UNLV Football Preview – Rebels vs Arkansas State



rebels vs arkansas state


80’s Night at Sam Boyd Stadium 

UNLV vs. Arkansas State @7PM PST

The UNLV Football team marches into this match-up with the Arkansas State Red Wolves having beaten a Southern Utah team that was picked to finish near the bottom of the Big Sky Conference. Fast forward to Saturday, September 7th and they will take on an opponent that had a significant impact on their 2018 season, Arkansas State. This is the game where quarterback Armani Rogers suffered a turf toe injury in Jonesboro, AR that changed the season for the Rebels. UNLV was leading 20-19 heading into the fourth quarter, but Armani threw a costly interception on a pass that was intended for Kendal Keys. This interception didn’t cost the Rebels the game, but the three subsequent interceptions did. Lucky for UNLV, the Red Wolves do not have the same defensive coordinator this year. Instead, they have one who gave up 37 points to SMU in their first game. The new defensive coordinator, David Duggan, is now the interim head coach, with permanent Head Coach Blake Anderson on leave after his wife passed away at 49 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. 

Both sides are hungry for this ‘W’, but UNLV knows they dropped this game last year and it was their fault. On the flip side, the Red Wolves have some extra fight in them for their head coach this time around. 

The Rebels are hungrier than ever before to get to a bowl game, and this is one game that many people think they should win, even with the point spread at one in favor of Arkansas State. After Armani Rogers and running back Charles Williams had three touchdowns a piece, five being by rush, against Southern Utah, the run game set the tone last week, and you should expect the Rebels to try to do something similar against Arkansas State. However, with Arkansas State coming off a game in which they had five tackles for a loss, it might not be so easy to do that. Those 5 TFL’s were against a decent SMU Mustangs offensive line. However, the Red Wolves managed only one sack. With the Rebels having a good offensive line, (zero sacks allowed) the passing game should be on point, especially with a confident Rogers coming off of a game in which he threw the ball 17 times and completed 11 of his passes. He had a game where he felt like he could trust his receivers a little more, with true freshman wide receiver Steve Jenkins going up for a 49-yard reception. He has athletic receivers and should be able to throw to them, even with Darreon Jackson in the secondary for Arkansas State, who had one interception against SMU and returned it for 51-yards. That was his first career interception.

In the latter part of the Rebels‘ last game, UNLV got a little sloppy and allowed a touchdown to Southern Utah‘s backup quarterback in garbage time. Arkansas State is not to be taken lightly. They might have lost by seven (37-30) to SMU, but their quarterback, Logan Bonner, went 32-50 for 324 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.  The Rebels cannot afford to allow Bonner to do that tomorrow, especially with three receivers with 8+ receptions. Wide receiver Omar Bayless, for example, had ten receptions for 132 yards and four touchdowns. Brandon Bowling had 12 receptions for 92 yards, and their third receiver, Jonathan Adams Jr., had eight receptions for 84 yards. What UNLV has to do is pressure Bonner. He had a couple of fumbles including a lost one. If UNLV can have Rayshad Jackson, Vic Viramontes, Farrell Hester and others apply that pressure, the Rebels should come out on top. With this being Bonner’s second career start, getting in his head will be key to cause mental mistakes such as fumbles. With the way the Rebels played the other night against Southern Utah, that should not be a problem.

In summary, the Rebels’ defense needs to stay in starting quarterback Logan Bonner’s face all night. QB Armani Rogers needs to continue doing what he did against Southern Utah by managing the game and getting the ball to his weapons. Finally, UNLV needs to manage the mental mistakes and not beat themselves. If they do all that then the Rebels should come out on top. If not, it will be a rough night for UNLV.



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*Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics