12/11/2012 06:56 PM
New Mexico Bowl
When Nevada has the ball:
Nevada runs the ball effectively with the nation’s second-leading rusher Stefphon Jefferson and dual-threat QB Cody Fajardo. The Wolf Pack is seventh in the nation in rushing offense (260.0 ypg) and scores 37.0 points per game. Their leading receiver is Senior Brandon Wimberly, but they also utilize tight end Zach Sudfeld extensively. Nevada has scored 21 points or more in each contest this season including an incredible 69 point game in Hawaii powered by six Jefferson touchdowns.
Arizona’s defense has struggled to stop the run this year, but look for Marquis Flowers to play a key role in slowing down the rushing attack. He’s the team’s leader with 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss and ranks second with 90 tackles. He’s played especially well recently accounting for four forced turnovers in his last six games. He dominates against USC and earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
When Arizona has the ball:
The Wildcat offense looks a lot like the Wolpack’s but they have the only rusher in the country with more yards per game than Jefferson in Ka’Deem Carey. Carey led the FBS with 1,757 yards rushing and 20 rushing touchdowns. Expect him to get plenty of touches as the Wildcats offense looks to get their average 37.3 points per game. Carey had his own signature game when he ran for 366 yards and five scores against the Colorado Buffaloes on November 10.
He’s not the only weapon Arizona has as QB Matt Scott has also had a solid Senior year throwing for over 3,000 yards with 24 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. Scott primary targets is Sophomore Austin Hill who went over 1,000 yards receiving already this season with nine touchdowns. Late in the season Garic Wharton, a Nevada native, has also come on finishing with his best game of the year-6 catches, 89 yards, and a touchdown. Look for him to be a factor as the Wildcats take on his home-state college.
The Nevada defense ranked 95th in the nation in scoring defense allowing 32.5 points per game despite playing only one ranked team (Boise State). They rank even lower against the run allowing 213.7 rushing yards per game which ranks them 112th in the country. They’ll struggle to stop Arizona and especially Carey.