The UNLV Rebels (3-6, 2-3) will travel to face the Colorado State Rams (4-5, 2-3) in a matchup of Mountain West Conference foes Saturday night. Colorado State has won eight of the last ten meetings, including a 33-11 win at home as a 1 point underdog on November 10, 2012 in the most recent matchup between the schools.
UNLV snapped a three game losing skid as they knocked off Hawaii 41-21 at home last Saturday. Colorado State won for the second time in three games with a 26-7 win on the road over Wyoming. Kickoff from Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET; the game will not be televised nationally. Colorado State is currently a 7.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 59 points.
UNLV was up only 14-7 at the half over Hawaii but wore the Rainbow Warriors down in the second half to pull away for the victory. The Rebels dominated the Rainbow Warriors in the total yardage category by a 547-378 margin. UNLV finished with 22 first downs while allowing 16 and held the ball for 36:07 to Hawaii’s 23:53 in the contest; the Rebels forced three Hawaii turnovers to overcome a pair of miscues themselves. UNLV ran for 289 yards in the game on 53 attempts as their commitment to the ground game simply burned out Hawaii’s defense.
The Rebels are 97th in the nation in passing offense as they average 193.8 yards per game through the air while they are 26th in rushing with 209.3 yards per contest. UNLV currently stands tied for 60th in the nation in scoring offense as they score 29.6 points and allow 29.8 points per game, which puts them 87th in the nation in scoring defense. Two UNLV quarterbacks have combined to complete 54.4 percent of their throws for 1,744 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Blake Decker (89 of 157, 1267 yards, seven TD, seven INT, 141 rushing yards, TD) has seen the majority of the reps at quarterback this season. Six players have picked up at least 141 yards on the ground with Keith Whitely (126 carries, 624 yards, 3 TD) and Xzaviar Campbell (68 carries, 344 yards, 5 scores) leading the way; Lexington Thomas contributes 59 carries for 318 yards plus two scores. When UNLV goes to the air to try and move the chains, Devonte Boyd (610 yards, 6 TD) and Kendal Keys (308 yards, TD) are the top two targets; they have 37 and 25 receptions, respectively, to lead the team. Aaron Criswell (16 receptions, 325 yards, 3 TD), Andrew Price (16 grabs, 169 yards, TD) and Whitely (13 receptions out of the backfield) are secondary targets. Nicolai Bornand has hit 32 of 33 extra points and 12 of 14 field goals on the season with a long of 51 yards.
Colorado State led 17-0 after the first quarter and 23-0 at the half; they never looked back the rest of the way. The defense kept Wyoming off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Colorado State outgained Wyoming 348-239, finished with 22 first downs while allowing 14 and held the ball for 37:20 while allowing the Cowboys to have possession for only 22:40 in the game. The Rams forced four Wyoming turnovers while committing only one of their own; Izzy Matthews had a pair of rushing scores in the win.
The Rams are averaging 233 yards per game (currently standing 58th in the nation) through the air while contributing 171.3 yards per game (67th in the nation) on the ground. Colorado State is narrowly outscoring their opposition so far this year despite their losing record as they score 27.9 points per game, which is tied for 77th in the nation in scoring offense; they currently are ranking 66th in scoring defense by allowing 26.6 points per contest. Nick Stevens has completed 149 of 242 passes for 1,811 yards with 15 scores and 10 interceptions while Coleman Key is 21 of 44 for 251 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. Jasen Oden is the team’s leading rusher as he has 130 carries for 574 yards and four touchdowns while Dalyn Dawkins is next in line with 104 carries for 499 yards and two scores; Izzy Matthews has contributed 227 yards and three scores on 49 carries. Six players have double digit receptions for the Rams with Rashard Higgins leading the way with 50 receptions for 667 yards and five scores; Joe Hansley has 21 grabs for 315 yards and five scores while Xavier Williams has 19 catches for 231 yards and two scores. Wyatt Bryan has hit 28 of 30 extra points and 11 of 15 field goals this season with a long of 44.
Colorado State is 5-1 ATS in their last six in November, 4-1-2 ATS in their last seven after allowing less than 170 yards through the air and 7-2 ATS in their last nine after allowing less than 20 points. UNLV is 20-44-4 ATS in their last 68 road games and 4-13 ATS in their last 17 road games against teams with a losing home record.
The Rams have played decent football of late but they still need to be more consistent. That’s a word that UNLV has struggled with all year as well; they have a decent offensive unit but they have had issues on defense. Playing on the road hasn’t been the strong suit for the Rebels; while Colorado State isn’t a great team at home, they should get the victory in this one.