By Todd McElwee
|Terps running back Da'Rel Scott was named to the All-ACC first team after rushing for 959 yards this season. (Mitch Stringer/PressBox)|
"I'm really excited to go to the Humanitarian Bowl," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We're going to go play a very good team, and it's going to be a real challenge for our players.
"All the head coaches that I've talked to when we critique the bowls at the end of the season have said that their kids really enjoyed this bowl, and I'm sure ours will, too."
Boise wasn't the Terps' preferred destination. Maryland had its eye on various other postseason contests including the Gator, Music City, Chick-fil-A, Champs Sports and Meineke Car Care Bowls, all of which have ACC ties. However, those games bypassed the Terps in favor of Clemson, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Florida State and North Carolina, respectively. A neighborly meeting with Navy in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl Dec. 20 at FedEx Field was quickly discarded due to scheduling conflicts with final exams.
While a trip to Boise may not have been their goal, Friedgen thinks it will still be good for the Terps.
"I asked [the team] the other day, `Who wants to go and who doesn't want to go to a bowl?' They all raised their hands -- they want to go," Friedgen said. "To me, this is part of their education. I think they learn from different places they go. I think you'll find out our kids are well-behaved, and they've enjoyed every experience they've had as far as postseason play."
Nevada (7-5, 5-3 Western Athletic Conference) finished tied for second with Hawaii and Louisiana Tech behind undefeated Boise State in Western Athletic Conference standings. The Wolfpack is making its second postseason appearance on the blue turf, having lost to Miami, 21-20, in what was then called the MPC Computers Bowl.
Wolfpack quarterback Colin Kaepernick has completed 184 of 336 attempts for 2,479 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for 16 scores. Nevada ranks 13th nationally in scoring, averaging 37.8 points per game.
Pairing with Kaepernick to produce the nation's second most productive rushing attack is Vai Taua. The sophomore racked up 1,420 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch have registered nearly 20 sacks in guiding a Wolfpack defense that ranks fifth against the run.
"I see that they're second in the country in rushing, and they have two 1,000-yard rushers," Friedgen said. "They were very competitive playing Texas Tech, and they were very competitive against Boise State. They've played some really good football teams, so I think they're a very, very good football team."
The Humanitarian Bowl will be Maryland's 23rd and sixth under Friedgen. The Terps' last postseason victory came in 2006 against Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Nine Terps were selected to All-ACC teams.
Tailback Da`Rel Scott, center Edwin Williams and punter Travis Baltz all garnered first team nods. Linebacker Alex Wujciak was named to the second team while offensive linemen Jaimie Thomas and Scott Burley, tight end Dan Gronkowski, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre made honorable mention.
After three seasons, defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is leaving College Park to take over defensive coordinator/assistant head coach duties under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. He will not journey to Boise with the team. This is his second tour of duty with the Wildcats.
Issue 132: December 2008