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Another San Francisco treat

BC will face Nevada in Fight Hunger Bowl

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / December 6, 2010

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For the second consecutive year, Boston College will travel to San Francisco to play in a bowl game. After a series of events shifted Notre Dame to the Sun Bowl, the Eagles were bumped to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to face Western Athletic Conference cochampion Nevada.

The Jan. 9 game at AT&T Park against the 13th-ranked Wolf Pack (12-1) marks the third time the Eagles (7-5) will have played in the San Francisco bowl. They lost last year to Southern California, 24-13, and beat Colorado State in 2003, 35-21.

BC had been looking at a Sun Bowl slot against a Big East team but when Connecticut beat South Florida on Saturday night, destinations changed.

UConn’s victory earned the Huskies their first BCS bid and dropped West Virginia into the Big East bowl pool. After debating the choices, the Champs Bowl passed on Notre Dame (it has the same option for the next three years if the Irish do not qualify for a BCS bowl, assuming they’re bowl eligible) and chose West Virginia. Once that happened, Notre Dame was gobbled up by the Sun Bowl, which set up its dream matchup with Miami.

The other ACC schools had already settled on bowl homes: Clemson (Meineke Car Care), Florida State (Chick-fil-A), Georgia Tech (Independence), North Carolina State (Champs), North Carolina (Music City), and Maryland (Military). BC’s last option, then, was to take the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl’s invitation, which opened when the Pac-10 could not fill its bowl commitments.

Originally, Boise State was slated to be the WAC representative. But late Saturday night, Boise worked out a deal with the Las Vegas Bowl to meet Utah, which left the spot open for Nevada, the only team to beat Boise in the last two years.

The Wolf Pack are led by Colin Kaepernick, a 6-foot-6-inch senior with similar dual-threat skills to Auburn’s probable Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton. Kaepernick is the only player in college football history to rush for more than 4,000 yards and pass for more than 9,000 yards in his career. Nevada’s only loss was at Hawaii, 27-21.

“We’re really excited about this matchup,’’ said Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli. “We’ve never had a one-loss team [Nevada]. And BC has been a class act each time they have come out here. We’re looking forward to having a game that matches that great Nevada offense with Kaepernick against the BC defense and their great linebackers [Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich].’’

BC coach Frank Spaziani said he’s looking forward to facing Nevada as BC readies for its 12th consecutive bowl.

“That’s a Hall of Fame coach [Chris Ault] and certainly a great program,’’ said Spaziani, who will combine recruiting this week with setting up a bowl practice schedule. “It will be a challenge.’’

Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo won the Scanlan Award, which is given to the BC player best representing athletics, academics, community service, and character at yesterday’s team banquet.