allowed more than 16 points in a game since a 24-21 loss to the Maryland Terrapins at home on October 23rd. They also only gave up more than 31 points in a game once this year, a brutal 44-17 beat down at the hands of the NC State Wolfpack on October 9th. In totality, Boston College only surrendered 302.5 yards per game this year and were No. 1 in the land against the rush at 72.7 yards per game. Offensively, it's all about the running game for the young Eagles, who are going to be using this game as a bit of a springboard for the 2011 season in which the mass majority of the skill players are back. RB Montel Harris has had a great three year career thus far in Chestnut Hill, rushing for a total of 3,599 yards and 27 TDs in his career. He has six straight games with at least 100 yards on the ground, and has rumbled for an average of over 130 yards per game in that stretch. The play of QB Chase Rettig is going to be key, though. Rettig isn't going to be asked to put the ball in the air even 30 times in this game in all likelihood, but when he does throw the pigskin, he has to do it without turning the ball over. He is just a freshman playing in his first ever bowl game, but Rettig has to stay calm. He threw for 1,117 yards and six scores against seven picks in roughly half of a season's worth of action this year.
Wolf Pack Notes: Some of the numbers that you are going to see here for the Wolf Pack might shock and amaze you, as Head Coach Chris Ault deserves all the credit in the world for designing this Pistol attack and utilizing the pieces to the puzzle that he has to the fullest. If not for a 27-21 at the Hawaii Warriors, Nevada probably would have been playing in a BCS bowl game this year, as they surely would have been ranked in the Top 10 in the nation and would have had a significantly better argument to be in the Sugar Bowl than the Arkansas Razorbacks with two losses had. This is an offense that was held under 34 points just twice all season long, and was a team that put at least 49 on the board six times, including in each of the first three games of the season. The defense allowed just 22.1 points per game this year, and it was a unit that was sneakily good at times during the campaign. Nevada ranked No. 2 in the nation in total yardage at 536.1 yards per game and dropped 42.6 points per game to boot, No. 5 in the land. We've already mentioned the name of QB Colin Kaepernick. He has done a ton for this program in his four years as a starter, and Ault would love to send him out with a victory. He threw for 2,830 yards and 20 TDs this year and ran for 1,181 yards and 20 scores, making him just the third man in the history of college football to both throw for and rush for 20+ scores in the same season. RB Vai Taua will inevitably touch the ball at least 20 times on the day. He had 262 carries and 15 more receptions this year, accounting for a total of 1,750 yards and 22 TDs, one of the top marks in the country.
The Final Word: The real problem that Nevada has, we have already made mention of. It's going to be very, very hard to put new wrinkles in this rather simplistic offense. The Eagles have spent so much time analyzing this tape on this team, and you know that the squad is going to be pumped up to prove it can stop a great offensive assault. Sure, Nevada will get its points on the board, but it won't get as many as it is used to. We tend to think that Kaepernick and company will come out of San Fran with a win, but it won't be by more than a TD.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Free Pick: Boston College +7.5
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Prediction: Nevada 30 – Boston College 24