UNLV Football Preview Week 8 – Rebels vs Fresno State


Rebels vs Fresno State    Rebels vs Fresno State

Rebels vs Fresno State


UNLV travels to Fresno, California, on Friday to take on the defending Mountain West Champions-Fresno State Bulldogs.

Overall the Bulldogs are 2-3, and the Rebels are 2-4 on the season. The Bulldogs sit just above UNLV (0-2) in the Mountain West-West Division standings at 0-1.  Fresno St. has been competitive against a bad USC team, losing 31-23, and Minnesota, who they only lost to by three points, 38-35 in double OT.

In their lone Mountain West Conference game, the Bulldogs gave up 43 points to an Air Force team that only threw the ball three times, completing two of them for 81 yards and a touchdown. 

On Saturday UNLV gashed Vanderbilt for 206 yards on 53 carries and 2 touchdowns, with 116 yards of that coming from running back Chad Magyar, and 69 coming from starting running back Charles Williams.

The keys to victory for the Rebels are as follows:

Run the ball and defend against the pass.

The largest margin of victory for Fresno State came when the Bulldogs defeated Sacramento State, 34-20, as they held the Hornets to 12 yards on 17 carries. rebels vs vanderbilt UNLV football

The Bulldogs’ worst loss, by 19, came against Air Force when they allowed 340 yards and four touchdowns on 69 carries. This statistic alone should explain the need for UNLV to run. This also is the Rebels’ strength on offense.

The Rebels ran for 331 yards, and seven touchdowns in their first victory over Southern Utah. They also rushed for 206 yards and four touchdowns against Vanderbilt.

UNLV averaged only 136 yards in their four losses. This statistic paints a clear picture of what the Rebels need to do against the Bulldogs to be successful. It is possible to gash the Fresno State defense on the ground, but they have to be committed to running the ball.  

UNLV needs a balanced offense against the Bulldogs.

That being said, The Rebels also have to make sure to mix in the pass. When the Bulldogs lost to Air Force in their biggest loss of the year, the Falcons only had three passes. When the Rebels beat Vanderbilt, UNLV only threw the ball 16 times. UNLV Football Head Coach Tony Sanchez has already stated that he wants quarterback Kenyon Oblad to average throwing 23-25 times in a game with the run setting up the pass as it creates short-yardage situations.

It worked against Vanderbilt as Oblad had two passing touchdowns and no interceptions. “Mixing in the run is useful to alleviate pressure off the rest of the team as it creates short-yardage situations. It means that you have a successful run game, which is a recipe for success and is the Rebel identity,” per head coach Tony Sanchez.

UNLV needs to contain Fresno State starting quarterback Jorge Reyna

Reyna has passed for 1,226 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Against Air Force, he only threw for 209 yards with 2 touchdowns and one interception. In the two competitive games against USC and Minnesota, Reyna threw for an average of 265 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

When Fresno State went off for 34 points against Sacramento State, Reyna completed 28 of 41 passes for 326 yards and a couple of touchdowns with no interceptions.

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The outlier for Fresno State is when the Bulldogs played New Mexico State, and Reyna only threw for 147 yards. Stopping Reyna will be critical in this game. If safety-Myles Plummer, linebackers Javin White and RayShad Jackson, as well as defensive back Jericho Flowers, can hold him in check, then it should be a good day for the Rebels.


The Rebels should keep their eyes on 3 Bulldogs defenders.

Defensive tackle-Kevin Atkins, who has eight solo tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble for the Bulldogs Another defensive player that the Rebels need to keep their eyes on is linebacker Justin Rice who has been all over the field for the Bulldogs with 22 solo tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions on the season.

A third playmaker for the Bulldog defense is defensive back Wylan Free, who has 15 solo tackles and two interceptions on the season. Free has returned one of his interceptions 104 yards for a touchdown. The Bulldogs have some big playmakers on defense, but if Oblad can overcome a pass rush from Kevin Atkins and throw the ball accurately as he did against Vanderbilt (11/16 172 yards, two touchdowns) then it should be a good day for the Rebels, even if they are underdogs by 14.5 points as of October 16th.

This is the same point spread that the Rebels overcame to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Rebels also won against the Bulldogs the last time the two teams faced in Fresno, beating the Bulldogs 26-16 in 2017.

New UNLV Football Preview Week 8 - Rebels vs Fresno State | Franchise Sports Media - The Home of Las Vegas Sports

If you can’t make it out to the game, head to Al’s Garage for the game. There are multiple televisions to watch the game from with happy hour extended throughout the game. Al’s Garage is located at 11760 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135. The game begins at 7:00 PM PST on Friday, October 18th, 2019.

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