Washington State (1-1) at UNLV (0-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, September 14, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sam Boyd Stadium (36,800) -- Las Vegas, Nevada.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: WSU 0-1, UNLV 0-2. Away Record: WSU 1-0, UNLV
0-0. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, UNLV 0-0.
Series Record: Washington State leads, 5-0.
GAME NOTES: The third of four straight home games to kick off the 2012
campaign takes place on Friday night for the UNLV Rebels, as they host the
Washington State Cougars in non-conference action at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Owners of one of the longest losing streaks in the nation at seven games, the
Rebels could easily be 2-0 on the season. In the opener the team went to
overtime against Minnesota before bowing to the Golden Gophers in a 30-27
final, and then last Saturday the squad squandered a two-touchdown lead en
route to a 17-14 setback versus FCS foe Northern Arizona.
As for the Cougars, they picked up their first win of the season last weekend
when they slipped by Eastern Washington at the newly refurbished Martin
Stadium in a 24-20 final. The victory, while against a member of the Football
Championship Subdivision, evened the team's record at 1-1 after having lost to
BYU in the opener, 30-6.
The Cougars have never lost to UNLV (5-0), thrashing the Rebels in last year's
matchup by a score of 59-7.
In front of the first home opener sellout at Martin Stadium since 1952, the
Cougars managed to make 24 first-half points stand up against the Eagles as
the WSU offense disappeared after the break, turning the ball over on
consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter which allowed EWU to close the
Starting quarterback Jeff Tuel threw a pair of TD passes to Isiah Myers, the
signal-caller finishing 20-of-26 for 171 yards while being sacked three times.
Carl Winston added 67 yards rushing and one TD on the ground for the hosts as
they surrendered close to 500 yards of total offense to Eastern Washington.
On a positive note, there was a stretch for the WSU defense when it forced
five punts and picked off two passes during seven straight Eagles possessions.
Unfortunately, the pass defense overall still needs to be cleaned up for the
Cougars because giving up 341.0 ypg, last in the Pac-12 Conference and 110th
nationally this week, is still a far cry from the 252.4 ypg allowed last
Another area of concern for Washington State lies in the team's inability to
effectively run the ball, averaging a meager 51.5 ypg which is again last in
the conference and 117th in the country. Then again, the Cougars had similar
issues last year when they managed to produce just 100.2 ypg which was 111th
in the country.
Like the Cougars, UNLV was the aggressor early on in their game against NAU
over the weekend, but the Rebels could not keep the pressure on against the
Lumberjacks and eventually allowed the game-winning field goal to be converted
with just 12 seconds remaining in regulation. Running back Tim Cornett
finished with a career-best 141 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries while
quarterback Nick Sherry converted 16-of-29 passes for 239 yards in the losing
Kicker Nolan Kohorst was given just one field goal attempt in the meeting and
missed a 30-yard effort in the fourth quarter which could have changed the
entire complexion of the final period and quite possibly the outcome
Searching for a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing outcome, the
Rebels managed to hold the Lumberjacks scoreless through the first half on
Saturday, the first time UNLV has turned that trick since the 2008 campaign.
Through the first two games of the season, the defense for the Rebels has been
somewhat successful, giving up 383.0 ypg and 23.5 ppg which rank the squad
64th and 65th in the nation, respectively. It might not sound like that great
of an effort, but taking a look at last year's numbers it is clear that UNLV
has put a premium on tighter defense.
Only once in 2011 did UNLV manage to hold an opponent to less than three
touchdowns and three times gave up at least 50 points, leading to 40.4 ppg for
the opposition which meant the Rebels ranked 118th in the country in that
Forget the fact that Washington State has never lost to the Rebels, or that
the Cougars trounced UNLV in last year's meeting because the hosts for this
week's game actually have the potential to turn in a much better effort. As
long as the UNLV offense can show up for an entire 60 minutes there a good
chance the Rebels could pull this one out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 23, Washington State 20
09/12 10:35:30 ET