UNLV vs San Jose State

UNLV vs Nevada

https://franchisesportsmedia.com

Rivalry Week- Battle for the Fremont Cannon

What a week it was for UNLV, their head football coach, his staff, the athletic director, and most importantly the team.

The UNLV Football team comes into this year’s rivalry game, having won two out of four Fremont Cannon’s in the Tony Sanchez era, which is coming to a close. Prior to Sanchez taking over the Rebels football program, UNLV had won the cannon once in ten years. Head Coach Tony Sanchez was relieved of his head coaching duties last Friday morning by Atheltic Director Desiree Reed-Francois, who made the news public on Monday, November 25th. Sanchez was allowed to coach the Rebels last games of the year, last week versus San Jose State, and this week vs. UNR.

unlv vs SJSU

The last game of the season is always the Battle for the Fremont Cannon against UNR. If coach Sanchez wins this game, he will move his final record at UNLV to 20-40, including a 3-2 in the Rebels’ rivalry game.

UNLV comes in with a record of 3-8 after defeating San Jose State in the final game at Sam Boyd Stadium, which was UNLV’s first and only victory in the Mountain West Conference. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is bowl eligible standing at 7-4, including 4-3 in the Mountain West, and looking to get the Fremont Cannon back after blowing a 23 point lead last year in Las Vegas.

If UNLV wants to have a chance to win this game, the final game as a team led out by Tony Sanchez; then, they will need to focus on not getting overly emotional and remaining poised throughout the game. On defense, they also need to keep quarterback Carson Strong out of the endzone. Finally, they need to stop running back Toa Taua and the Wolfpack running game.

First, with the distraction and job speculation that was surrounding head coach Sanchez all season, it should help that UNLV has now made a decision, and the players now know where things stand. The players can now focus on winning their final game and not worry about the drama surrounding the program. In recent weeks it was starting to become a distraction to some of the players and staff. Players were wondering to each other privately what was going to happen, and coaches were equally as concerned regarding their job status.

For UNLV to beat UNR, the players will need to focus in on the game and stay the course.

As much as players might have been telling the media that the team was not worried about the coaching situation and instead focusing on keeping the cannon scarlet, privately, they were concerned about the staff. Players also said to me on multiple occasions this week that they want to send coach Sanchez and the seniors out a winner. This year’s Rebels team can’t afford to let the Wolfpack lead by 23 at any point, like last season at Sam Boyd.

This Rebels team isn’t built that way. The 2019 Rebels have seemed to crumble under pressure, and it feels like all momentum and belief are lost when they face adverse situations. Go back to the way the team reacted when Colorado State returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown; the team seemed to give up at that point.  Head Coach Tony Sanchez said in his regularly scheduled Monday presser that he came away from last year with the sense that the team cannot fall behind in games like that this season.

UNLV will also need to keep quarterback Carson Strong out of the endzone.

Strong will be starting for the Wolfpack, and it seems rather elementary to say “keep them out the end zone,” but it is indeed the case. In games that he has led the UNR to victory, Strong has passed for nine touchdowns compared to three interceptions. In losses, Strong’s touchdown-to-interception ratio decreases to no TD’s and four interceptions showing that when a team keeps Strong out of the endzone, the opposing team will most likely win.

Middle Linebacker Farrell Hester II, linebacker Javin White, defensive backs Jericho Flowers and Aaron Lewis are all tasked with keeping Strong and his offense out of the endzone. Lewis particularly has impressed as of late, allowing minimal passes completed in his direction while causing a fumble and providing sure tackling over the last couple of games. The defense also needs to put pressure on the quarterback and give him no room to throw the football. Seniors RayShad Jackson and Gabe McCoy, both of whom have done a great job in recent weeks, will also help with this if the Rebels plan on keeping Strong in check.

Finally, even if running back Toa Taua’s statistics do not point to victories, the Rebels will still need to key in on him. 

The Wolfpack started three quarterbacks this season: Strong, Cristian Solano, and Malik Henry. Whenever the quarterbacks have failed to perform for the Wolfpack, the coaching staff turns to Taua, and the other running backs to pick up the slack, which they have done more times than not.

Taua did this against San Jose State when starter Malik Henry threw two interceptions in the game. Eventually, Taua ended the game with 34 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown. Reno won 41-38. Backup running back Devonte Lee also added two touchdowns on ten carries.

This is significant, because just like the last two weeks when UNLV has managed to intercept both Hawaii quarterback Cheven Cordeiro and San Jose State quarterback Josh Love two or more times, the run game was there to pick up the slack. It was especially true in the Hawaii game when the Rainbow Warriors took Cordeiro out of the game and inserted Cole McDonald, who subsequently ran for 49 yards on nine carries to go along with two touchdowns on the ground. He added another 211 yards through the air.

In summary, the Rebels need to keep their emotions in check, keep quarterback Carson Strong out of the endzone by applying pressure, and be able to stop the run game. If you can do all this, especially limiting Strong’s effectiveness in this game, the Rebels stand a chance to keep the cannon scarlet.

The Rebels final game of the season will appear on AT&T Sportsnet. Come by the UNLV watch party at Al’s Garage in Summerlin, located at 11760 W Charleston Blvd,  where Franchise Sports Media is hosting it once again. The Battle for the Fremont Cannon is scheduled to kick-off at noon PST on Saturday, November, 30th.

unlv vs nevada battle for the fremont cannon

unlv vs nevada battle for the fremont cannon

http://twitter.com/2WinKalin

http://twitter.com/TheFranchiseLV

http://facebook.com/TheFranchiseLV

http://instagram.com/TheFranchiseLV

unlv vs nevada battle for the fremont cannon

unlv vs nevada battle for the fremont cannon

unlv vs nevada battle for the fremont cannon