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No one questioned Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack's offensive skill set, but many wondered how their defense would fair against a strong rushing team like Boston College. The answer is very well.
The Wolf Pack allowed 183 total yards (64 rushing) and Kaepernick completed 20-of-33 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown as No. 15 Nevada bested Boston College 20-13 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Sunday night.
"We weren't able to run the ball, and when we had a couple of passes we had some drops," coach Frank Spaziani said. "We just didn't make any plays." (via ESPN Boston)
The Eagles, who averaged just under 19 points in 12 regular season games, were at times incapable of moving the ball on the offensive end. In total, BC ended nine drives with a punt and one with an interception.
"Our defense was huge tonight," Kaepernick said. "When we didn't make a play they did. For most of the night it was them making plays." (via ESPN Boston)
BC true freshman quarterback Chase Rettig completed 14-of-34 passes for 119 yards and two interceptions. Fellow true freshman Andre Williams rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries for the Eagles. Montel Harris, the Eagles' leading rusher, did not play despite being listed as the starting running back.
Vai Taua led Nevada's rushing attack, racking up 74 yards on 22 carries. Rishard Matthews paced the Wolf Pack receiving core, amassing 86 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Tight end Virgil Green had 63 yards on four carries for the Wolf Pack.
"This will probably go down as the greatest football team to play the University of Nevada," coach Chris Ault said. "That's pretty special. I told these guys you're not only making a memory but you're leaving an indelible mark in the city of Reno and the University of Nevada." (via ESPN Boston)
Nevada (13-1) opened the game with a seven-play, 20 yard drive that resulted in a punt. Boston College (7-6) didn't fair much better on its opening drive, going three and out.
The Eagles caught a break on the third play of Nevada's ensuing drive when Kaepernick fumbled after a hit by Boston College senior linebacker Mark Herzlich. The ball was recovered by Donnie Fletcher, who returned it to the Wolf Pack 30 yard line.
BC wasted no time putting the ball in the end zone, as Williams rushed 30 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown on the first play of the drive, putting the Eagles up 7-0 with 8:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Undeterred by the early setback, Nevada turned the tables and scored on the ensuing drive. Kaepernick connected with Matthews for a 27-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 7-7 with 3:40 left in the opening quarter. The drive spanned nearly five minutes and saw Nevada's offense move the ball 77 yards on 10 plays.
Matthews wasn't done yet, either. Matthews returned a 45-yard punt from BC's Ryan Quigley 72 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wolf Pack their first lead of the game, 14-7, with 2:27 left to play in the first.
Trailing for the first time, the Eagles couldn't get anything going for quite some time, punting the ball on their final four drives of the first half.
Fortunately, Boston College's defense was able to keep the Wolf Pack out of the end zone for the remainder of the first half. In the final 17:27 of the opening half, the Eagles only gave up three points on an Anthony Martinez 32-yard field goal with 5:48 left.
"We were just able to stay stout," linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "I talked about before the game that we needed to keep our responsibilities and not get fooled by the motions and fakes. We were able to do a pretty good job of that throughout the game with the running." (via ESPN Boston)
Nevada racked up 192 total yards in the first half while holding Boston College to 68 total yards.
Trailing by ten, the Eagles were presented with a big opportunity to bring the game within three points when Kuechly intercepted Kaepernick and returned the ball to the Wolf Pack six yard line early in the third quarter.
But once again, Boston College's offense couldn't convert, moving one yard on four plays in one minute and 26 seconds. The Eagles were able to get three points out of the ordeal, as kicker Nate Freese hit a 22-yard field goal to bring BC within seven, 17-10, with 11:08 left in the third.
Martinez erased the Eagles' field goal with a 27-yard field goal of his own to build the Wolf Pack lead to 20-10 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
Freese made another field goal, this time from 32 yards out, to cap off an eight-play, 52-yard drive and cut the Wolf Pack lead to 20-13 with 3:52 remaining in the game.
Boston College attempted the onside kick, but Nevada easily recovered. The Eagles would get one more chance to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining, but Rettig threw an interception that sealed the deal.
The loss snapped Boston College's five game winning streak and marked the Eagles' third straight bowl loss.
Nate Freese connected on a 32-yard field goal with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter to trim the Nevada lead to 20-13.
The field goal capped off an eight-play, 52-yard scoring drive for Boston College.
Anthony Martinez sent a 27-yard field goal through the upright from the left hash mark to build Nevada’s lead to 20-10 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
The Wolf Pack drive lasted two minutes and 28 seconds and Nevada moved the ball 46 yards on eight plays.
Instead, kicker Nate Freese connected on a 22-yard field goal with 11:08 remaining in the third quarter, trimming Nevada’s lead to 17-10.
