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Gildan New Mexico Bowl Preview: Arizona vs. Nevada

Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY SPORTS

The first college football bowl game of the 2012 season kicks off at noon eastern time on Saturday with Arizona (7-5) taking on Nevada (7-5) from Albuquerque.

I know many could care less about the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and really won’t get excited about bowl season until after Christmas. Some don’t even get into it until New Year’s Day and the BCS bowls get here.

However, this game figures to feature a lot of fireworks, especially from Arizona’s sophomore running back Ka’Deem Carey and Nevada’s junior running back Stefphon Jefferson who rank second and fourth in the nation in rushing, respectively.

Carey has nine-100 yard games this season including a career-high 366 vs. Colorado in which he visited the end zone five times. Over the last three games, Carey is averaging 247.3 yards per game in the last three games of the regular season and the All-American has season totals of 1,757 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Jefferson also has nine-100 yard games to his credit and has eclipsed at least 78 yards rushing in every game this season. He rushed for 247 in the win over Northwestern State and followed that performance up with a seven-touchdown day vs. Hawaii.

Each team will rely on their workhorse tailbacks in this game that will not feature much defense at all.

In fact, Arizona gave up the most yards ever this season in year one under Rich Rodriguez as he looks to build up the program that has only one senior in the starting 11 on defense.

Nevada is coming into this game having lost four of their last five games and head coach Chris Ault is a bleak 2-7 in bowl games.

This figures to be classic matchup where the team with the ball last wins the game.

I’ll take Arizona 42-38

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.