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Rebel yell: Boise State vs UNLV preview

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Game facts

  • Time: Friday, 7pm MT
  • Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
  • Weather at kickoff: 45°, Partly Cloudy
  • Odds: Boise State by 28
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: KBOI 670 AM
  • Commentators: Adam "Don't call me Idi" Amin, Kelly "Lean Cuisine" Stouffer, Molly "Coddle" McGrath

Other facts

1. Behold, the 3-headed quarterback beast

The Rebels started the year pretty comfy with junior Johnny Stanton calling signals for them and Stanton provided a "meh" series of performances through game 4 (a loss to Idaho) when he messed his knee up and gave way to frosh Dalton Sneed. Sneed started the subsequent game against Fresno State and rushed for 147 yards in the win. The following game, however, Sneed could not replicate his success and was just 2 for 12 against San Diego State. He rebounded a bit against Hawaii but saw his production drop off a cliff again the following week against Colorado State. It was time for another change...a change named Kurt Palandech. The junior Palandech passed for 252 yards against Wyoming and rushed for 157, so hooray...UNLV found a productive QB the week before playing Boise State. Frankly, I'd have preferred Sneed's 44% completion percentage.

2. Runnin' Rebels

UNLV currently is #14 in the NCAA in rushing yards/game...a sobering prospect considering the Broncos have already faced the #1 rushing team in the country (New Mexico) and play the #3 rushing team in the country next weekend (Air Force). Take heart, Bronco fans...if we win out, we get to play the #5 rushing team int eh country (San Diego State). Our linebackers need a hug.

3. Wait...what?

The Rebels—currently sitting at 4-6—did what the Broncos could not and knocked off division-leader Wyoming on Saturday. Sure, it took them 3 overtimes to accomplish the feat, but what the heck business did the Rebels have beating the Cowboys? Well, frankly I think the Rebels win-loss record is deceiving. They haven't lost to a "bad" team all year (and yes, I'm aware that they lost to Idaho...look up "cognitive dissonance") and even with their QB platoon not exactly setting the world ablaze, they've been able to pile up yardage on many a team. The Rebels are rightly the underdogs this Friday, but we should overlook them at our own peril. Thankfully, with them beating the one team we lost to...I'd say chances of sneaking up on us (on senior night, no less) are practically nill.

4. Thank you for not using plastic

Baghead

Streaks

Boise State - Won 2

UNLV - Won 1 (and they have our gratitude for that)

Stripes

yipes

This gum lasted for 30 seconds on a good day

Best name on their roster

Sophomore RB Xzaviar Campbell's name is good for mega-points in Scrabble™

Best player picture on their roster

Senior LB LaKeith Walls' hair takes the best parts from Lil John and the Rowlf from the Muppet Show and fuses them into a winning 'do.

Players to watch

Kurt Palandech

Palandech, a JuCo transfer from Laney College, hadn't seen much action this year...but when he got his opportunity, he made the most of it—putting up mucho yardage against Wyoming and hauling in MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts (Rypien wuz ROBBED). Amazingly, Palandech is the only Rebel QB with better than a 50% completion percentage this season and he's been known to run a little—something that's becoming a new reality for the Bronco defense. Contain!

Charles Williams

Williams is UNLV's leading rusher, with 665 yards and 3 TDs to his name. Sure, those numbers don't look super impressive next to the MWC's "big 3" (Pumphrey, Hill, McNichols), but we've already discussed the Rebels' rushing prowess, and Williams helps make that machine go.

Dalton Sneed

Wait...I thought this guy was no longer starting.

Dwight

Sneed might not be slinging the rock anymore (and let's be honest...he wasn't that great at it), but he is still the team's 3rd leading rusher and already has a 91-yard TD scamper under his belt this year. The Rebels have decided that's too much goodness to keep off the field, so he'll be lining up at wide receiver this Friday night. Deandre Pierce...you know what to do.

Tau Lotulelei

The senior linebacker already has 95 tackles on the year, as well as 1.5 sacks, 2 PBUs and a forced fumble. This guy is all over the field so either block him or find another field.

Torry McTyer

McTyer is your reigning MWC Defensive Player of the Week after snagging 2 INTs against Wyoming and effectively sealing the game for the Rebels in triple OT last weekend. McTyer hasn't been putting up All-MWC numbers this year (3 INTs, 38 tackles) but he's got the "hot hand' as it were, so keep a close eye on this fella.

Players NOT to watch

Why is Dalton Sneed lining up at WR you ask? Well, that's due in part to UNLV losing their star wideout Devonte Boyd for the year with a broken arm suffered last weekend against Wyoming. How big a part of the Rebel offense was Boyd? Well, his 746 receiving yards were more than the next FIVE leading Rebel receivers COMBINED. UNLV's second leading pass catcher has less yards on the year (189) than Thomas Sperbeck had against New Mexico (198). Ouch.

The Rebels will also probably be without second leading rusher Lexington Thomas, who is nursing an ankle injury.

Keys to victory

  • Win the turnover battle. The Broncos have done this the last two contests and IT. FELT. GOOD.
  • Field position. This was better last week against Hawaii and definitely takes some pressure of the offense and defense. We seemed to have a little wiggle room on punt and kick returns last week also, this is good.
  • Pour it on. Let's face it...UNLV is a one-dimensional team, offensively. This is even more true now with a newly-minted QB and an injured star wideout. The Rebels aren't built for a huge comeback, so the Broncos need to be efficient in the redzone and jump on them early.
  • Don't lose. Still working somehow.

Score prediction

Boise State 45, UNLV 24