The drive lasted one minute and 26 second, and the Eagles were only able to move the ball one yard on four plays.
Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 14-of-19 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown as No. 15 Nevada leads Boston College 17-7 at halftime of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
"Anemic," said BC coach Frank Spaziani about his offense in the 1st half. "I think we have to execute a little bit."
Boston College scored first on freshman running back Andre Williams’ (10 carries, 53 yards) 30-yard touchdown run with 8:30 left in the first quarter, but the Wolf Pack responded with 17 unanswered points to close out the opening half.
Eagles true freshman quarterback Chase Rettig has completed 4-of-9 passes for 17 yards. Williams has seven net yards entering halftime.
Nevada had 192 total yards in the first half while BC was held to 68 total yards.
Montel Harris, the Eagles’ leading rusher, has not played a single down despite being listed as the game’s starting running back.
Nevada kicker Anthony Martinez split the uprights on a 32-yard field goal to built the Wolf Pack lead to ten, 17-7, with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter.
The drive was Nevada’s longest of the game, as the Wolf Pack went 65 yards on 10 play in five minutes and 27 seconds.
After scoring the game’s first touchdown, Boston College’s offense has been unable to move the ball.
In three drives after their score, the Eagles have been forced to punt each time. The furthest that BC has moved the ball on any drive since the score is 30 yards.
In total, Boston College has punted on three of its four drives to open the game.
Rishard Matthews returned Ryan Quigley's punt 72 yards for a touchdown, giving Nevada its first lead of the game, 14-7, with 2:27 left in the first quarter in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
Nevada senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick connected with Rishard Matthews for a 27-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 7-7 against Boston College with 3:40 left in the first quarter in San Francisco.
Nevada's went 77 yards on 10 plays for the touchdown. The drive lasted four minutes and fifty seconds.
Boston College freshman running back Andre Williams rushed 30 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to give Boston College a 7-0 lead over Nevada with 8:30 left in the first quarter.
Anthony Castonzo and Mark Herzlich of Boston College, as well as Colin Kaepernick of Nevada, are among the many bright stars playing in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl tonight at 9 p.m. EST (ESPN) that are potential 2011 NFL Draft prospects.
Castonzo and Herzlich lead a group of seven Eagles that are listed as 2011 NFL Draft prospects, according to ESPN.com. Defensive end Alex Albright, offensive guard Thomas Claiborne, safety Wes Davis, corner back Deleon Gause and offensive tackle Rich Lapham were also on ESPN's list.
Castonzo, who is an offensive tackle, is currently projected to be taken No. 27 overall by the Chicago Bears in SB Nation's latest 2011 Mock Draft.
27. Chicago Bears (11-5): Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College (SR). We love Jay Cutler, but we're pretty sure Jay Cutler doesn't love getting drilled into the turf a dozen times per game. Chicago needs an immediate O-Line contributor badly; Castonzo topped our list in that department.
Herzlich, a linebacker, is not projected by SB Nation to be selected in the first round. Herzlich was once the top linebacker in his draft class, but a life-threatening battle with Ewing's Sarcoma forced him to miss all of last season.
In three seasons at Boston College, Herzlich has amassed 309 tackles, 11 interceptions and six forced fumbles. This season, Herzlich has amassed 60 tackles and four interceptions, as well as one forced fumble.
Kaepernick is also not projected to be taken in the first round. Regardless, Kaepernick has been one of college football's most complete, all-around quarterbacks during his four seasons at Nevada. He is currently the only player in college football history to pass for over 9,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in his career.
This season, Kaepernick has completed 213-of-326 yards for 2,830 yards and 20 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 1,184 yards and 19 touchdowns. For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 9,906 yards and 81 touchdowns and rushed for 4,090 yards and 59 scores.
As a freshman in 2007, he threw for 2,175 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2008, Kaepernick threw for a career-best 2,849 yards and 22 touchdowns. In his junior year, Kaepernick tossed 20 touchdowns while throwing for 2,052 yards.
Nevada has eleven total players listed by ESPN.com as potential 2011 NFL Draft prospects. Alongside Kaepernick are running back Vailala Taua, offensive tackle Jose Acuna, offensive guard John Bender, kicker Richard Drake, offensive tackle Mike Gallett, tight end Virgil Green, defensive end Jared Jackson, punter Brad Langley, outside linebacker Dontay Moch and wide receiver Christopher Wellington.
In addition to SB Nation Boston's coverage of tonight's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl featuring Boston College and Nevada at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA (9 p.m. ET, ESPN), BC Interruption has been hard at work in order to bring you the best coverage of tonight's game.
Here's a look at what Brian Favat and the BC Interruption team have in store for BC football fans tonight.
