Sep 24 ’16, 9:00 PM
Play on: UNLV -14½ -104 at pinnacle
Each team is 1-2, but that is where the similarities end.
Idaho didn’t look good in a lackluster 20-17 victory against Montana State and was blown out 59-14 at Washington and 56-6 at Washington State. The Vandals’ offense is down from a year ago while UNLV’s defense has improved with more speed and athletic talent.
Things are so bad for the Vandals that they are voluntarily dropping down to FCS status in two years. They don’t have the talent and resources to compete.
The arrow is headed the other way for UNLV under second-year head man Tony Sanchez, the Rebels’ best coach during the past 30 years.
The Rebels are in a kill spot after consecutive road games against UCLA and Central Michigan. The demoralized Vandals are on the road a third consecutive week.
Sanchez is in the process of building up the Rebels’ program and lopsided victories help. UNLV can’t – and won’t – be screwing around here knowing they have to earn a bowl bid and style points help.
The Rebels have a very good running back, Lexington Thomas, and a strong-armed quarterback Johnny Stanton, who should get his confidence back up facing an Idaho secondary allowing more than 65 percent completions.
The Vandals give up 42.1 points per game, ranking 122nd in the nation in scoring defense and 117th in total defense. Only three of the 128 football bowl subdivision teams give up more rushing yards per game than Idaho. So Thomas – who averages 6.2 yards per carry – should run wild which in turn will make things easier for Stanton to cut loose and improve his accuracy.