Arizona Wildcats vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
The Nevada Wolfpack and the Arizona Wildcats face off in the first college football bowl game of the season, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The Wildcats are -10 point favorites over the Wolpack with an over/under point total set at 75.
The Nevada Wolfpack lost four of their last five games this season and covered the spread in just two of their last 10 games but Chris Ault’s team managed to have enough wins once again to make it to a bowl game. QB Cody Fajardo had a big year completing 66.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions while rushing for 981 yards and 11 touchdowns. Stephon Jefferson averaged 5.0 yards per carry rushing for 1703 yards and 22 touchdowns and he also caught 22 passes. Brandon Wimberly led Nevada receivers with 63 catches and four touchdowns, Richy Turner had 54 catches, Zach Sudfield had 43 catches and six touchdowns, and Aaron Bradley had 42 catches and four touchdowns. Defensively Nevada allows 32.5 points per game, 213.2 rushing yards, and 218 passing yards with just four interceptions and 20 sacks. Albert Rosette had 128 tackles, Duke Williams had 100 tackles, and Brock Hekking had 70 tackles and eight sacks. Ault is one of the winningest college football coaches of all time so he will have as team as well prepared as they can be but the question is does he have the personnel to compete with the big conference team in this spot.
While the Arizona Wildcats didn’t have a big turnaround season they did accomplish some things and look to be headed in the right direction under Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. QB Matt Scott completed 60.4 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and he rushed for 485 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Ka’Deem Carey is a consensus All-American and the leading rusher in the nation rushing for 1,757 yards with 20 touchdowns and he also caught 33 passes. Austin Hill had 73 catches and nine touchdowns, Dan Buckner had 59 catches and five touchdowns, and John Jackson had 25 catches. Defensively Arizona allowed 34.2 points per game, 189.8 rushing yards, and 295.9 passing yards with 10 interceptions and 16 sacks. Jake Fisher had 106 tackles, Marquis Flowers had 90 tackles and 5.5 sacks, and Tra’Mayne Bondurant had 74 tackles. This isn’t the bowl where Arizona wanted to be but where they end up after blowing a big fourth quarter lead against rival Arizona State.
Nevada is 1-7-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five bowl games, and 2-8-1 against the spread in their last 10 non-conference games. Arizona is 6-13 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 1-4 against the spread against the Mountain West Conference, and3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
I like the over 75 here as I expect a ton of points.