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Aces: Nothing too out of the ordinary in Reno. Ault continues to rely on the same ground attack that he has for the 74 years that he has been coaching the Wolf Pack. Tailback Stefphon Jefferson and quarterback Cody Fajardo have combined on the season to run for nearly 2,000 yards and score more than 30 touchdowns on the ground.
Deuces: For as much as Nevada clearly hearts running the ball on offense, the D is diametrically opposite in terms of its level of interest in stopping opponents from running. Teams have run at will against the Wolf Pack, who are giving up more than 5 yards per carry.
Wildcard: Momentum – as in, Nevada doesn’t have it. After a hot start at 6-1, the team lost four of its final five games. Maybe the 14 days between the season-ending loss to Boise State and this game will allow Ault to rally the troops
Will have the picks late tonight or early tomorrow but for now---more info!
(these are not my picks)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. Arizona (December 15, 1:00 PM ET)
The first game of the 2012-13 bowl season features a middle-of-the-pack WAC team and a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team.
Nevada started the season 6-1 but skidded, losing 4 of their last 5 games. While Arizona has been inconsistent throughout the season, I’m gonna have to go with Rich Rod’s Wildcats to top the Wolf Pack, mostly because I think Arizona’s offense will tear apart Nevada’s subpar defense.
My pick: Arizona
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. #22 Utah St. (December 15, 4:30 PM ET)
My personal favorite bowl game name, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, will pit the Toledo Rockets (led by their 33-year old head coach, Matt Campbell) against the WAC champion Utah St. Aggies.
I’ve been kinda pulling for Toledo this season, and I want to pick them to upset the Aggies. However, Utah St. was a shanked field goal away from beating Wisconsin and lost to BYU by only 3 points. With only 2 losses by a combined 5 points this season, I can’t pick against Utah State.
Coming off the most successful regular season in school history, Utah State hopes this trip to the blue turf in Boise goes better than last year's experience.
Standing in the way of its first postseason victory in 19 years is a Toledo team seeking its first 10-win season in more than a decade.
Riding a six-game winning streak, the No. 18 Aggies look for some redemption in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against the Rockets on Saturday.
Though Utah State's only bowl victory in seven tries came over Ball State in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, it has reason to be confident heading into this contest. Looking to win seven straight in a season for the first time since 1965, the Aggies have outscored their last six opponents 269-108.
Senior Kerwynn Williams has averaged 7.6 yards per carry during the six-game win streak and led the WAC with 1,277 rushing yards while scoring 17 touchdowns - 12 on the ground. He's recorded three straight 100-yard games, averaging 130.7 during that stretch.
Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ran for 527 yards and seven TDs while finishing as the 13th-rated passer in the FBS. He completed 67.7 percent of his throws for 3,144 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Keeton was sacked just six times over the final six games while the Utah State defense totaled 25, including 13 in a 49-27 win over No. 24 San Jose State on Oct. 13. The Aggies finished among the national leaders in sacks (39), points allowed (15.4 per game) and total defense (322.7 ypg).
They'll need to be at their defensive best in this first meeting with Toledo (9-3), which averages 32.9 points and was ranked as high No. 23 this season.
Considering the Potato Bowl is a drivable distance for Aggie fans and players, and it gets the team on TV, there's nothing to lose. USU was just five points away from a possible Orange Bowl bid, but there's no reason to risk going nowhere. Louisiana Tech stalled on an invitation to the Independence Bowl, expecting something better, but it never happened. The Bulldogs are home for the holidays with a 9-3 record.
Meanwhile, the Aggies are back in the postseason business. If you ask them, they'll tell you they're thrilled to be in Boise. That may not be entirely true, but it's their story and they're sticking by it.
"Trust me," said Aggie coach Gary Andersen, "I've never been to a bowl game and said, 'Boy, that was a bad bowl game.' That has never happened to me. I'm grateful and the kids are. Our experience last year was as good a bowl experience as I've ever had."
That's a leap, considering Andersen was part of the Utah teams that played in the Sugar and Fiesta bowls.
Realistically, there isn't a lot of bowl things to do in Boise in winter. There's no trip down Bourbon Street (Sugar), no mega-parade (Rose) and not even lunch on the U.S.S. Midway (Poinsettia, Holiday). The high point of the week is the cart racing and bowling excursions.
You know it's a low-key bowl game when the website features a wide shot of potato fields. There are no swaying Miami palms, or even Las Vegas hotels in the picture. So it's not surprising that Toledo fans had purchased just 300 tickets, as of Wednesday. Late notification and expensive travel combined to keep the numbers low.
But what I like about Saturday's Potato Bowl is that it's unpretentious. There are no huge banquets or golf outings on game week; nobody wearing a yellow bowl jacket, either.
Arizona with no fan support and no joy to play in this bowl. Nevada keeps it close in a game that they are happy to play in. The Wildcats are 6-13 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The Rockets have just as good of an offense as the Aggies do, but the problem is that they don't have the defense. The Aggies defense has played some big boys so will get this win but the spread is just too high. The Rockets are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following a ATS loss.