6-6 (4-4), 4th Western Athletic
8-4 (5-3), 3rd Mountain West
December 22nd, 4:30PM ESPN
Usually when a team loses a starting quarterback, it is noticeable and the team suffers. But for the Nevada Wolfpack it was a much needed shot in the arm. Freshman Colin Kaepernick took over for Nick Graziano after he was lost for the year on October 6, and piled up a 4-3 record along with the WAC freshman of the year honors. New Mexico besides playing at home for the bowl game has to deal with losing two players, running backs Rodney Ferguson and Mike Love, who were deemed ineligible and cannot play in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Lobos will have to find a new go to guy in the backfield with Ferguson out and that will put a little more pressure on QB Donovan Porterie who threw for 2652 with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Marcus Smith and Travis Brown are Porterie's main targets, catching over 170 balls for 1900 yards and 8 touchdowns. Those two are going to be a lot to handle for a Wolfpack defense that ranks 67th against the pass. The Lobos have a tough defense themselves ranking 22nd against the pass, 31st against the run, and 25th in scoring defense. They are going to have to play with a chip on their shoulders since the Lobos who only score 24 points per game will be short handed on offense and won't be able to generate as many points.
As stated before Colin Kaepernick leads the Wolfpack offense throwing for 2038 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions in 7 starts and 10 total games. Overall, Nevada has a powerful offense ranking 11th in rushing offense and 7th in total offense. Luke Lippincott leads the Pack's rushing attack with 1380 yards and 15 touchdowns but with Kaepernick at QB he brings a running threat to the table. On defense, Nevada is below average against the run and the pass.
This game has the strength's of each team going up against each other with the Nevada offense and the New Mexico defense. Nevada has held it close with quality teams like Hawaii, Boise State, and Fresno State. While the Lobos have more wins, I'm not sure they have had as many quality games as the Wolfpack has had. All things considered equal, one would have to pick New Mexico in the game, but the suspension to their top running back makes this game really interesting and is the deciding factor in the game. Nevada 31 New Mexico 21
Picking Nevada to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Rizzo Sports, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, The LSC Scoop, MizzouRAH, ITB Charlie Swager, Pitch Right, Sportsbone TV, Corn Nation, Lou Nemec, Rodney Polston, Richard Dixon, Brian Isaacson, Brant Chruscial, Timmy B, Matt Kieta, Jeff Brancolini, Sunny Verma, Cyril Tircuit, Pete Boivin, Mrs Corn Nation, Logan Jaffe, Greg Gowins
Picking New Mexico to Win
Kansas It's Business Time, The Enlightened Spartan, ITB Ron Juckett, MidWest Coast Bias, Football Frontier, Lorena The Dodgerchick, Jason Stiver, Dan Schoonover