Location: Albertsons Stadium – Boise, ID
Date: Tuesday, December 22
Time: 2:30 PM CT
Records: Tulane 6-5 (3-5 AAC), Nevada 6-2 (6-2 MWC)
Betting Line: Tulane -3; O/U 56.5
All-Time Series: Tulane leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Tulane 34, Nevada 17 (September 26, 1992)
Quick Hits: The Green Wave will head into Boise with a new offensive coordinator, Chip Long, and a new defensive coordinator, Chris Hampton. Long was hired after Will Hall took the head coaching job at Southern Miss and Hampton was hired after Willie Fritz decided to let go of Jack Curtis. While Long and Hampton, Hampton previously served as the defensive backs coach for Tulane from 2016-2019, will be newcomers to the 2020 version of the Tulane Green Wave, expect Tulane to try and build on the progress the team had this season, which culminated in the Greenies winning four of their last five games.
Nevada will come into Boise on the heels of a top-three finish in the Mountain West Conference behind Boise State and undefeated San Jose State. Nevada’s only two losses on the season were at Hawaii, a notoriously tough place to play even without fans, and against San Jose State in their last game of the season. The Wolf Pack have one of the best receivers in the country in Romeo Doubs. In only eight games, Doubs has 960 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns.
From Tulane’s Perspective: The Tulane offense is led by one of the top freshman quarterbacks in the country in Michael Pratt. Pratt started the last eight games of the year for the Green Wave and has thrown for 1,638 yards and 18 touchdowns. Pratt has only been picked-off five times on the year and has also rushed for seven touchdowns.
Tulane’s two top running backs are senior Stephon Huderson and sophomore Cameron Carroll. Huderson has rushed for 721 yards on the season and Carroll has rushed for 621 yards on the season. This dynamic duo lead what is the 17th best rushing offense in the FBS. The Green Wave’s top receiver is Duece Watts. Watts is a junior transfer from Jones County Junior College. Watts has 512 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns in his first year playing for the Greenies.
Seniors Patrick Johnson and Cameron Sample are the two stars of the Tulane defense. Both players, who will more than likely be playing on Sundays next year, have combined for 15 sacks on the year. Johnson leads the FBS with ten sacks on the season.
Tulane’s top three defensive backs are safety Larry Brooks, cornerback Willie Langham, and safety Macon Clark. These three players have combined for seven interceptions on the year. Tulane’s pass defense was an abysmal 115th in the nation this year. These three players will need to step up on Tuesday if the Greenies expect to stop Nevada’s high octane passing attack led by quarterback Carson Strong.
From Nevada’s Perspective: Nevada will come into Boise with the 32nd best offense in the nation, averaging 436.6 yards in offense per game. Nevada’s offense is led by its quarterback Carson Strong and star wide receiver Romeo Doubs.
In only eight games, Strong has thrown for 2,587 yards and 22 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. Strong’s favorite target Romeo Doubs, had 219 receiving yards in one game against UNLV this year. In that game, Doub’s also had one receiving touchdown. While Doubs is a junior, it would not be surprising if he left Reno early to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nevada has the 46th ranked defense in the nation, giving up on average 379.2 yards per game. This unit is led by linebacker Lawson Hall and defensive back Tyson Williams. Hall and Williams combined for 109 tackles through Nevada’s eight games. Williams also had two interceptions on the year. Nevada’s defense will have to be on top of Michael Pratt and Co. on Tuesday if they expect to stop an offense that has scored 30 or more points in eight of their last nine games.
Final Thoughts: Many teams play their bowl games with little-to-no care, this will not be the case in Boise on Tuesday. Nevada will be trying to end what has been an abbreviated, but successful season, on a high-note. Tulane will be looking to finish the second-half of their season 5-1. Both teams have extremely high-caliber offenses and will be looking to build momentum for what can potentially be conference winning seasons in 2021 for both squads. We should expect to see a shoot-out in Boise, but I believe the Green Wave defense will make important stops when they need to in the fourth quarter allowing Tulane to shower Coach Willie Fritz with a potato bath when the clock hits zero in true Idaho fashion.
Prediction: Tulane 38 - Nevada 34