The 10 ten things you need to know about Nevada win over Tulane in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada 38, Tulane 27
10. The loss of the top guys on the Tulane defensive front was devastating. Usually this year, the call is to not change up any pick too much, if at all, based on players being out – you never know who’s out on the other side until the game starts – but the Green Wave defensive front had a problem from the start. You can’t just make up for not having Patrick Johnson at one end.
9. Nevada came out running. The Tulane defensive front gave it a try, but couldn’t get the job done. The Wolf Pack don’t run – this has been a passing team all year – and yet it started the game setting a tone by daring the D line to come up with a stop. Toa Taua powered away for 102 yards, Devonte Lee ran for 105, and Tulane got outgained on the ground 209 to 197.
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) December 23, 2020
8. Tulane QB Michael Pratt had to press, and it didn’t work. It’s not that Tulane can’t or couldn’t throw this season, but the offense was mostly about being able to run effectively. It was fine on the ground – 197 yards and two touchdowns with over five yards per carry – but it wasn’t nearly enough. Pratt made a few big throws down the field, but he only hit 12-of-25 passes and gave up three picks.
7. This was huge for the Mountain West. Boise State is losing head coach Bryan Harsin to Auburn, conference champion San Jose State is playing Ball State in the Arizona Bowl instead of a good Power Five program, and Hawaii is playing Houston in the New Mexico Bow. That’s it – this is as high-profile as it might get this bowl season. It was a great showing for the bowl game and Nevada.
6. Nevada’s Lawson Hall came up with a gem. The senior linebacker ended up making a slew of plays down the field, and Tulane was able to run well, but he led the team with nine tackles with two sacks as part of a defensive front that came up with eight sacks and bothered Michael Pratt all game long.
5. Carson Strong is a budding star who’ll be a national thing in 2021. The Nevada QB completed 22-of-28 passes for 271 yards and five touchdowns with – almost most importantly – no picks. He didn’t make the big mistake to let the Green Wave into the game.
The TD. The dance.
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) December 22, 2020
4. If it seemed like Nevada always had the ball, it’s because it did. This has been an okay team in the time of possession battle this year but for a style that’s not build on running – just 112 yards per game – it was able to control the pace like it needed to with well over 36 minutes of offensive time.
3. The Green Wave looked freaking freezing. It was in the high 60s in New Orleans on Tuesday and in the low 30s with snow and a 20 mph wind in Boise. Football players are some of the toughest humans on the planet, but literally and figuratively, Tulane came out cold.
2. Tulane has a habit under Willie Fritz of pulling games out of the fire in the second half – it did that in last year’s bowl win over Southern Miss – but it dug too deep a hole. The adjustments were good, the team played with a renewed energy in the second half, and it was a good try, but it was too late.
1. That’s the Nevada and the Mountain West that showed up early on this year. It might have lost to San Jose State and didn’t get a shot to win the conference title, but this put an end to a strong season and a great step forward under Jay Norvell. You absolutely take 7-2 with a double-digit bowl this season.