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UNLV Preview: Rebels host #24 Oregon State Beavers

Next Game

Oregon St. Beavers
@ UNLV Rebels

Saturday, Sep 12, 2009, 8:00 PM PDT
Sam Boyd Stadium

TV: CBS College Sports

Radio: ESPN Radio 1100

Complete Coverage >

The Rebels will host the No. 24 Oregon State Beavers Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in one of the biggest games the Rebels have ever hosted. The Rebels are 5-23 all-time versus ranked opponents and have not defeated a ranked opponent at home since 1984. The game is not only huge for the Rebels but also for the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels have a chance to knock off a top 25 team.

 It would also give the MWC the credit it deserves knocking off a top Pac-10 opponent. A win will help the Rebels gain the necessary momentum for a tough stretch in their schedule. This game is Oregon State’s first visit to Sam Boyd Stadium to play the Rebels since 1991, when Oregon State lost 23-9. The Beavers played New Mexico State in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2003.

ESPN ranks the Rebels as a seven point underdog going into the game. Oregon State finished last season at 9-4 but are only returning seven starters on offense and three on defense. Running back Jacquizz Rodgersleads the Beavers. Rodgers stands only 5-foot-7 but is a shifty and elusive runner. He finished last season with 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns. Rodgers ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns last week in the Beavers’ win vs. Portland State. Oregon State might be without last year’s top passer Lyle Moevao, who is still recovering from a torn bicep in last seasons bowl game versus Pittsburgh.

 Quarterbacks Sean Canfield and Ryan Katzeach threw for more than 100 yards last week against FCS school Portland State. Receiver James Rodgers, brother of the star running back who also stands at 5-foot-7, is the Beavers top returning pass catcher with 607 yards last season but also finished with 400 on the ground. Rodgers has the big play abilities to take it to the house on the suspect secondary at any point, shown by his 87 yard touchdown catch last week. If the Rebels can exploit the Beavers’ defense, it will be through the secondary, who are returning zero starters.

This unit is even less experienced than the unit that finished #79 in the country in 2005. The Beavers’ starting secondary has a combined total of 11 starts; 4 of those are from last week against Portland State. The Beavers’ strength lies in the linebacker core, which returns two starters from last season. For the Rebels to get a victory against the No. 24 team they must be able to stop both Rodgers brothers, especially Jacquizz on the ground.

The Beavers have won 14 of their last 15 games when one of their players rushed for more 100 yards. The Rebels’ offense musts move the ball and use their great receiving core to take advantage of the inexperienced secondary.