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

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


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


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

Both the Rebels and the Rainbow Warriors are looking for a win and the “Island Showdown” trophy

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The Rebels eager to snap 5-game losing streak in Honolulu

WEEK 12: UNLV Rebels at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

WHERE: Clarence T.C. Ching Complex, Honolulu, Hawaii

WHEN: Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 11:00pm EST (8:00pm PST)

TV: Spectrum Sports; Silver State Sports & Entertainment Network 

STREAMING: Team1Sports

RADIO: ESPN 1100AM & 100.9 FM

SERIES RECORD: This will be the 32nd meeting between UNLV and Hawaii. The Rebels have won 13 of the last 31 matchups, including last year’s game in Las Vegas. UNLV last won in Honolulu in 2016.

WEBSITES: unlvrebels.com is the University of Nevada Las Vegas Athletics official website |  hawaiiathletics.com is the official University of Hawaii Athletics website.

GAME NOTES (PDF):  UNLV   |  Hawai’i

ODDS: UNLV Rebels by -11.0


This Saturday night, the UNLV Rebels will face the Rainbow Warriors in Hawaii, and both teams will be looking for a much-needed win. In addition to winning the “Island Showdown” trophy, this year’s rivalry finds the Rebels on a five-game losing streak and Hawaii having dropped its last four. But at 4-6, the Rebels still have an opportunity to claim its first non-losing season since 2013. 

Last week found UNLV in a high-scoring affair with Fresno State, losing ultimately by the score of 37-30, but not before a game effort to tie the contest early in the fourth quarter. The Rebels edged the Bulldogs in total yards, time of possession and the turnover battle, but it was not enough as Fresno State scored on each possession it had in the second half and eventually pulled ahead for the win. 

Looking at this week’s game against the Rainbow Warriors, a statistical comparison might make this seem a very competitive contest. Both UNLV and Hawaii rank in the lower half of the conference in time of possession (each at approximately 28:30 per game) and upper half in total offense (352.0 yards per game for UNLV, 346.7 for Hawaii). And both teams have performed similarly in the red zone, with Hawaii scoring on 28 of 33 opportunities (including 16 touchdowns) and UNLV scoring on 29 of 35 red zone chances (including 22 touchdowns).

Fortunately for Rebels fans, where UNLV will have a clear edge over the Rainbow Warriors is where it will matter most: the scoreboard. The Rebels currently rank fifth in the conference in scoring offense, at 26.4 points per game, while the Rainbow Warriors rank dead last in scoring defense, giving up more than 36 points per contest. For a closer look at how UNLV can exploit that scoring advantage and pick up the victory, here are three keys for the Rebels’ game plan:

Week 12 Mountain West Football Schedule, Odds, Livestream, Picks

Dominate the First Half

The Rebels started the season with a decisive win over FCS opponent Idaho State, 52-21, in a game that surprised many when the Rebels jumped out to a 45-7 lead by halftime. Similar success has been the hallmark in each of the Rebels’ four wins, outscoring their four opponents in the first half by a combined score of 104 to 60. Conversely, UNLV’s six losses have seen the Rebels trail at halftime by a total deficit of 120 to 37.

To be successful in this week’s game, that type of scoring differential will require UNLV to continue to emphasize its running game, led by Aidan Robbins, with Courtney Reese and Doug Brumfield providing the change of pace to keep defenses on their heels. As Robbins and Brumfield have already combined for 15 rushing touchdowns on the season, this approach can control the game and keep the Hawaii offense on the sideline.

Let the Rebels Play Their Game – and Hawaii Play Theirs

From the start of the season, the Rebels have solidly established their running game to open up their passing game. As a result, they have run essentially a balanced attack, with relatively equal parts rushing and passing for an average of just over 65 plays per game. What is noteworthy here is the Rebels are 4-1 when they have exceeded 65 plays. 

If the Rebels can reclaim their early season success, mixing in running plays with short passes, utilizing high percentage plays to set up deeper plays (or even trick plays?) later in the game, this should favor UNLV overall. Much of this may sound cliche, but it bears the expectation that if the Rebels can be efficient on first and second down, the scoring opportunities will follow.

Contrast UNLV’s success with that of Hawaii (or lack thereof). The Rainbow Warriors have averaged almost 73 plays per game, ranking them among the top 25% nationally. But for a variety of reasons, Hawaii stands at 0-6 when they have exceeded 73 plays. (In their win against Nevada, Hawaii ran 71 plays.) Whether it be their -8 in turnover margin (121st nationally) or their marginal 33.7% success on 3rd down conversions (109th nationally), the Rainbow Warriors have not been able to convert those plays, those long drives, into much scoring or wins. Interestingly, Hawaii ranks 119th nationally in scoring offense, at 19.3 points per game, but 9th in the Mountain West, ahead of Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado State.

Feed Aidan Robbins

Currently second in the Mountain West at 94.7 rushing yards per game, Aidan Robbins has been arguably the biggest addition to the UNLV squad this season. Not only is Robbins finding success in the running game, but his style is giving the Rebels offense an identity as a physically imposing rushing team. Discussing Robbins’ success last week in his weekly press conference, Head Coach Marcus Arroyo noted, “He’s just been on fire and feeding him was not an issue…. we believe in that too, to be aggressive on those calls.” Expect Robbins to get the call early and often against a Hawaii defense that has surrendered more than 220 rushing yards per game on the season already. 


This game comes at an opportune time for the Rebels. Expect the UNLV running game to be leaned on in this game from start to finish, with an emphasis on finishing drives for seven points, not three. If Aidan Robbins can set the tempo behind an aggressive offensive line, the Rebels should be able to use the passing game in the red zone to control the clock and find ample opportunities to get the lead and extend it through the second half. 

Also of note is that UNLV has made a point this week to not look ahead, to remain focused on the Rainbow Warriors as the next game in the schedule. But the Rebels have a clear motivation here, with not only a chance to avoid a losing season and finish at 6-6, but to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.

UNLV 34, Hawaii 20


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