2010 Boston College Football: Nevada Game Thread (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, 9:00 PM EDT ESPN): BCI provides a game thread for every Boston College football game, and here's the one for tonight's bowl game. This capsule provides information and a quick breakdown of the game. But more importantly, it offers you the fan a chance to post your comments and throughout before, during and after the game.
Poll: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl ... Who Wins?: Don't just sit idly by, get in the game and vote for the team you think will win the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Boston College Football: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Vs. Nevada Game Links: Read up on everything that's been written about tonight's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with BCI's pregame links.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College Football Drinking Game: BCI has prepared a drinking game, just for the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Remember, please drink responsibly!
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: These Two Coaches No Spring Chickens: BCI takes a look at the head coaching match-up, featuring Boston College coach Frank Spaziani and Nevada coach Chris Ault.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl And The Big Finish: Brian and Jeff of BCI share their thoughts on the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, all capped off by the Big Finish.
Five Good Minutes: Nevada Preview With Pistol Whipping The WAC: A personal favorite, Brian Favat chats with Pistol Whipping The WAC, a Wolf Pack football blog, in the always entertaining Five Good Minutes post.
Here's a look at Pistol Whipping The WAC's thought on the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (via BC Interruption).
BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who ya got in this one? What's the final score?
PWtW: Again, I try to avoid predicting scores when I can. Instead, in my regular season previews I do a pretty self-explanatory feature called "Best-Case Scenario, Worst-Case Scenario." In the former, I see Nevada's seniors continuing the trend of doing things no other Nevada team has done and getting the bowl win monkey off of their backs, with the passing component methodically grinding down BC's defense and Coach Buh's unit holding their offense to 13 or fewer points. In the latter, I see BC's defense playing a really stellar game and the Pistol not having any real success until it's too late, with the Eagles winning by scoring at least two touchdowns apiece on offense and defense and the season ending with real questions regarding Coach Ault's bowl preparation methods.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College vs. Nevada, Top 10 Reasons To Watch: The title is pretty self explanatory, so I'll leave the description at that.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College vs. Nevada, What You Need To Know: Brian Favat at BCI put together some tidbits about this year's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, as well as its history.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Random Gambling Notes For Boston College Vs. Nevada: Again, pretty self explanatory. BCI's gambling notes for tonight's game.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Charting Nevada's Rise Up The BlogPoll: BCI's very interesting look at Nevada's rise to the top (well, No. 15 in the BCS and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl).
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Nevada (12-1) is the favorite heading into Sunday night's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA (9 p.m. EST, ESPN). The Wolf Pack had a better record, and for the most part, a better season than Boston College (7-5), which at one point lost five games in a row.
The Line: Nevada is an 8.5-point favorite (according to Bodog.com) entering tonight's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Bodog.com also predicts that there will be 54 total points scored in the game. 5Dimes.com has Nevada as a 7.5-point favorite and also predicts a point total of 54. The opening line listed Nevada as a 10.5-point favorite with 55 total points being scored.
Notable Boston College Units: Boston College boasts the number one rushing defense in the country, having allowed a total of 962 rushing yards (80.2 yards per game) and seven rushing touchdowns this season. In addition, the Eagles rushing defense allowed an impressive 2.7 yards per carry and only 64 first downs. On the whole, Boston College's defense has allowed 3,720 total yards (2,758 passing) and is ranked 14th in the county in yards per game allowed (310 yards per game). Unfortunately, their offensive production this season has been suspect, as the Eagles are ranked 106th in the nation in total yardage with 3,703 yards (308.6 yards per game; 2,282 passing yards, 1,599 rushing yards). BC was dead last (12th) in the ACC in points per game with 18.8 and ranks 109th nationally in that category.
Notable Nevada Units: Nevada is one of the best offensive teams in the county, in fact, the Wolf Pack rank second in the nation in total yards with 6,962 yards (535.5 yards per game; 3,043 passing yards, 3,977 rushing yards). The Wolf Pack are 53rd in the country in passing yards per game (229.6), third in the nation in total rushing (3,977 rushing yards) and third in the nation in rushing yards per game (305.9 yards). Nevada is fifth in the country in scoring, averaging 42.6 points per game while only giving up 22.1 points per contest. The Wolf Pack defense allows an average of 377.3 yards per game, which ranks 66th in the nation.
Stars To Watch: The biggest star of the game is undoubtedly Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Through 13 games this season, Kaepernick has completed 213-of-326 passes (65.3%) for 2,830 yards, 20 touchdowns and a QB rating of 154.21. For his career, Kaepernick has passed for 9,906 yards and 81 touchdowns. Kaepernick has also racked up 1,091 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns this season. Vai Taua is another name to look out for, as the Wolf Pack running back has amassed 1,522 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns this year. On the other side of the ball, BC touts one of the best linebacker tandems in the country in sophomore Luke Kuechly and senior Mark Herzlich (60 tackles, 47 solo tackles, 4 INT). Kueckly leads the nation in tackles (171 total, 102 solo, 2 INT) and is 23 tackles away from the most tackles in a single season in NCAA history. Montel Harris (1,243 rushing yards, 8 TDs), the Eagles' junior tailback, is also a force to be reckoned with on offense.
