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Tonights Bowl Game: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl


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Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

December 24th, Honolulu HI, 8 pm, ESPN

SMU vs. Nevada


Three Reasons To Watch This Bowl: 1) Nevada averages 362 rushing yards per game and has three 1,000-yard rushers. It really is the most fun offense in America to watch. 2) If return of June Jones to Hawaii gets you fired up in any way, then Merry Christmas. 3) SMU's passing game might not be among the elite but it could go ballistic against the second-worst pass defense in America.

And Why You Should Spend Your Time Roasting Your Chestnuts: SMU can't stop the run and the offense isn't anything special. This could be nothing more than a fun exercise in seeing how many yards the Wolf Pack O can roll up.

Three Two Names To Drop: 1) Colin Kaepernick, QB Nevada, 2) Emmanuel Sanders, SMU WR, 3) Vai Taua, RB Nevada (academically ineligible).

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Taua ineligible for Hawaii Bowl

Posted by DanHinxman at 12/19/2009 12:16 PM PST on rgj.com


HONOLULU -- Starting running back Vai Taua was ruled academically ineligible and did not make the trip with the Nevada football team for Thursday's Hawaii Bowl against SMU.


Taua, a junior, led the Wolf Pack in rushing this season and was second in the Western Athletic Conference with 1,345 yards.


Taua's absence leaves the Wolf Pack without its top two running backs. Senior Luke Lippincott, who had 1,034 yards rushing, had turf-toe surgery and will not play.


Ault intimated that Taua could possibly not return to the team. During his redshirt-freshman season, he quit and was allowed to return to the team about three weeks later.


"I'm upset and disappointed that Vai didnt fulfill his obligations as a student-athlete," coach Chris Ault said in a prepared statement. "He has let his team down, and I will evaluate his future wiht the program after bowl game.


"Our focus now is on the upcoming game, and our program is moving forward in that direction."


The duties of running back will now fall on sophomore Lampford Mark and redshirt freshman Mike Ball, both of whom have had 100-yard games this season. Junior Courtney Randall, Nevada's short-yardage back, will likely also see more carries.


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freshman safety Michael "Duke" Williams suspension costly to Pack's cause

Posted by DanHinxman at 12/23/2009 10:28 AM PST on rgj.com


HONOLULU -- The suspension of freshman safety Michael "Duke" Williams for Thursday's Hawaii Bowl against SMU could prove to be costly to the Nevada football team.


The Mustangs run a spread offense, which features four or five receivers on every play. The Wolf Pack was probably going to counter with a nickel defense, which would have meant that Williams would have gotten the start.


Williams was suspended for the game Tuesday for what the university called a violation of a team and university rule. It was his second suspension in three games. He missed the New Mexico State game on Nov. 21 following an arrest for minor in possession of alcohol.


Nevada also dismissed reserve linebacker Andre Davis from the team on Tuesday following his arrest for theft in the second degree on Monday. Nevada officials did not provide any further details. Nevada Athletic Director Cary Groth said this morning that Williams "was there" when Davis was arrested but Williams was not arrested.


Groth added that Williams' bowl swag was taken back and that he was put on a flight back to Reno. She said Nevada would not bail out Davis -- she said a school might not be allowed to do so under NCAA rules anyway -- but said because of the unique situation of being in Hawaii that the university would take him back to Reno on the team's chartered flight should he make bail in time.


"I do believe it's our responsibility -- we brought him here -- it's our responsibility to bring him home," she said.


Coach Chris Ault was not available to comment -- and he probably would not reveal such strategy anyway -- but the Pack is dangerously thin at safety. Senior reserve Cameron Bayne was lost for the season with an injury several weeks ago, leaving the Pack with just two healthy, unsuspended safeties with significant experience, starters Jonathon Amaya and Mo Harvey (both seniors). Redshirt freshman Ahmad Wood backs up Harvey and has seen more playing time in recent games. Two other redshirt freshmen -- Mose Denton and Marlon Johnson -- have seen very little playing time. True freshman Chris Metcalf is being redshirted this season.


That makes it difficult to run a nickel defense.


Throw in the fact that the unit lost its coach -- defensive coordinator and safeties coach Nigel Burton left two weeks ago to become the head coach at Portland State -- and the problem intensifies. Cornerbacks coach James Ward is coaching the safeties for the bowl game.


The team was left with just 36 hours to find an answer.

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