Utah State vs. UNLV: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Livestream, Odds, Prediction
The Rebels hope to score their first win of 2021 against Utah State. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for against the Aggies.
Can UNLV steal a win?
WEEK 7: Utah State Aggies (3-2, 1-1 Mountain West) vs. UNLV Rebels (0-5, 0-1 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, October 16 — 4:00 PM PT/5:00 PM MT
WHERE: Allegiant Stadium; Las Vegas, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.
RADIO: The UNLV broadcast can be found in and around Las Vegas on ESPN 1100 AM and 100.9 FM. The Utah State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Aggie Radio Network, including flagships 1280 AM and 97.5 FM (KZNS) out of Salt Lake City.
SERIES RECORD: Utah State leads the all-time series 17-7. In the last meeting on October 13, 2018, the Aggies defeated the Rebels, 59-28, in Logan.
LAST WEEK: Utah State and UNLV were both on bye.
ODDS (as of 10/12, via Vegas Insider): Utah State -7
SP+ PROJECTION: Utah State by 2.4
FEI PROJECTION: Utah State by 7.6
After finishing its non-conference schedule without any wins, the UNLV Rebels head home and turn their attention back to Mountain West play by hosting the Utah State Aggies on Saturday.
The rebuild in Logan under new head coach Blake Anderson has come together a little more quickly than the ongoing effort in the desert to turn things around, so while it’s tempting to view this as just another cakewalk for a UNLV opponent, don’t forget the Rebels have been close to upending a couple of very good teams in the last few weeks and could very well steal a win from a Utah State team that’s still a work in progress itself.
Here’s how UNLV can beat the Aggies.
Three Keys to a UNLV Victory
1. Get whoever is under center off to a fast start.
Cameron Friel has looked more comfortable under center from week to week in Doug Brumfield’s absence, so while it remains to be seen who will start against the Aggies — both Friel and Brumfield are still nicked up, while Tate Martell is also recovering from a injury that, last we saw, had him in a walking boot — Marcus Arroyo may want to flip the usual script and attack through the air early. That’s because, despite just 25 first-quarter pass attempts in five games, the Rebels have completed 60% of their passes in the first fifteen minutes and currently sport the second-best passer rating in the Mountain West, 157.30.
On the other side of the ball, Utah State has struggled to get their hands on the ball (15 passes defended in five games) and, for lack of a better term, have been lit up by opposing quarterbacks early in games, allowing a 76.1% completion rate and 11 yards per attempt in the first quarter. Long story short, this Aggies defense is one which can be softened up.
Arroyo says Doug Brumfield is still not 100%. He hopes to see his progress as the week goes on. Coach says Cam Friel is banged up but practiced yesterday. Getting him to full speed by Saturday is the goal. He also wants to see how much Tate can do this week out of his boot. pic.twitter.com/R9z53U12Eo
— Paloma Villicana FOX5 (@PalomaVillicana) October 11, 2021
2. Contain the Aggies running game.
Calvin Tyler Jr. has been the headliner in the first half of the season out of the Utah State backfield, averaging 5.3 yards on a team-high 79 attempts, but the Aggies actually boast a trio that could cause headaches for a UNLV front seven that struggles against the run. Sophomores Elelyon Noa and John Gentry, a fine pair of complementary pieces, both average 4.3 YPC themselves.
A lot could hinge on which of UNLV’s defensive front and Utah State’s offensive line can generate more push. While UNLV’s defense ranks 115th among FBS teams with a 12.9% stuff rate (carries stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage), the Aggies offense is 111th (22.6%) by that same measure.
3. Generate the best pass rush on the field.
While it’s fair to say that Utah State’s quarterback play has been generally better than UNLV’s, the Aggies’ Logan Boner and Andrew Peasley have both been occasionally erratic. The duo has averaged 7.9 yards per attempt, which is good, but they’ve completed only 57.4% of their passes and thrown seven interceptions, the last of which is tied with Fresno State for the most in the conference.
If UNLV can put pressure on whoever is under center at any given point — a giant “if” considering the Rebels have posted a pitiful 3.1% sack rate, 120th in the FBS — they could force Utah State into mistakes and set the offense up with beneficial field position. It’s doubly important, too, considering the Aggies haven’t been much better about getting to the quarterback (4.8% sack rate, 103rd overall).
Utah State has had a bit of a reality check in the last two weeks against Boise State and BYU, so while they’ve made remarkable progress in year one under Anderson, the Aggies would do well not to look past a Rebels team that has made strides on both sides of the ball recently.
It also remains to be seen how well recovered Bonner, Tyler Jr., and center Falepule Alo are from injuries suffered two weeks ago. Both teams should be able to move the ball effectively, so it might just come down to whoever has the ball last and who can create at least one break. In that case, bet on a high-scoring affair, but one in which the Rebels will fall just short yet again.
Utah State 38, UNLV 35