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Rebels release 2020 schedule, announce plan for fans

We will have UNLV football this year, possibly with fans, and Charles Williams is named a semifinalist for another award.

Boise State v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

UNLV, along with the rest of the teams in the Mountain West Conference, released its revised schedule for the abbreviated 2020 season. The Marcus Arroyo era begins October 24 against San Diego State in Carson, California and they will play an eight-game conference-only schedule through the week of December 12 when they finish their season at Hawaii.

Here is the full schedule, with the dates after week one subject to change due to the television contract:

October 24 at San Diego State (in Carson, CA)

October 31 UNR

November 7 FRESNO STATE

November 14 at San Jose State

November 21 at Colorado State

November 28 WYOMING

December 5 BOISE STATE

December 12 at Hawai’i

December 19 MW Championship Game

Home Games in BOLD

The Rebels will make their Allegiant Stadium debut on October 31, Nevada Day, against their rival from up north, the Nevada Wolf Pack. UNLV will play the same eight conference teams they were slated to play in their original 2020 schedule.

The Boise State game will now be played in Las Vegas, after originally being scheduled to be at Boise State, and the Rebels will not travel to Fort Collins to play Colorado State after the game was originally supposed to be in Las Vegas.

UNLV will still play all five of its Mountain Division members even though there will be no divisions this year and the top two teams based on conference winning percentage will be in the Championship Game.

Four of UNLV’s games will feature teams with new head coaches, which could level the playing field a bit for the Rebels as they navigate their season with first year head coach Arroyo.

Given the uncertainty that has surrounded this season and lost time teams have from not having a full spring and summer practice, that also levels the playing field for UNLV and gives them a slightly better chance to win some games.

At first glance of the schedule, the Rebels have a difficult challenge ahead of them if they want to reach the .500 mark. Both San Diego State and Fresno State should be improved this year and getting Boise State again is a tough draw. Wyoming will also be a tough opponent for UNLV after they beat them in Wyoming last year, but the Rebels will have the benefit of playing them at home.

UNLV has beaten UNR the last two years and they bring back nearly the same team as last year. They also had close games against Hawaii, a 21-7 loss, and San Jose State, a 38-35 win, so those games could go either way. And then there is Colorado State who demolished the Rebels in Fort Collins, but with new coach Steve Addazio and what is going on in that program during the pandemic, it is unsure what the Rams will look like this season.

It is hard to tell what the teams will look like without a full offseason to see what each team has. But, given the bizarre circumstances surrounding this year, we should expect the unexpected, including the possibility the Rebels have a winning season in Arroyo’s first year.

Rebels might have fans

On Tuesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak lifted restrictions on public gatherings, which could allow a 10 percent capacity at venues. Meaning, that UNLV could host a maximum of 6,500 people in the 65,000 seat Allegiant Stadium.

Just after the announcement was made by Sisolak, UNLV Athletics released a plan that could allow the Rebels to have fans at Allegiant Stadium, if the plan is approved. Fans will have to wear masks, and follow social distancing and other safety protocols. Tickets will be sold on a game-by-game basis.

“We appreciate Governor Sisolak and his staff’s work on this new directive,” said UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois in a press release. “The health and safety of everyone involved — whether on the field or in the stands — is our primary concern and as prescribed in the Governor’s Directive 033, we will submit our plans to the Southern Nevada Health District and then to the state’s Department of Business & Industry for approval.”

“As Governor Sisolak shared,” Reed-Francois continued, “let’s all continue to promote personal responsibility and follow the important safety protocols, including wearing our masks, so that we can remain healthy, safe and continue the positive trajectory.”

Members of the Rebel Athletic Fund and current season ticket holders will have priority on purchasing tickets. 2020 football season ticket holders still have the options of deferring their payment to 2021, donating their money for 2020 to the Rebel Athletic Fund, or requesting a refund. Other information, such as prices for individual game tickets will be announced at a later date.

Williams named semifinalist for Campbell Trophy

Charles Williams compiled over 1,200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season in his junior year, and his performance on the field has earned him the recognition he deserves.

On Thursday, Williams was named one of the 85 semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy. The nation’s top football scholar athlete is awarded the trophy for their one field performance, academic success, and leadership.

Williams is also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and Walker Award. He was also named to the 2020 Preseason All-Mountain West Team. Williams was the fourth Rebel to win the Mountain West regular season rushing title last year and he is only 555 rushing yards away from being the fourth Rebel to reach 3,000 career rushing yards.