2020 will mark a new era of UNLV Football. Not only are the Rebels getting a new head coach, Marcus Arroyo, they are moving into Allegiant Stadium on the strip and the year will mark the first full season in its new training facility, the Fertitta Football Complex.
UNLV hopes to turn the page after another disappointing decade. The Rebels finished the decade with a 35-89 record. Even though the decade did not go the way they want, there were still some highlights. Here are the five best moments from UNLV Football this past decade.
5. 2013: Rebels ends eight-game losing streak against Wolf Pack
The biggest game on UNLV’s schedule is the matchup with that team up north, UNR. Along with getting the Fremont Cannon and painting it the colors of the school, comes bragging rights between the states’ two largest four-year public universities. At the beginning of the 2010’s, UNR had plenty to brag about. The Wolf Pack entered 2013 with an eight-game winning streak over the Rebels, but streaks are meant to be broken.
UNLV entered the fourth quarter down 16-14. Seniors Tim Cornett, with a nine-yard rush, and Caleb Herring, with an 11-yard pass, gave UNLV two late scores to get the lead and win the game, 27-22. The Rebels regained the Fremont Cannon for the first time since 2004 and were able to lay a fresh coat of scarlet and gray on it.
4. 2016: UNLV announces move to new Raiders Stadium
The 2010’s was a big decade for Las Vegas sports. One of the biggest moments was when the Oakland Raiders announced they would move from Oakland to Las Vegas. With that move came a new stadium, and a new home for UNLV Football. The Rebels played their final full season at Sam Boyd Stadium, their home since 1971, in 2019.
UNLV officially will call Allegiant Stadium home in 2020. The stadium will be an upgrade from Sam Boyd Stadium. Even though it is on the strip, it is much closer to campus. UNLV has scheduled some quality non-conference opponents in the stadium. There is a lot of excitement around the program about playing in an NFL stadium, and it should help UNLV in recruiting and in the national spotlight.
3. 2018: 23-point deficit erased against UNR
2018 was supposed to be the year, like many years in the past were ‘supposed to be,” that UNLV broke out and got to a bowl game. But, they didn’t. A set back for UNLV was the injury to Armani Rogers, who missed six total games with a foot injury. With the season a wash, the Rebels found themselves playing for pride in the final game of the season.
UNR came out and punched UNLV in the mouth, and the Rebels were down 23-0 early in the second quarter. Then, back from injury, Rogers answered the call and lead the Rebels back. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for two to give UNLV the lead. On defense, Javin White had two interceptions in the fourth quarter to seal the deal for UNLV, as the Rebels won 34-29.
2. 2019: Fertitta Football Complex Finally Opens
For a long time, UNLV worked out of the Lied Athletic Complex, which they shared with many other UNLV teams. Now, thanks to the vision of former head coach Tony Sanchez, the Rebels have their own facility. Sanchez raised all the funding needed to complete the project, due to his relationship with the Fertitta family from his time at Bishop Gorman.
It officially opened on October 3rd, after multiple delays. This brings the Rebels up to par with other Division 1 schools and should help them in recruiting. There are all sorts of amenities, such as a barber shop, a weight room, and nutrition tables.
1. 2013: Rebels play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl
This was a clear and obvious choice for number one. 2013 was the 36th season of UNLV Football at Division 1, and the Rebels had only made three bowl games prior to the season. It was the fourth season for head coach Bobby Hauck, who had won six total games in his previous three seasons. And with the help of a senior backfield, the Rebels got back to a bowl game for the first time in 13 years.
Herring guided UNLV to a 7-5 record, its best since 2000. With all the highlights of the season, the bowl game did not end the way the Rebels wanted. They faced an 8-4 North Texas team from Conference USA. UNLV entered the fourth quarter down 14-7, but the Mean Green put up 22 points in the last quarter to win 36-14.
Honorable Mention: 2019 UNLV vs UNR
On Monday, before the final game of the 2019 season, UNLV announced Tony Sanchez would no longer be the coach. But, his players made sure Sanchez would go out a winner. Playing for their coach, UNLV jumped out at a 17-0 lead. The Wolf Pack came back and forced overtime. After a key third down stop and defense forced a UNR field goal, Kenyon Oblad found Steve Jenkins down the middle of the field to win the game.
UNLV won the Fremont Cannon for the third time in five years and gave Sanchez one final memory as coach of the Rebels. More drama ensued after the game with multiple players getting into fights and people in the stands getting involved. The Mountain West handed down penalties to players on both teams. After this most recent game, do not expect the rivalry to quiet down any time soon.
Now, the program is in Marcus Arroyo’s hands. Hopefully, he can make plenty of memories in the future. Did I miss any moments? Any shifting of the order? Let me know in the comments on the article or on Twitter.