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UNLV/Wyoming Preview

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Rebels at Cowboys

NCAA Football: Wyoming at UNLV
The Cowboys start off conference play against the UNLV Rebels on Saturday.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time:

Saturday, September 28th at 6:00 PM (Mountain) on ESPNU

The History:

These MWC teams have met 23 times. Wyoming is 12-11 against UNLV. The teams last met in Las Vegas in 2016. That was a crazy game that ended 69-66, UNLV.

The Matchup:

On offense, Wyoming will run the ball. Luckily for Wyoming, Valladay should be back at RB after missing some time with an injury. Unfortunately, Trey Smith, who carried the load at RB while Valladay was out, is now on crutches and will likely miss most of the rest of the season. Also battling injuries are Logan Harris and Alonzo Velazquez along the OL. Having said that, this Wyoming offense that is battling injuries should have a favorable match-up this week. UNLV has the 98th ranked rushing defense in the country. The Cowboys have really struggled in the passing game this year, so Wyoming will likely try and attack the Rebels on the ground with the combination of Chambers and Valladay.

On the defensive side, Wyoming is banged up in the secondary. Beyond that, Allen Smith, a freshman DB, was suspended indefinitely this week, and two more Wyoming DBs were arrested Wednesday for a traffic violation (no suspensions have been announced). If you add to all of this that Wyoming has struggled the most defensively against the passing game this year, the Cowboys appear pretty vulnerable. However, Wyoming appears to be getting another favorable match-up this week. UNLV ranks 121st in passing offense. UNLV is a run-heavy team that ranks 23rd in the country in rushing offense. Currently, Wyoming ranks 18th in rushing defense.

The Outcome:

The spread has Wyoming by 9.5. I think it will actually be closer than that. UNLV is coming off a bye. Wyoming will be limping into this game due to injuries and suspensions. On paper, I think that the match-ups are favorable for the Cowboys. I expect UNLV will push Wyoming, but the Cowboys will come out on top at home.

UNLV 20, Wyoming 27