UNLV vs. Colorado State: Three Keys to a Rebels Win
The Rebels hope to score their first Mountain West win of 2019 against the Rams. Here’s how to tune in and what to watch for.
How can the Rebels get back in the win column?
WEEK 10: UNLV Rebels (2-6, 0-4 Mountain West) vs. Colorado State Rams (3-5, 2-2 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 2 — 12:30 PM PT/1:30 PM MT
WHERE: Canvas Stadium; Fort Collins, Colorado (41,000)
TV: AT&T Sports Net
STREAMING: Viewers outside of the ATTSN footprint can stream the game here.
RADIO: The UNLV broadcast can be found in and around Las Vegas on 1100 AM and 100.9 FM, while the Colorado State broadcast can be found on 102.9 FM (KARS).
SERIES RECORD: Colorado State leads the series 16-6-1. In the last meeting on October 22, 2016, the Rams defeated the Rebels, 42-26, in Las Vegas.
LAST WEEK: UNLV missed a last second field goal attempt and lost to San Diego State at home, 20-17. Colorado State won on the road at Fresno State, 41-31.
GAME NOTES (PDF): Colorado State | UNLV
ODDS (via OddsShark): Colorado State -8.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 8.8
FEI PROJECTION: Colorado State by 4.9
After suffering heartbreak at home, the UNLV Rebels hit the road once again to take on the surging Colorado State Rams.
Mike Bobo might not be feeling quite as much heat under his seat after scoring two straight wins in Mountain West action, including a 10-point victory on the road over defending champion Fresno State, thanks to an offense that looks plenty capable of beating up on shaky defenses and a defense that just may be coming together.
Head coach Tony Sanchez and company will have their hands full on Saturday afternoon, but here’s how the Rebels can defeat the Rams.
Three Keys to a UNLV Victory
1. Feed Charles Williams.
Opponents haven’t been shy about attacking the Rams on the ground in conference play, so while Colorado State has allowed just 4.35 yards per carry in the first four games of Mountain West action, the fact that New Mexico and Fresno State were able to average 5.2 and 6.2 YPC, respectively, suggests there’s still work to be done.
That’s good news for Williams, who rediscovered his groove against a tough San Diego State defense last week for his fourth 100-yard game of the season. The Rebels have upped his workload in the last few weeks to 22.6 carries per game, and they might need him to log another strong performance to keep the explosive Rams offense off the field.
2. Make Patrick O’Brien make mistakes.
Five games in, this may be a tougher task than you might suspect: O’Brien has thrown the ball 199 times, but has an interception rate of just 1.5%. Every so often, though, he’ll throw a pass like the INT he tossed straight to Fresno State’s Juju Hughes last Saturday, and those are the chances UNLV will need to seize upon.
It will help if UNLV can maintain its gains in the pass rush from last week. Their two sacks against San Diego State was the first time they had multiple takedowns against an FBS opponent all season, but Colorado State’s 5.1% sack rate on offense ranks 42nd nationally, so getting past a stout Rams offensive line could be tough.
3. Force the Rams to settle… if they can.
Three different kickers have attempted a field goal for Colorado State this fall and none of them have been particularly effective. As a team, the Rams are just 10-of-18 overall and 5-of-11 from 40 yards or more, making the yardage between UNLV’s own 40 and 20 especially valuable real estate.
The Rams have looked like they’re about to hit their full stride in the last few weeks and that is bad news for a Rebels team that still hasn’t had a complete sixty minutes on both sides of the ball. They also don’t seem to have the pieces in the secondary to match Colorado State’s talent at the skill positions, so while they should be able to punch it in the end zone a few times, it’s hard to see them matching the Rams score for score.
Colorado State 38, UNLV 24