Week 5 Preview: Not talking about Idaho

-Im not gonna talk about Idaho. I don’t care if you want to. I wont do it. Not going to talk about how our defensive line pass rush is about as daunting as a strong gust of wind. I am not going to talk about how our defensive backs can perfectly defend a pass except for the part where they just have to turn around and catch the football but instead they don’t find the football, and they grab the defender in a panic, and get called for pass interfence. I’m not going to talk about how Johnny Stanton threw two interceptions to the guy who was standing right in front of him.

There are games that are so bad that coaches say that don’t even watch the film. This was a different kind of bad. This is the kind of bad that you make your team watch. You make their families watch it. Its like when a dog poops on the floor, and to punish your dog you put him right next to it and make him stare at it. UNLV pooped on the floor, and Sanchez needs to make the whole team look at it to know to not do it again.

On to Fresno State:

-Johnny Stanton is not playing, and redshirt freshman Dalton Sneed will be making his first start at QB.
-With Fresno starting a freshman at QB and the fact that Fresno State gives up 260 yards per game on the ground, UNLV would be wise to put the ball in the hands of Lexington Thomas. The strategy needs to be about running the football.
-Our secondary is pretty skilled athletically, but the coaching staff needs to go back to the fundamentals of coverage. The moment the ball leaves the QB’s hand, the DBs needs to know, and they need to know where the football is.
-Fresno State offense relies on the passing game, and UNLV needs to get creative with the pass rush to try and change things up. UNLV defensive line is small, and they need to try and find a way to get to the QB.
-This is an important game for UNLV and especially Sanchez. UNLV is a better team than Fresno, and after a tough home loss to Idaho, UNLV can’t follow up with another stinky performance. A UNLV loss would be crippling to the rest of the season. There was hopes that UNLV would 3-2 or possibly 4-1 heading into the October, now UNLV is hoping to just notch a 2nd win.
-I think UNLV will come out and look a lot better than did last week, but I still dont know if that necessarily translates to an easy win.

UNLV 34 Fresno St 31

Week 4 Preview: Idaho Vandals

UNLV fans were in midseason of college hoops season form during the rebels loss against Central Michigan last weekend. You would of thought that Tony Sanchez was Dave Rice after blowing a double digit lead against a bottom of the barrel conference opponent.

UNLV lost last week, 44-21 to a good Central Michigan team. Fans weren’t happy about it. Johnny Stanton also got the “Jerome Seagears” treatment from a lot of fans.

I don’t know what fans expected. UNLV was double digit underdogs, against a team that matched up well against the Rebels. Central Michigan went on the road and beat a top 25 team the week before. My theory on why UNLV fans are upset:

Central Michigan is in the MAC conference. The MAC sucks. Therefore, we should be able to beat them.

The truth: the Mac is a pretty solid conference, and CMU is a good football team. UNLV fans would patting themselves on the back if they lost to Oklahoma State 44-21. That’s a good team from the Big 12! (Thats also the same team that just lost to the Chippewas.)

Enough about that, and how much I hate the majority of my fellow UNLV fans.

UNLV has a good bounce-back game this week against the Idaho Vandals. Here are my thoughts:

  • UNLV ran the football well last week, and I think they look to do the same this week. Look for Lexington Thomas to continue to look like one of the best backs in the MWC behind Heisman candidate Donnel Pumphrey.
  • Idaho is 1-2 with their lone win coming from 20-17 victory of Montana State. The two losses came against Washington (59-14) and Washington State (56-6)
  • UNLV is favored by 13 points. UNLV is 2-1 against the spread this season, Idaho is 0-3.
  • Idaho’s defense might be worst than UNLV’s and that is saying a lot. Idaho is giving up an average of 44 points and 432 yards per game.

Look for UNLV to bounce back and use this game as a confidence booster heading into MWC play. UNLV wins big 55-20.


Week 3 Preview: Central Michigan Cheatawas

Central Michigan doesn’t deserve to be 2-0. The clock had read double ZEROS in Stillwater last weekend but the referees mistakenly gave the Chippewas an untimed down. Good for them. They threw a hail mary that was just short of the endzone, but the savvy WR was able to lateral the ball to another player who was able to convert the TD. It was the highlight play of the week, even though it technically didn’t really happen.

That result creates a level of intrigue for this weekends game against UNLV.

UNLV looks to bounce back after a tough loss at the Rose Bowl against UCLA. Down 28-21 early in the 4th quarter, UNLV’s defense was about to force a 3 and out when safety, Kenny Keys, was called for a targeting penalty which extended the drive and resulted in Keys’ ejection. That play took away the momentum UNLV had, and UCLA was able to seal the victory with a couple TDs in the 4th quarter.

Notes about the week 3 matchup:

-Central Michigan boasts a stout defense, especially against the run. Teams are averaging just 47 yds a game on the ground.

-The Chippewas offense can move the football, especially in the air. Starting QB, Cooper Rush, threw for 4 TDs and 368 yards.

-UNLV’s offensive focus this week should be on working on the short to intermediate passing game. Stanton can throw the deep ball decently, but this game will be won by the team that controls possession.

-The Rebel defense need to get after the QB. Pressure from the front 7 is main ingredient for a good defense. It throws the offence’s timing off, and gives the secondary unit opportunities to create turnovers.

My week 3 prediction:

Everything I see about this week tells me that this a bad matchup for UNLV. I hope that i am underrating UNLV and overrating CMU but I think the Chippewas win 42-34.

Week 2 UNLV Preview: UCLA… Yawn

Last Week, UNLV made quick work of Jackson State en route to a 63-13 beat down. A couple notes from that game before moving onto preview UCLA.

  • UNLV IS 1/12 of the way to an undefeated season. Who says it cant happen??
  • Johnny Stanton and Devante Boyd look like they will be a dynamic duo after connecting for 3 TDs (all in the first half).
  • Keith Whitely who? ┬áThe three-headed running back corp of Lex Thomas, Xzavier Campell, and Charles Williams combined for 216 yards, 3 TDS on just 33 carries.
  • Although only pulling in one catch, Darren Woods Jr. showed signs of a bright future.
  • There were a few drives at the beginning of the game where the defense struggled to get off the field, but the defense looked solid in the second half.

This week UNLV heads to the Rose Bowl to take on the UCLA Bruins. Last year these two teams met in what was the home opener for UNLV football where UCLA thumped the Rebels 37-3. That score is deceiving. Down 10-0. UNLV attempted a fake FG that failed, and then late in the first half Kurt Palendech threw a pick six. UNLV was never going to win that game, but played a respectable game for the most part.

My personal highlight of that game was when two UNLV fans got into a fight because one of them was leaving early, and the other fan didn’t like that.

This year I expect UCLA to win again, but I expect a much closer game on the scoreboard.

  • UCLA is favored to win by 25.5.
  • Rosen, UCLA’s QB, was hot/cold in week 1 vs Texas A&M. Throwing for 343 yards, but also turning the ball over 3 times.
  • UNLV’s offense ran wild against Jackson State, but how will they look against a bigger, more talented defensive squad.
  • If you watched UCLA’s game vs Texas A&M, it really felt like UCLA was the better squad, but they weren’t able to turn any red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
  • The key for UNLV this week is avoid stupid plays. Beating UCLA is hard enough as it, but it is near impossible if you give up points to them.

This will be the first chance we have to see if UNLV has made any progress into becoming a better football team. Last week was fun, but it is these games where we can see the development of UNLV.