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Brenden Welper | NCAA.com | January 2, 2020

Nevada vs. Ohio: 2020 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl prediction, time, TV channel, preview

Clemson defeats Ohio State in the CFP semifinals.

Nevada (7-5) and Ohio (6-6) are set to meet in the 2020 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Find the game time, television info, preview and prediction below.

Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3, at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. ESPN will televise the game. It will stream live on WatchESPN.

Nevada vs. Ohio: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl preview

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Ohio won the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 24-23 over Utah State. Nevada has played twice in this game, losing both times. They fell to Miami (Fla.) 21-20 in 2006 and to Maryland 42-35 in 2008.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich and his Bobcats are appearing in their fifth-consecutive bowl game. Solich, who is in his 15th year at the helm, is 4-6 in postseason play.

BOWL CENTRAL: Complete bowl schedule, TV listings

The Bobcats went 1-3 in their non-conference schedule to open the season. A 39-36 loss to Northern Illinois on Oct. 12 put them in a 2-4 hole. But Ohio won four of its final six games (including three on the road) to finish second in the Mid-American Conference's East Division.

Nevada is appearing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2015. The Wolf Pack went 7-5 during the regular season, which included a 17-13 upset over then-No. 24 San Diego State on Nov. 9. A victory over Ohio would set a school record for most-consecutive bowl wins at three. 

Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke is playing in his final collegiate game. The senior has thrown for 2,676 yards, 20 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions in 2019. His completion percentage of 61.4 is a career-best as well. Rourke is also a threat outside of the pocket. He's run for 780 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns in the regular season.

CONFERENCE COMPARISON: Tracking each conference through bowl season

This doesn't bode well for Nevada's defense, which will be without three of its starters: defensive backs Austin Arnold and Daniel Brown, as well as defensive tackle Hausia Sekona. It'll be up to the Wolf Pack's offense to keep pace with an Ohio team that has averaged 34.7 points per game this year.

In contrast with Rourke, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong will get his first taste of postseason action. The freshman threw for 1,933 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. He was picked off seven times, but completed 63.4 percent of his passes.

Strong's favorite target has been junior wideout Elijah Cooks. He leads the Wolf Pack with 62 receptions, 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Look for Strong to lean heavily on his veteran, especially if Nevada's No. 2 wide receiver Romeo Doubs is out with an injury. Doubs is currently listed as doubtful. 

Nevada vs. Ohio: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl prediction

At full strength, Nevada's defense still allowed 32.1 points per game in the regular season. Now the Wolf Pack are missing half of their secondary and a defensive tackle.

The Bobcats will take advantage of those absences. It's just a matter of whether or not Carson Strong can keep Nevada in the game.

The prediction: Ohio 38, Nevada 17

nevada   ohio
7-5 (4-4 MW) Record (Conference) 6-6 (5-3 MAC)
21.3 Points per game 34.7
32.1 Points allowed 27.0
359.9 Yards per game 443.3
237.1 Passing YPG 226.8
122.8 Rushing YPG 216.5
397.7 Yards allowed per game 401.6
259.8 Passing yards allowed 223.8
137.9 Rushing yards allowed 177.8
Carson Strong
1,933 yards (10 TD, 7 INT)
Passing  Nathan Rourke
2,676 yards (20 TD, 5 INT) 
Toa Taua
759 yards (4.0 per att.), 6 TD
Rushing  O'Shaan Allison
823 yards (6.4 per att.), 6 TD
Elijiah Cooks
729 yards, 7 TD
Receiving  Isiah Cox
590 yards, 2 TD
Daniel Brown
41 tackles, 4 INT
Defensive leader Austin Conrad
34 tackles, 4 sacks

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