BOISE, Idaho – For the fourth consecutive season, Ohio will play more than the 12 regular season games, as it will appear in the 2019 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday against Nevada.
The Bobcats (6-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) didn’t have the season they wanted, with four of the losses with one possession scores – including the 24-21 loss to Miami that eliminated them from the MAC Championship game.
But they closed out the season winning at Bowling Green and Akron to make the .500 mark and earned the opportunity to achieve a winning record for the fifth consecutive season.
A closer look at the Wolf Pack:
All-time series: This is the first meeting between the two programs. The Bobcats are 2-5 against teams that are currently in the Mountain West Conference.
The Nevada report: The Wolf Pack (7-5, 4-4 MWC) are led by third-year coach Jay Norvell. He is 11-15 in his third year at the helm of Nevada. Quarterback Carson Strong has been the front runner in a wheelhouse of quarterbacks for the Wolf Pack this season. He’s accumulated 1,933 passing yards on a 63.3% rate and has thrown for 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
In the 2019 season, Nevada averaged 21.3 points per game with 359.9 yards per game.
Defensively, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the Wolf Pack, a staff that features four new coaches, including a new defensive coordinator after Norvell fired then-coordinator Jeff Casteel, secondary coach David Lockwood and safeties coach Mike Chamoures ahead of the bowl game.
Along with that, three players have been suspended. This season, Nevada ran a 3-3-5 defense. There isn’t much clarity, however, to what they will run in the bowl game since Norvell hired on a new staff.
Defensively, the Wolf Pack on average allowed 32.1 points per game on 397.7 yards allowed.
How Ohio wins: Well, it’s a bit tricky without knowing what defense Nevada might come out with. The Bobcats have prepared to play against the 3-3-5 formation but have also seen a heavy hand of various looks in their 14 practices leading up to Friday. Ohio faces a lot of unknowns, but the consistency in knowing their own systems and the coaching staff, along with in game adjustments, allow for Ohio to be better suited.
Stat to know: The winner of the game will have won their respective program’s third consecutive bowl game, both of which would be a program record for either team.
Player to watch: Elijah Cooks, junior wide receiver, No. 4
Cooks has a team-high 729 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. Listed at 6 feet, 4 inches, and 215 pounds, he could give the Bobcats’ secondary problems on the outside. For reference, Ohio has allowed on average 223.8 passing yards per game, and Nevada has thrown on average for 237.1 yards per game.