UNLV FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) is one of the largest and well-funded schools in the state, but the institution's football team has been yearning to turn a corner for a long time. In the past 25 years, the Rebels have finished over .500 just four times and have been unable to overcome the growing competitiveness of the Mountain West Conference (MWC). Although the Rebels finished with a 2-10 record overall during 2011 and 1-6 in the MWC, head coach Bobby Hauck thinks that his team has taken its lumps and could be ready to challenge for the conference crown for the first time in decades.
The Rebels have all the warning signs of a quarterback controversy in the making, with juniors Caleb Herring and Sean Reilly vying for the starting job, while USC transfer James Boyd will also make his case for command of the offense. UNLV's offense is predicated on the run with Tim Cornett leading the way, but his carries will be split with a series of underclassmen who will try to play the third down back role. Marcus Sullivan looks like the X-factor in the passing game, and will benefit from tight end Jake Phillips's steadying presence in the middle of the field. On the offensive line, the Rebels are very young in the trenches, but the squad will benefit from early playing time over the previous year.
On defense, the Rebels have nowhere to go but up, as they surrendered 40.4 points per game and 443.2 yards per game during 2011. Thankfully, UNLV has plenty of young talent to go around, but they are certainly lacking in experience. Tyler Gaston and Nate Holloway can be stalwart defensive tackles up front, while coaches are excited about the potential of defensive end Parker Holloway, who signed with the Rebels in December. The linebacking corps will be led by Tani Maka and Princeton Jackson, while the secondary looks to remain strong in the safe hands of cornerback Sidney Hodge. Overall, the Rebels are faster and deeper than they were on defense in 2011, but they will have to learn quickly to overcome the strength of their MWC opponents.
Looking ahead to the 2012 season, the Rebels have a softer schedule in the beginning of the year with favorable matchups against Washington State, Minnesota and Northern Arizona, but the biggest game on their schedule is clearly their October 20 showdown against Boise State. If the Rebels can hit the ground running early on, there's no telling how far they can go in a competitive Mountain West Conference.
UNLV REBELS INFORMATION:
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Stadium: Sam Boyd Stadium
Conference: Mountain West
Rivals: Nevada Wolf Pack (The Battle for Nevada)
Mascot: Hey Reb
Notable Alumni: Randall Cunningham, Keenan McCardell, Anton Palepoi, Ickey Woods
Notable Bowl Games:
The UNLV football program was first begun in 1968 as a Division II Independent team. This lasted until 1978 when the Rebels jumped to Division IA. The team would play in the Big West Conference, then the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), and finally join the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in 1999. UNLV has a 3-0 bowl record and holds one conference championship from 1994. The current squad looks poised to expand on the team’s past success. Some of the talented players to go on to the NFL after playing at UNLV include Randall Cunningham, Keenan McCardell, and Ickey Woods.
The UNLV Rebels play their home games at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stadium seats a capacity crowd of 36,800. The stadium has provided the Rebels with a fantastic home field advantage and home winning record. Visitors will find Sam Boyd to be well located near both the UNLV campus and the airport, making it an easy destination for a game. Fans can get a first-hand look at the rich athletic traditions at UNLV as they walk through the Rebel Experience Area on their way into the stadium. Buy UNLV Rebels football tickets today and don’t miss out on any of the action!
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UNLV Rebels Ticket Information:
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