UNLV Football Preview Week 6 – Rebels vs Vanderbilt



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UNLV marches into a war against the Commodores on Saturday, October, 12th when they kick-off against Vanderbilt at 1:00 PM. This match-up is the first battle between the two teams in their history, and it comes when both teams are 1-4 and winless in their conference. Vanderbilt’s lone win came at home against Northern Illinois, as they won 24-18 while the Rebels won on opening night at Sam Boyd Stadium 56-23 over Southern Utah.

The Rebels starting quarterback Kenyon Oblad is back at it, and a lot will rest in his hands as teams have managed to throw for a combined 15 touchdowns to one interception against Vanderbilt this season. The Commodore defense has given up 300+ yards passing to two quarterbacks this season, 509 to Elijah Sindebar of Purdue and 398 yards to Joe Burrow of LSU. Oblad, however, will need to be a bit more agile against the Commodores.

That was one knock against him in his first career start against Boise State a week ago. Teams have rushed for a combined 175 yards and two touchdowns with their quarterbacks against the Commodores. The dominant player in that stretch was Ole Miss Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who gashed the Vanderbilt defense for 165 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts.

Oblad will not only have to be a runner in this game, but running backs, Charles Williams and Chad Magyar will have to hold down the reins in the backfield. Vanderbilt ranks dead last in the SEC, giving up 211.2 yards per game on the ground, while the next closest SEC team is Kentucky at 171.2 yards per game. Charles Williams still ranks as the 17th leading rusher in the nation 105.8 yards per game and a total of 529 rushing yards on the season.

He had three straight-100 yard games to start the season, but sprained his knee against Wyoming and only had 17 yards. He had 11 carries for 57 yards against a tough Boise State linebacking corps. While Magyar came back from a personal issue and totaled 43 yards on ten carries in his Rebel debut.

Another key for the Rebels in this match-up will be lessening the impact of the linebacker duo Vanderbilt has. The Rebels will need to stop the Commodore’s two stars, Elijah McAllister and Andre Mintze to have a chance to stop the Commodores. McAllister comes into the match-up having already racked up six total tackles, two sacks for -22 yards on the season. Mintze has 11 tackles, 2 sacks for -10 yards on the season. Lessening the impact of these hits will be crucial to the Rebels‘ success in this game, especially since UNLV gave up their fair share of sacks against Boise State.

With Kenyon Oblad back starting, he needs to worry about defensive-back Randall Haynie of Vanderbilt having himself three passes defended, one interception and a defensive touchdown on the season for the Commodores. It will be vital to keeping the Rebels afloat. Oblad needs to get rid of the ball, but also make accurate passes. He was 24/55 passing against Boise State and if he wants to beat Vanderbilt he needs to be more accurate than he was in his first start.

However, there is one familiar face the Commodores will see.  That’s linebacker RayShad Jackson, who said he’s telling UNLV all about them. He faced them while he was in Florida, totaling three solo tackles against the Commodores in 2018. However, his former teammate defensive lineman Malik Langham, who transferred to Vanderbilt from Florida, was just denied immediate eligibility and has to sit out.

Vanderbilt’s big-time player on offense is running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has totaled 87 carries for 467 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He has gone over 100 yards in a game, twice this season, once against Northern Illinois, and the other time against fourth-ranked LSU, where he had 20 carries for 130 yards a couple of scores. He is the only running back to do that against a tough LSU defense who only gives up an average of 81 yards per game on the ground). He has been a receiving threat as well, totaling 16 receptions for 90 yards through the air.

UNLV will have their hands full in this game, but if they are ready to fight it should be a good one. Nevertheless, Vanderbilt is a 15 point favorite.

If you are not traveling to Nashville, please consider coming to Al’s Garage at 11760 West Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89135, for a viewing party with the Franchise Sports Media group. Kick-off is at 1:00 PM PST, and you do not want to miss it, especially with happy hour all-day-long! Did I forget to mention, happy hour is ALL-DAY-LONG?!?

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