The Pick: While I don't expect Boston College to be blown out of the stadium, I do expect Nevada to cover the spread, and do so easily at that. The Wolf Pack have a dynamic offensive attack, led by one of the better quarterbacks in the country in Kaepernick. While BC's defense is commendable, Nevada is just too explosive for Frank Spaziani's Eagles to contain. When the scoreboard clock hits triple zeros, I expect that Nevada will walk away with a 38-24 win over Boston College.
The 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl kicks off at 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the 2010 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, SB Nation Boston offers a look into the facts and information about the bowl game.
Full Name: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Sponsor: Kraft Foods
Teams: Boston College Eagles (7-5) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (12-1)
Date/Time: Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 9:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast Information: ESPN/ESPN Radio
Announcers: Mark Jones, Bob Davie, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich.
Location: AT&T Park (40,184 capacity) - San Francisco, California (Home of the 2010 MLB World Series Champion San Francisco Giants)
Conference Pairing: Pacific-10 vs. WAC (Since the Pac-10 couldn't fill its commitment, the Eagles (ACC) were selected)
Bowl History (Winners In Bold):
Bowl Firsts (via KraftBowl.org):
Touchdown: Matt Ward--Air Force v Virginia Tech, 15-yard run [2002, 1st quarter]]
Interception: Vegas Robinson-Virginia Tech v Air Force, 6-yard return [2002, 1st quarter]
Tackle: Garnell Wilds-Virginia Tech v Air Force [2002, 1st quarter]
Pass: Chance Harridge-Air Force v Virginia Tech, 47-yard completion [2002, 1st quarter]
Reception: Anthony Park-Air Force v Virginia Tech, 47-yard reception [2002, 1st quarter]
Punt Return Touchdown: Lawrence Timmons-Florida State v UCLA, 25 yards [2006, 3rd quarter] Interception Return Touchdown: Tony Carter-Florida State v UCLA, 86 yards [2006, 4th quarter]
One of the best things about the college football bowl season is the Sports Business Journal publishing the list of bowl gifts given to participating teams. For example, in Tuesday night's Beef O'Brady's Bowl, Southern Miss and Louisville will not only get an XBOX 360, but also Oakley Fuel Cell sunglasses, an Oakley Panel backpack and ... a mini football helmet. Okay.
For playing in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Boston College and Nevada a gift from all five categories: Electronics, Watch, Sunglasses/Apparel, Luggage and Other:
For the 12 consecutive season, Boston College is going bowling. The Eagles (7-5) will face the WAC's Nevada Wolf Pack (12-1) in the first ever Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park January 9, at 9 p.m. EST (TV/Radio: ESPN, ESPN Radio).
"We are certainly looking forward to returning to San Francisco for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl," said Eagles head coach Frank Spaziani. "Nevada is a great program with a Hall of Fame coach and this will be a tough challenge for our young football team. This is a fitting reward for our team, which fought its way through adversity to win five straight games at the end of the season."
This marks the third time that the Eagles will play a bowl game in San Francisco. Boston College defeated Colorado State in 2003 and lost to USC in the Emerald Bowl last season.
"We are excited to bring Boston College back to San Francisco," said Gary Cavalli, founder and executive director of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. "They're a first-class organization in every respect."
Boston College won its first two games against Weber State and Kent State before losing its next five in a row. The Eagles rebounded, though, winning five straight games to close out the season.
The Eagles were led by junior running back Montel Harris, who racked up 1,243 yard and eight touchdowns on 269 carries. Harris led the ACC in with 103.6 rushing yards per game. For his career, Harris now has 3,600 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Thanks if part to Kuechly, Boston College also flaunts the number-one rushing defense in college football, allowing 962 rushing yards (2.7 yards per carry) and seven rushing touchdowns. The Eagles had the best defense in the ACC, allowing an average of 310 yards per game in 12 contests.
Nevada is a ten-point favorite entering the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and the over/under currently stands at 55. That shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Wolf Pack had a magnificent regular season. Their marquee game came against Boise State when Nevada shocked the college football world with a stunning 34-31 win, ending the Broncos' hopes of a BCS bid.
"We are really excited to be in a bowl game so close to home, and I know our fans are going to support us" said Nevada head coach Chris Ault. "The team is excited and looking forward to a great experience. We know Boston College is an outstanding football team and one with tremendous tradition. We are pleased to have the opportunity to play against them in this great bowl game."
For more information about the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, visit the bowl's official website.
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