Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5 SU, 3-9 ATS) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl Game
Date/Time: December 15, 2012. 1:00 p.m. EST.
Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM.
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Nev +9.5/AZ -9.5
Over/Under Total: 76
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The 2012 New Mexico Bowl features two of the nation’s best running backs in Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson. These two backs have covered a ton of ground this season and look to out work one another in search of the NCAA rushing title. Arizona’s Carey currently leads the nation in rushing yards per game at 146.4 per contest while Jefferson averages 141. Whoever rushes for more yards in this matchup will likely determine the outcome as well as a push for rushing title. Both RBs have over 20 TDs but it is Carey who may be considered the larger threat as he is also third in receiving on the Wildcats roster.
The Arizona Wildcats have won 3 of their last 5 games. The Nevada Wolfpack have dropped 4 of their last 5 and is really fortunate they started the season with 5 straight wins making them eligible for a bowl game. Obviously defense is a questionable factor in this contest in which 76 is the current total. Arizona’s D is young, mixed with walk-on athletes, and a bit bruised up! The Wildcats have collectively lost five defensive players to injuries. Thus, the rushing attack of the Wolf Pack will definitely be a test on this beaten down crew of Cats.
Nevada, however has struggled with the running game in nearly all of their past seven consecutive bowl games-it’s become an awkward pattern the Wolf Pack hopes to change this time around. Over the span of previous seasons the Wolf Pack averaged over 285 yards rushing per game but in bowl games they have averaged just 154 yards on the ground. This is likely due to a number of factors which include longer prep time for opposing defenses and too much time off which causes a breakdown in the flow of any offensive line and scheme. Both of these teams allow approximately 200 yards or more rushing per contest, so even with an off-par running game both should be able to move the ball effectively; especially with the high caliber RBs in either backfield.
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Wildcat’s QB Matt Scott may be the other major factor in this bowl game. Scott needs to limit his turnovers and take care of the ball-he turned the pigskin over four times in the Cat’s loss to Arizona State. If he can clean his game up and make sound decisions the Wildcats should have the advantage over the Pack. Scott is a fifth year senior who wants to go out on a good note.
Nevada’s QB Cody Fajardo can also put up the numbers. Fajardo has tossed 17 TDs this season and the longer he can keep his defense on the bench the better chance the Pack has of sneaking away with a win.
Bowl games are as unpredictable as March madness at times, but I don’t see the Wolf Pack hanging on down the stretch. Arizona is the better team and their powerful offense will outlast and out score Nevada. Ka’Deem Carey gets his yards and a win.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Cats to cover the 9.5 in this high scoring bout. My New Mexico Bowl prediction is Cats 52, Wolf Pack 35. Luck to ya
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