Maryland will make its third straight bowl appearance, and sixth over the last eight seasons, when the Terps take on Nevada in their second consecutive bowl game west of the Mississippi. Maryland lost 21-14 to Oregon State in last year's Emerald Bowl in San Francisco to halt a three-game bowl winning streak which was a school record.
Maryland is 9-11-2 overall in the postseason, while this contest will mark the Terps’ first matchup against a WAC opponent in a bowl game. Head coach Ralph Friedgen’s three bowl wins are
the most of any Maryland coach and he is 3-2 overall in bowl games. Prior to Friedgen’s arrival, Maryland made only one postseason appearance in the previous 15 years.
This will be the first meeting between Maryland and Nevada.
Maryland's up-and-down season included wins over California, North Carolina and Clemson. It also contained head-shaking losses by 31-0 at Virginia, and 24-14 at Middle Tennessee. In their next game after being shutout at Virginia, the Terps blanked Wake Forest 26-0.
The Terrapins finished the season on a down note, with losses in three of their last four games. A 37-3 home loss to Florida State in the next-to-last game eliminated Maryland from the ACC's Atlantic division title race.
Nevada is making its fourth straight bowl appearance and is facing an ACC foe in a bowl game for the second time in three years in Boise. The Wolf Pack fell 21-20 to Miami in the 2006 edition of this game when it was called the MPC Computers Bowl.
Nevada ended the season with wins in three of its last four games. The only loss in that span was a 41-34 setback at home to undefeated Boise State. The Wolf Pack's non-conference schedule included a respectable 35-19 home loss to Texas Tech, but they were whipped 69-17 at Missouri.
Nevada features the nation's No. 2 rushing offense at 291.42 yards
per game, and 5th-ranked total offense with 510.58 yards per game. The Wolf Pack can also run the ball, accumulating 43 percent of its total 6,127 yards on the ground. 46 teams had at least 2,000 fewer yards on offense, including Maryland which mustered just 4,103.
The Nevada rushing defense is also solid, allowing just 74.5 yards per game. The Wolf Pack "D" ranks 3rd in rushing defense, 5th in tackles for loss (8.08 per game), and 8th in
sacks (2.92 per game).
Maryland will need to attack Nevada's pass defense that ranks dead last among 120 teams and allowed over 35 more yards per game than the No. 119 team. The problem there is that the Terrapin offense ranks just 65th in passing offense, and Chris Turner threw 10 picks to just 11 TD's.
Meanwhile, Maryland ranks 60th in total defense and 74th in rushing defense.
That will leave Maryland a challenge in slowing down Vai Taua, the nation's 9th-leading rusher at 118.33 yards per game, and QB Colin Kaepernick at 92.92 yards per game.
Nevada head coach Chris Ault ranks sixth among all active head coaches with 198 career victories.