In September, October and for most of November practically none of us that this game, between Hawaii and UNLV, would be a matchup of future conference teams. Hawaii has been good over the years, just not regularly Top 25 good. It turned out that Hawaii actually is that good, with them now being part of a three way tie with Boise State and Nevada atop the WAC and them also being on the fringe of being ranked. Hawaii is going to be a good member that helps bring the MWC respect in the future, but right now, Hawaii has a very good football team that looks like it will do to UNLV what everyone else has done - demolish it.
On the other side of the spectrum we see the usual struggling football program at UNLV, barely making it to two wins so far on the season. Although the team has shown that it is a very bad football team, as usual, I think it showed a lot of improvement over the season. But UNLV still has another beating to receive before it finishes out yet another disappointing season. UNLV brings the conference disrespect as when we point out how much depth the conference points out to haters, they are quick to point out that CSU, UNLV and New Mexico are all absolutely atrocious.
Hawaii's high powered passing offense has destroyed defenses all season-long, and that's typical of a Hawaii offense. Hawaii's star Wide Receiver, Greg Salas has been blowing by cornerbacks all season long and don't expect him to be stopped here. He has gone against many good cornerbacks all season long and even though Will Chandler is good at forcing turnovers, he's not that good. All Hawaii has to do to be successful against the UNLV defense is do what they've been doing all season - pass the football.
Due to the fast paced offense that Hawaii runs, their opponents all season have been able to put up 20+ points regularly, even during blowouts. But contrary to popular belief, Hawaii's defense is actually respectable. But if the Hawaii defense doesn't want to be the one responsible for a shootout, they are going to have to focus on stopping Tim Cornett. UNLV has used him extensively this season and he has had a lot of success. When he gets going, the passing game opens up and UNLV's offense is able to thrive for at least a few drives and get a couple of scores out of it.
The UNLV offense. Stagnant, horrible, disgusting. These are just a few words describe what the offense has looked like for most of the season. It turns out that UNLV's offense has looked good in three games this season - New Mexico, Wyoming, and yes, Air Force. In the New Mexico and Wyoming game, UNLV got their points off of big plays, but in the Air Force game they played a card they hadn't played yet, they ran the football and they ran it well. Twice in the first half they ran 15 play drives that resulted in a field goal and a touchdown.
Tim Cornett was the real reason for that actually working, he was patient and ran downhill. It seemed like it was paying off until Air Force woke up and won that game... But the key for the Rebels is simple, run the ball, but change up how you run. In the second half, Air Force basically figured out where we were going to run and flew 2-3 defenders to there. If we can mix up that playcalling and get some misdirections and such going, then we could have a legitimate chance of keeping this one close.
The UNLV defense is unfortunately being shown an illusion. Hawaii is known for their potent passing attack, but in reality, they also have the ability to run well. They just don't use it often because they normally don't have to. UNLV's gameplan on defense probably consists of stopping the pass, but that's not the only thing needed to stop this offense. Unfortunately, only stopping the pass will just allow the running game to flow well, thus opening the passing game. The offense just seems to be unstoppable from my point of view, but that's just mine and I'm sure Boise State and Colorado (Who both held Hawaii's offense to 7 and 10 points respectively) might have something to say about that.
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