Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Picks: Boston College vs. Nevada Analysis

Last Updated: January 7th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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It’ll be a college football betting dichotomy on Sunday night in San Francisco, as we get our chance to sink our teeth into one final appetizer before the main course and the BCS National Championship Game on Monday. The Nevada Wolf Pack will look to run over the Boston College Eagles in a game that should be a ton of fun at Candlestick Park. These two teams have a lot to prove, but they are complete opposites of one another. Don’t be surprised if these three keys to the game prove to make the difference on which club beats the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl odds.

Key #1: The Eagles have to flex their defensive muscles
We know that the Nevada offense is going to get its yards and its points, but there is no reason to think that a month and a half of preparation for this game isn’t enough for the Eagles to be able to put up a great fight here in San Francisco. This is a team that prides itself on the fact that it hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 16 points against it in basically half of a season, and though that clearly won’t stay the case after the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, it is a fantastic goal. BC had the No. 1 ranked rushing defense in the land this year at just over 70 yards per game, and Head Coach Frank Spaziani is doing a lot of things to be able to help this team out. RB Montel Harris is sure to carry the ball at least 20 times in this game (more on this later), which should chew up some clock and keep the Pistol loaded on the sidelines for Nevada.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Odds at JustBet
Boston College Eagles +7.5
Nevada Wolf Pack -7.5
Over/Under 55
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Key #2: Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua have to want to go out victorious
QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Vai Taua have done a lot of things in their illustrious careers here in Reno. Kaepernick became the first man from a non-BCS conference to have at least 20 TDs both on the ground and through the air in the same season this year, and he is only the third to be able to pull off the feat in the history of major college football regardless of conference affiliation. He has thrown for 9,906 yards and 81 TDs, and has rushed for 4,091 yards and 59 TDs in his great career. Taua is now out of the shadow of the man he used to split the backfield with, RB Luke Lippincott. He accounted for 1,750 yards and 22 TDs this year, giving him 4,524 yards and 44 TDs on the ground with another 58 receptions for 561 yards and eight TDs as a receiver. These two have been a part of the only trio of rushers to ever have 1,000+ yards in the same season when they pulled off the feat last year, and they have averaged over 500 yards of offense per game in each of the last three seasons. What they have not done, though, is win a bowl game. In fact, you have to go back to the 2005 Hawaii Bowl in an OT victory against the UCF Knights to find the last win in a bowl game. This team was shut out three years ago by the New Mexico Lobos and was held to just 10 points against the SMU Mustangs last year. It would be a real travesty to see these two leave college without tasting what a bowl victory is like.

Key #3: Chase Rettig has to take care of the pigskin
We don’t care who you are. If you are turning the ball over and making little mistakes against the Wolf Pack, you’re going to lose. Just ask the Boise State Broncos how well they did when they were making dumb mistakes in the second half against these guys. We’ve already talked about the importance of RB Montel Harris, as he is sure to have his touches and will keep this offense moving. This junior has already accounted for 3,599 yards and 27 TDs on the ground in his career, and this is going to be a real showcase game for him here in San Francisco. However, the man of the hour on this offense is QB Chase Rettig. Just a freshman, Rettig was sort of thrown into the fire this year when neither QB Mike Marscovetra nor QB David Shinskie could get the job done. Rettig basically has half of a season of experience now as the team’s starting quarterback, and he threw for 1,117 yards and six TDs against seven picks. He doesn’t have to be a hero, but Rettig is going to have to make a few plays here and there just to keep this offense going. If Nevada is forcing him into some dumb, freshman mistakes though, the Eagles are in a boatload of trouble.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, January 7th, 2011 @ 11:17 am (EST)
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