Nevada head coach Jay Norvell has the
Wolf Pack in its second bowl game during
his three years at the helm. Norvell guided
Nevada to an 8-5 mark last year, including
an overtime win against Arkansas State in the
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The Wolf
Pack has won seven regular-season games in
back-to-back years for the fi rst time since doing
so in each of Chris Ault’s fi nal fi ve seasons as
head coach (2008-12).
A key member of Nevada’s historic run in
the late 2000s is back on the Wolf Pack sideline.
Vai Taua was an All-America running back
for Nevada from 2007-10 and is now coaching
the running backs.
Taua’s 2008 team that began the stretch of
seven-plus-win seasons fi nished its season in
Boise at what was then known as the Roady’s
Humanitarian Bowl. Most Valuable Player
Colin Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack mounted
a second-half comeback, but fell just short
in a 42-35 loss against Maryland. Ault also
led Nevada to the 2006 MPC Computers
Bowl in Boise, where another second-half
comeback came up just short in a 21-20 loss
to Miami (Fla.).
This year’s Wolf Pack team features a starstudded
defense and none shine brighter than
sophomore defensive end Dom Peterson. An
All-Mountain West First Team selection,
Peterson leads the Wolf Pack with 13.5 tackles
for loss and eight sacks. His eight sacks rank
second in the Mountain West this season.
The eff ective pass rush has helped Nevada
rank third in the conference in third-down
conversion defense and fewest fi rst downs
allowed to opposing off enses.
While Peterson and the defense have helped
get opponents off the fi eld, quarterback Carson
Strong has guided a methodical Nevada
off ense. Strong ranks 13th nationally with 22.9
completions per game, helping the Wolf Pack
average more than 32 minutes of possession,
No. 20 in the country.
A clash of strengths will be on display in the
23rd Famous Idaho Potato Bowl as Peterson
and the Nevada pass rush attempts to corral
Ohio’s dual-threat quarterback in Rourke.
Nevada is seeking its fi rst win at Albertsons
Stadium since 1997, while Ohio looks to go
2-0 on the Blue Turf.
24 JANUARY 3, 2020 / FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL