Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

New FSM Preview: UNLV vs Nevada – Week 9

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Rebels (0-7)  |  Nevada Wolfpack (5-2)



It is rival game week for the UNLV Rebels as they are set to travel upstate into Reno, Nevada to take on their bitter rivals, the Nevada Wolfpack, in the annual matchup between the two Nevada teams.


Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The prized possession at stake, the Fremont Cannon, has been under UNR’s control since their victory over UNLV in last year’s matchup. This year, the Rebels are looking to take the cannon right back to Las Vegas. Nevada leads the all time series against the Rebels 28-18, including winning the very first matchup between the schools in 1969. The Wolfpack also hold the longest winning streak of the rivalry, winning and maintaining possession of the cannon for eight straight years from 2005-2012.

The odds opened up favoring the Wolfpack at -20.5 with the game spread being at 58.5, making UNLV the underdogs for the eighth time in as many games this season. This game is going to be the biggest challenge the Rebels have faced since September, not only with possession of the cannon at stake, but also the chance at the season’s first win will have to come on UNR’s turf.

Clearly the Rebels have solved their quarterback carousel for the time being as it appears they will continue to go with Cam Friel moving forward. With this commitment, Friel will need to step up his passing yards production from 150.4 yards per game so far. The Wolfpack are averaging over 379 passing yards per game this season, third best in college football. Based on Wolfpack quarterback Carson Strong’s near-2,100 yard season to date, UNR will likely spend a lot of time in the air in this game, which means Friel may need to take some more shots with the ball in order to take advantage of the Wolfpack’s 25.0 points against average on the season.

UNLV running back Charles Williams has had a strong month of October to account for a strong season to this point, currently rushing for 493 yards on 117 carries with four touchdowns, including three against Utah State. Williams will need to bring some more of that fire power to the game and find a way to get past a Wolfpack defense that has given up 143.6 rushing yards per game, ranked 60th in college football, but only gives up an average of 4.2 yards per carry.


Another thing the Rebels will need to do is to get the ball to their best receivers.


Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Steve Jenkins and Kyle Williams each have at least 20 catches on the season, combining for 563 yards and three touchdowns. Not only does Friel need a big passing game to match the passing game of UNR, the Jenkins and Williams tandem will need to make some serious noise throughout the game and torch the Nevada defense.

The UNLV defense will need to get some stops against the UNR offense. UNR averages 35.7 points per game on the season with a 45.3% conversion rate on third down, while UNLV has given up 33.9 points per game with a conversion allowance on third downs of 45%. These stats would play into Nevada’s wheelhouse, which makes it important for the Rebels defense to step up and try to contain the 21st-ranked offense in college football.

The Rebels will also need to generate momentum in this game by controlling the time of possession. Going up against a difficult and high-scoring offense means the Rebels defense will need to hit hard and hit often, as well as allow the offense to keep the Wolfpack offense off the field for as long as possible while controlling the pace of the game and making efficient gains down the field.


The next chapter in the UNLV and Nevada rivalry kicks off in Reno, Nevada on Friday at 7:00. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network and will be live on ESPN Las Vegas 100.9 FM and 1100 AM radio.


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Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

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