NCF Nation: 2011 Kraft bowl 3 keys

You saw the preview and prediction. Now here are three keys for Nevada going into the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Boston College on Sunday night.

1. Run it. Nevada runs the ball, no matter the opponent. Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua are the two guys who make the Pistol offense work so well, so the way they play is going to be critical. Remember, Kaepernick and Taua set an NCAA record for most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by two teammates. In the only loss Nevada had this season to Hawaii, Kaepernick had four turnovers. So he is going to have to take care of the football.

2. Get the pass game going. What is going to be a big key is getting completions early in the pass game. So watch for tight end Virgil Green and receiver Rishard Matthews, who have capabilities to have big games. Kaepernick is a much improved passer this season, and his passing made a huge difference in the upset over Boise State. If Nevada can get a few big pass plays early, that is going to keep the Boston College defense off kilter and open up better lanes in on the ground.

3. Let Dontay Moch loose. The Nevada defense has made tremendous strides under first-year coordinator Andy Buh. This is the perfect opportunity to show just how far the unit has come. Moch has been one of the best defenders in the WAC and is a master at tackling quarterbacks and running backs for a loss. He will have a great matchup with Boston College left tackle Anthony Castonzo, a towering presence at 6-foot-7 and 308 pounds. But Moch is one of the fastest defensive players in college football, and his speed allows him to get such a quick burst to the quarterback. He has 22 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks this season, and you can bet he will be trying to get after Chase Rettig.

3 keys: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

January, 7, 2011
Here are three keys for BC in Sunday’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

1. Stop Nevada’s ground game. You can't talk about this game without mentioning this matchup, because it really is the key to the game. It’s not like BC can only key on running back Vai Taua. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has deceiving speed, and he and Taua have been dynamic together from the pistol formation. The Eagles have been solid up front, but the linebackers have been the strength of the defense and will have to be again. Their challenge will be not only to stop the run, but also to be smart on play-action.

2. Get the most out of Montel Harris. Because of the long layoff, BC running back Montel Harris has had time to heal after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee against Virginia. He’s ready to roll, and will be trying to become the Eagles’ leading career rusher. He’s only 126 yards shy of that mark. Harris and backup Andre Williams will be needed to take some pressure off of freshman quarterback Chase Rettig, but Nevada’s defense has the nation’s No. 23 rushing defense, so the offensive line will have to hold its own.

3. Stay out of third-and-long situations. Rettig has proven capable of managing the offense, but Nevada’s defense has the ability to disguise coverages and confuse him. The Wolf Pack secondary matches up well with BC in man-to-man coverage. Rettig is going to have to make good decisions, stay patient, and work his way through his progressions to avoid turnovers.