Who: UNLV Rebels (3-8, 2-5 MW) vs Wyoming Cowboys (1-10, 1-6 MW)
When: Saturday, November 28, 2015, 11:00 AM PST
Where: Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyoming
Final game of 2015 and the Rebels are favored!
1. Score 30 points
Did I just oversimplify this thing? Perhaps, but it's worth noting that this Wyoming Cowboys team hasn't scored 30 points all season. Their top effort was the 29 they put up in a loss to Eastern Michigan on September 12th. UNLV on the other hand has a top tier MWC offense (assuming there are two tiers). At Tuesday's press conference, head coach Tony Sanchez said he expects senior quarterback Blake Decker to start. This should be a relief for Rebels fans. UNLV can beat Wyoming with Kurt Palandech under center, but these teams are much more evenly matched if Decker is not on the field. Sanchez said both quarterbacks will play, but you can bet that if the ball is in the air, it came out of Decker's hand. An explosive offense effort is not needed to outlast the Cowboys, and UNLV has enough weapons to jump out in front and stay out in front.
2. No down(Hill) running
Quietly, Wyoming's Brian Hill is second in the MWC in yards per game on the ground, behind only San Jose State's Tyler Ervin. Yes, his 122 yards per contest even bests San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey (119.1). While Hill has only found the end zone 5 times in 11 games, he accounts for nearly 40% of the Cowboys offense. Three times this season he has topped the 200 yard plateau and his 201 rushing yards on October 30th against Utah State is the third-best single game performance on the ground in league play this season. Cowboys quarterback Cameron Coffman has shown flashes of brilliance this season, he threw for 366 yards and 4 touchdowns against New Mexico and completed 18 of 20 passes against Nevada, Wyoming's lone win of 2015. That said, after a two game absence, he came out flat in his last game against San Diego State, and a competent defensive effort by the UNLV secondary should allow the Rebels to focus on Hill.
3. Stay interested
More oversimplification. For some, UNLV's season can be summed up as a disappointment. 4-8 overall is hardly headline making news, but when Tony Sanchez took over this was a tractionless program with little to no direction. They've already beaten the Vegas prediction of two wins, and the Fremont Cannon is back at UNLV. The win/loss totals won't show it, but UNLV has played opponents closely in more games than anyone expected. The San Jose State game ended in an overtime loss and the Rebels were within a touchdown of Boise State in the fourth quarter. This UNLV team has exceeded the expectations of most, and a convincing win on Saturday could go a long way to showing that Tony Sanchez is the future of Rebels football, and the future is bright.