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Wolf Pack to face Boston College in bowl game

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

The Nevada Wolf Pack will get to test its celebrated rushing offense against the top run defense in the nation.

The Pack, heading to a bowl game for the sixth season in a row, will meet the Boston College Eagles in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Jan. 9 (6 p.m., ESPN).

The Eagles of the Atlantic Coast Conference won their last five games to finish the regular season at 7-5. The Wolf Pack, which beat Louisiana Tech, 35-17, on Saturday to earn a share of the Western Athletic Conference title, has won its last six games to stand at 12-1.

Boston College, which lost to USC, 24-13, in last year’s bowl game at AT&T Park (then called the Emerald Bowl) lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 80.2 yards a game and 2.7 a carry. The Eagles have allowed just 962 rushing yards all season.

The Wolf Pack, though, features the third best running attack in the nation, averaging 306 yards a game. The Pack has two players (Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick) with more rushing yards this season than the Eagles have allowed this year.

Taua has 1,534 yards and Kaepernick has 1,184 yards. The Wolf Pack also averages 6.3 yards each carry.

Boston College’s defense is led by linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly, one of five finalists this season for the Butkus Award (given to the nation’s top linebacker) leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with 171 tackles. He was also the Defensive Most Valuable Player in last year’s Emerald Bowl loss to USC with 16 tackles.

Boston College beat Syracuse this past weekend, 16-7, with a freshman quarterback (Chase Rettig) and a freshman running back (Andre Williams). Williams, playing for an injured Montel Harris, had 185 yards against Syracuse in his first college start. Harris, who could return for the bowl game, has 1,243 yards and eight touchdowns this year.

Rettig has played eight games this year and has passed for 1,117 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Eagles’ three quarterbacks (Rettig, Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra) have combined for 13 touchdowns and 17 interceptions this year.

Boston College has struggled to score points all year. The Eagles average 18.9 points a game, 109th in the country. The Pack, by comparison, averages 42.6 points a game, seventh best in the nation.

Boston College is 14th in the nation in total defense, allowing 310 yards a game. They are ranked that high, though, mainly due to their success against the run. They are just 83rd in the country against the pass, allowing 229.8 yards a game.

The Wolf Pack is 23rd against the run (allowing 124.6 yards a game), 106th against the pass (252.7 yards) and 65th in total defense (377.3 a game).

Boston College lost five games in a row this season to Virginia Tech (19-0), Notre Dame (31-13), North Carolina State (44-17), Florida State (24-19) and Maryland (24-21) from Sept. 25 through Oct. 23.

The Eagles, though, won their final five games against Clemson (16-10), Wake Forest (23-13), Duke (21-16), Virginia (17-13) and Syracuse (16-7).

The Eagles finished fourth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division at 4-4.