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UNLV vs. Hawaii: Three keys for a Rebels victory

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UNLV looking for its first road win of the season in Honolulu

UNLV v San Diego State Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Well, at this point in the season, it’s hard not to think, is 2-4 really all that bad for Rebel football?

From an array of injuries to different position groups and what seemed like a QB dilemma before UNLV’s lackluster performance against San Diego State, the Rebels are having themselves a jumbled season.

Their two wins couldn’t have been played any better while their four losses still show some significant disconnect between the offense and defense. The Rebels are 0-3 on the road while the Rainbow Warriors are 2-0 at Aloha Stadium and 10-2 all-time against UNLV in Honolulu.

What’s it going to take for the Rebels to get their first road win?

UNLV defense vs. Dru Brown

UNLV isn’t going to be the only one with a mobile quarterback in this match up, as Hawaii’s Dru Brown is having an impressive showing off his first two career starts. Against Nevada and San Jose State, Brown has passed for 509 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

For the season, Brown has 714 yards but the sophomore QB isn’t afraid to run the ball either. He had an impressive 62-yard TD run against San Jose State and behind that veteran offensive line, UNLV’s defense needs to find ways to slow Brown down, both on land and in the air.

Ball-security

Hawaii’s defense has been an absolute shutout these past two games. Against Nevada, UH recorded four sacks and another six sacks and three interceptions against San Jose State.

UNLV on the other hand, showed one of the worst offensive performances in the Sanchez-era in their 26-7 loss at San Diego State. Freshman quarterback Dalton Sneed completed just two passes for nine yards and an interception. Expect Hawaii to bring the same defensive pressure and physicality that the Aztecs did. UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez recently stated that Sneed and junior Kurt Palandech will be splitting time going forward so it’ll be interesting to see how the Rebels confront their offensive woes against an 87th-ranked passing defense.

Rush attack

Given all of the season-ending injuries to UNLV’s wide receivers and Hawaii’s 116th-ranked rush defense, the Rebels need to rely on running backs Lexington Thomas and Charles Williams to carry a solid workload against the Rainbow Warriors.

Thomas is averaging 83.2 rushing yards per game, ranking sixth in the Mountain West and has had three consecutive 100-yard games on the road at UCLA, Central Michigan and Idaho. In the Rebels last two games, Thomas was limited to a combined 46 yards on 24 carries, so look for the sophomore back to tally some yards behind UNLV’s 17th-ranked rushing attack. Williams should offer some aide too, as the freshman has posted 334 yards and two TDs for the season.