NCAAF  > General NCAAF  > Hawaii Bowl Preview
December 21, 2009, 11:22 PM
OVERVIEW

June Jones is making his return to the Islands for the first time since left Hawaii to take the job at SMU. He completely turned around this program in his second year at the helm. They went 1-11 in his first season, and moved to 7-5 this season to earn a bowl berth. A death penalty crippled the program in 80s, and they???ve struggled ever since. Jones had set forth the goal of making the Hawaii Bowl at the beginning of the season, and SMU won four of their last five games to reach that goal.



Nevada lost its first three games by a combined 60 points, but then rebounded with eight straight victories thanks to the Nation???s leading rushing offense. Nevada came into the final weekend of the season with an opportunity to not only knock Boise State out of the BCS, but steal the WAC conference. Nevada fell short and finished the season 8-4. In this game, Nevada will be without Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott, two of their leading rushers this season. They will have to lean heavily on QB Colin Kaepernick to make plays and lead them to a bowl victory.



KEY PLAYERS

SMU -- Shawnbrey McNeal (RB)

McNeal stepped his game up after SMU lost starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell to a shoulder injury and helped ease the transition to freshman Kyle Padron. McNeal ran for 1,125 yards this season on 5.0 yards per carry and 9 touchdowns. His best performance was a 169 yard game against Utep that was key in the Mustangs four point victory.



Nevada -- Colin Kaepernick (QB)

Especially now with Taua and Lippincott out for the game, Kaepernick becomes that much more important to Nevada . He???s led one of the Nation???s top offenses. The Wolfpack are 1st in rushing yards, 2nd in total yards, and 1st in points per game. Kaepernick threw for 1,875 yards with 18 touchdowns and ran for 1,160 yards (7.8 YPC) with 16 touchdowns. He???s one of the top dual-threat QB???s in the country.



http://www.informativesports.com/NCAA_F/09Bowls/Hawaii_bo wl.htm

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