Fresno State vs UNLV: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Fresno State vs UNLV: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Fresno State

Fresno State vs UNLV: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction


Fresno State vs UNLV: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Fresno State comes to Las Vegas with West division lead; UNLV looking for 5th win in season for fourth time since 2009

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Can the Rebels stop the Bulldogs to end their 4-game losing streak?

WEEK 6: Fresno State Bulldogs at UNLV Rebels

WHERE: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

WHEN: Friday, November 11, 2022 – 10:30pm EST (7:30pm PST)

TV: CBS Sports Network 

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, by following this link.

RADIO: ESPN 1100AM & 100.9 FM

SERIES RECORD: This will be the 25th meeting between Fresno State and UNLV. The Bulldogs have won 18 of the last 24 matchups, including the last four contests going back to 2018.

WEBSITES: is the official San Diego State University Athletics website | is the University of Nevada Las Vegas Athletics official website.

GAME NOTES (PDF): Fresno State | UNLV

ODDS: Fresno State Bulldogs by -9.5

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Fresno State Bulldogs by 5.14

Week 10 Mountain West Football Power Rankings

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That cliche reared its head for UNLV football fans last week when, despite getting some key players back, the Rebels lost a one-score game to the San Diego Aztecs by a score of 14-10. It was the type of game that haunted the Rebels for much of last year; a determined effort undermined by unforced errors, ending up on the short side of a few big plays, with a loss and the thoughts of what might have been. In his weekly press conference, Head Coach Marcus Arroyo alluded to some of those struggles as “a lot of rust, a little more than I probably anticipated.”

As the Fresno State Bulldogs come to Las Vegas, with their own priorities of retaining the lead in the Mountain West Conference’s West division, Arroyo added that many of those mistakes are fixable, beginning with the offense overall and getting starting quarterback Doug Brumfield back to one hundred percent. “A magnified focus on fundamentals….and those decisions in-game, under fire, in duress, in critical situations at critical times,” is what Head Coach Marcus Arroyo looked to emphasize over this week of practice for the team. Arroyo is looking forward to a positive week, with many of his starters ready to go for Friday night, or about as healthy as a team can be in mid-November.

With three games remaining for UNLV, including Friday night’s contest, the team is still taking things one week at a time. A win over the Bulldogs would be another step closer to reaching a few of the team’s goals, including a bowl game at season’s end. But for now, the focus of the Rebels is trained squarely on their matchup with Fresno State.

Looking at this week’s matchup, the Bulldogs come into Allegiant Stadium with the conference’s top offense at 29.2 points and almost 410 yards per game, led by senior quarterback Jake Haener. The Rebels will need to take advantage of all opportunities to contain or keep pace with this type of offense, and time of possession should once again play a key factor in the Rebels’ outcome. Among other factors for a Rebels’ win, here is a closer look at three keys to the game:

Open Up the Defense (and Offense?) to Stop Haener

The Rebels know all too well what the Bulldogs offense can do, having lost to Fresno State and Jake Haener the last two years. And as one of the early favorites to reach the conference championship, Jake Haener’s experience within the offense is arguably the main driver of those expectations for Fresno State this season. So, what are the Rebels to do? In short, be willing to try almost anything and everything. 

Offensively, the Rebels have not become totally predictable, but at times appear so reliant on first and second down to get the running game going with Aidan Robbins or Doug Brumfield that it can lead to difficult third down conversions. Going with high percentage pass plays can keep the clock moving on offense, which in turn will keep Haener on the sidelines. Seeing what works against the Fresno State defense can then open up opportunities for a trick play (or two) that the Rebels could use to extend drives. Doug Brumfield has exceeded expectations as the Rebels’ quarterback, but any chance we could see a “Vegas Special” in this game?

Defensively, as has been the case for much of the season, the Rebels will need to take advantage of every opportunity they can muster in their “bend but don’t break” style of defense. Fresno State has the type of offense to challenge a defense at all three levels, with Jordan Mims leading the Bulldogs rushing attack with 800 yards on the season. Haener and Mims form the type of one-two punch that has given the Rebels trouble this season, not unlike California’s Jack Plummer and Jaydn Ott or Air Force’s Haaziq Daniels and Brad Roberts. These duos know what their roles are and execute well.

Within UNLV’s front seven, Austin Ajiake and Adam Plant Jr. will need to lead a similar attack to last week’s game and get pressure on Haener early and often. Against the Aztecs last week, the Rebels were able to stifle the offense for much of the game, albeit surrendering a few key plays that gave San Diego State extended drives. This week, it will be critical to not give Haener time in the pocket and find an open man. UNLV’s secondary has played well this season, but no defense can cover for extended plays and Fresno State is the type of team that can make the Rebels pay.

Win the Turnover Battle

Against the Aztecs last week, UNLV turned the ball over four times. While the Rebels surrendered zero points off those turnovers, those plays stopped potential scoring drives in the game and had a direct impact on UNLV’s struggles on the day. Both interceptions were in the Aztecs’ end zone, and one of the fumbles was deep in San Diego State territory. Those are the types of plays that can swing momentum to the opponent and lead to what Head Coach Marcus Arroyo accurately summed up as a “disappointing loss” in San Diego.

Whether or not the offense can cut down on its turnovers, the Rebels defense will need to create a couple of opportunities on its own. UNLV currently leads the conference in interceptions with 13, and they will be tasked with adding to that total this week. Ricky Johnson returned to the lineup last week and quickly contributed with a first quarter pick in the Rebels end zone against the Aztecs. Unfortunately, it was the only turnover UNLV could get on the day, but the opportunities will need to be there for the Rebels this week if they are to stop the bulldogs in this contest and come away with the win.

Can the Rebels Find a Mid-Season Surprise?

At the start of the season, UNLV may have surprised more than a few people with the addition of Aidan Robbins’ running style, Doug Brumfield’s poise in the pocket, and a defense that can take advantage of an opponent’s errors. But as teams saw more plays from the Rebels this season, they have been able to adapt; and as the quality of opponents has increased in recent weeks, the Rebels have found themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

This isn’t to say that the Rebels have become predictable, but the play calling must continue to improve and expand the versatility on both sides of the ball, to keep teams guessing at something they either didn’t expect or haven’t seen before. Can the Rebels do more with Aidan Robbins? Is there a wide receiver that the coaches would trust to make a critical throw downfield? Are the Rebels willing to try a reverse or lateral on a punt or kick return? 

The novelty of a trick play or trying a high-risk/reward play in and of itself won’t change the Rebels season. But if there’s something the Rebels have worked on, a play or blitz that can catch the Bulldogs off guard, it might be worth a look to turn the tide of the game back in favor of UNLV and get the late season upset this team has been looking for in some time.


This week’s game between the Bulldogs and the Rebels is one of those games that makes college football so intriguing. More than just one game separating their records, these two teams parallel one another over their seasons, and both have shown improvement in their respective ways. From the quality of their play to their struggles due to injuries, and subsequent bounce backs to remain competitive, both teams now find themselves competing for a strong finish and potential games in the remaining season.

Unfortunately for Rebels fans, these parallels come with a decisive edge in experience for Fresno State and I suspect that difference will carry the Bulldogs to victory. While the Rebels might still have a few surprises up their sleeves, there is a strong chance this game ends in yet another one-score loss for UNLV. 

Fresno State 27, UNLV 20


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