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Humanitarian Bowl

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WHEN: 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho (30,000).

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FORECAST: Partly cloudy, mid-30s.

TV: ESPN.

RADIO: WJFK (106.7 FM), WJZ (105.7, 1300 AM), WFMD (930 AM), WPTX (1690 AM).

RECORDS: Terrapins (7-5, 4-4 ACC); Wolf Pack (7-5, 5-3 WAC).

COACHES: Ralph Friedgen (63-36, eighth year); Chris Ault (198-90-1, 24th year).

WHEN THE TERRAPINS HAVE THE BALL: Maryland spent the month trying to jump-start a running game that struggled mightily at the end of the regular season. Offensive line play was inconsistent all season. And running back Da'Rel Scott's lingering shoulder injury hampered his performance in recent games. Nevada ranks third nationally in rushing defense, so the Terrapins might have to rely on the passing game. Chris Turner, who threw for 360 yards against Boston College, will face a Wolf Pack defense that ranks 119th, last in division I-A, in pass defense. That is a bit misleading because Nevada has played four of the nation's best passing offenses, including Texas Tech and Missouri. Turner threw four interceptions in his last two games.

WHEN THE WOLF PACK HAS THE BALL: The pistol offense enabled Nevada to rank 13th nationally in scoring offense and fifth in total offense. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Western Athletic Conference's offensive player of the year, led the league in total offense with 299.5 yards per game. He has thrown for 2,479 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 1,115 yards and 16 touchdowns; he is the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for more than 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in a season. Running back Vai Taua has rushed for 1,420 yards, including a 263-yard rushing effort at Fresno State.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Maryland's Obi Egekeze, who made 15 of 24 field goal attempts during the season, missed one against Boston College but made a 46-yarder in the rain in a recent practice. The Wolf Pack's Brett Jaekle made all 58 of his extra point attempts and 14 of 17 field goal attempts, with a long of 43. Nevada ranks 98th in punt returns and 106th in kickoff returns.

COACHING: Ralph Friedgen has taken the Terrapins to six bowl games in his eight seasons. It remains to be seen whether Friedgen can motivate this erratic team for a bowl game no one expected it to be in. Nevada's Chris Ault has led the Wolf Pack to four consecutive bowl appearances.

-- Eric Prisbell


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