Football Preview: Rebels vs Hawaii

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UNLV was officially eliminated from bowl contention for the 2019 season following the loss to Colorado State. The Rebels fell behind early and could not get back into the game, ultimately losing by 20 points, 37-17. However, the Rebels still have things left to fight for, namely themselves and their teammates. UNLV also have to play for the Freemont Cannon in two weeks, next week it’s the final game at Sam Boyd Stadium and Saturday, the Golden Pineapple.

UNLV is also still playing to get to a 5-7 record, which would be tied for the most wins since head coach Tony Sanchez took over the program in 2015. Ironically, it seems Sanchez is coaching for his job going forward.

Rebels vs Hawaii 

Rebels vs Fresno State UNLV vs Fresno St
Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Their next opponent, Hawaii, also has had question marks at the quarterback position, where backup Cheven Cordeiro started against San Jose State and won the Mountain West Player of the Week. Before last week he has played sparingly in all of the Rainbow Warriors’ games in 2019.

Hawaii Head Coach Nick Rolovich has concerns about former starting quarterback Cole McDonald’s mechanics. Hawaii’s last game was against a 4-6 Spartan team, who has had upsets against Arkansas and at West Point. However, San Jose State didn’t have that type of success against Hawaii, who came out victorious with a 42-40 win in Honolulu, Hawaii. There are three keys to a UNLV victory this weekend. 

The Rebels need to have a balanced offensive attack.

The teams that have had success against Hawaii have passed for roughly 300 of their teams 500 yards of total offense. Boise State passed for 315 yards and rushed for 203 yards while Fresno State passed for 346 yards and ran for 209 yards. These were the blueprints for teams to defeat Hawaii.

rebels vs vanderbilt UNLV footballThese statistics are indicative of the type of gameplan that UNLV will need to come out and execute against the Rainbow Warriors.  It means UNLV running back Charles Williams, who had a week to rest, is looking to inch closer to 1,000 yards this season (he currently has 876 yards entering this week’s game).  Chad Magyar, who had a week to rest an injury that he suffered against Colorado State, will once again be a key factor in the Rebels offense when he is on the field.

Oblad has had an extra week to study game film and get comfortable in the Rebels offense. He will try to continue to distribute the ball to Randal Grimes, Tyleek Collins, Darren Woods Jr., and Stevie Jenkins, giving the Rainbow Warriors more UNLV weapons to scheme for.

UNLV needs to have a balanced gameplan like the teams that beat Hawaii: Boise State, Air Force, Fresno State, and Washington. These teams won by a combined score of 208-121 against a solid 6-4 Hawaii team that started 4-1 before going 2-3 in their last five games.

Rebels vs Hawaii 

The Rebels defense will need to put pressure on the Hawaii QB’s.

The teams that have pressured Hawaii the most, Air Force (four sacks), and Oregon State (three sacks) have kept the game close or won. Air Force won in Hawaii 56-26, while Oregon State narrowly lost by three points, 31-28. The Rebels leading tackler-RayShad Jackson (71 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and four passes defended) has been a force to be reckoned with in the offensive backfield of opposing teams. He is the Rebels’ most complete linebacker and can also drop into coverage just as easy as attacking a running back at the point or of rushing the quarterback. 

 

New UNLV Football Preview: Rebels vs Hawaii - Week 10
Photo credit: NBC Sports

Jackson will look to continue his tear through the conference against Hawaii, but so will middle linebacker-Ferrell Hester II, who has had 61 tackles to his name, including one where he came out of nowhere to give UNLV a chance to win against San Diego State. Putting this type of pressure will provide the Rebels with a fighting chance that they need to get to win number three.

Linebacker Gabe McCoy and defensive back Bryce Jackson also tie the team lead with two sacks to their name. Fifth-year senior linebacker-Javin White will also be helping to put a quick end to the Hawaii game as he leads the team with two interceptions on the season, and with eight interceptions in his career.

Rebels vs Hawaii 

The third goal for the Rebels is to respect defensive back-Khoury Bethley and defensive lineman-Kaimana Padello. 

The UNLV offensive line, which has performed better since the Rebels shuffled it earlier in the season, will need to stop Kaimana Padello as he leads the Rainbow Warriors with two sacks and is the most agile guy on Hawaii’s defensive line. Oblad needs to be able to stand tall in the pocket and not get flustered, panic, and throw balls up for grabs when he faces a pass rush or blitz. He also has to be careful throwing at defensive back-Ikem Okeke, who leads the team with three interceptions.

Another defensive back to keep an eye on is Kai Kaneshiro, who has two interceptions for the Rainbow Warriors this season, one of which he returned 55-yards for a touchdown. Even though the Rebels will need to have a balanced attack, a lot rests on the arm of Oblad to execute the gameplan. He has to complete passes early and get the wide receivers involved early so the Rebels running game can open and be effective. If Hawaii can play only one facet of the UNLV offense, it is going to be a long day for Oblad and Co.

When Oblad throws, he also needs to be accurate and on time with his balls. If there is not anyone open, sometimes running for a few yards or throwing the ball away and out of bounds is the best option, and against this Rainbow Warrior defense, who has six total interceptions to its resume, will be the right decision to make for the young quarterback.

Rebels vs Fresno State

Finally, even though defensive back-Khoury Bethley has no sacks and only one pass defense on the season, he still leads the team in tackles with 48 and had five tackles against UNLV in 2018. With this in mind, Oblad and his receivers need to identify Bethley early when getting to the line of scrimmage.

The UNLV Football Rebels will open their second-to-last football game at Sam Boyd Stadium against Hawaii on Saturday, November 16th, at 1:00 PM PST. This game will also be the last time the Rebels will play the Rainbow Warriors at Sam Boyd Stadium. If the Rebels can manage to beat Hawaii, they will also take home the Golden Pineapple Trophy for the second time in three years after losing it in 2018.

UNLV, overall, holds a losing record to Hawaii (12-16), which dates back to 1969. The last ten games have been decided by ten points or less, with five of them being one-score games.

.Rebels vs Hawaii 

 

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Kalin Sokell

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Rebels vs Hawaii