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UNLV Rebels vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview and Predictions in NCAAF

The UNLV Rebels have a lot of hope these days, as they seek that elusive post-season bid, although their wins have come against lesser lights, to be honest about it. Still, they are getting the job done when they have to. 

On Saturday this Mountain West program travels eastward to face off against the Arkansas State Red Wolves of the Sun Belt Conference, who have to be considered a favorite to end up in that league's championship game. 

The action will take place on Saturday night at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, AR. 

TV: ESPN 3, 7 PM ET.  LINE: Arkansas State -7.5 

ABOUT UNLV: In their first game of the season, the Rebels hung tough with USC for three quarters, and that offered a certain degree of encouragement. What followed were wins over UTEP (52-24) and Prairie View A&M (46-17) which have brought their record to 2-1, both straight-up and against the points. This is their best start in nine years. And both of those victories amounted to games where they jumped out to an early lead, then cruised home. The Rebels have a pretty potent duo running the ball; Lexington Thomas notched his 15th career 100-yard game last Saturday, while Armani Rogers, the dual-threat quarterback, had 122 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns. They were also applauded for the job they did on defense, as Prairie View running back Dawonya Tucker, who was leading the nation in rushing yards per game, had just 61. There was bad news, as junior cornerback Ty’Jason Roberts suffered a spinal fracture and subsequently underwent surgery at the local trauma center. Head coach Tony Sanchez has acknowledged that his team needs to be a little more accuracy in the passing game to be able to prevent Arkansas State from putting too many people in the box, but also added, "We’re going to have to do a good job of establishing our running game to set up the passing game.” Prairie View prioritized stopping Thomas and did not let him go for more than 15 yards on any single carry. But the Rebels wore their opponent down with volume, as Thomas got 30 attempts. 



ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE: ASU (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)  did one of those "play-for-play" gigs in the season's second week, and were beaten to the tune of 57-7 as the Crimson Tide had 599 yards of total offense. That confirmed something a lot of people already knew - that even one of the best Sun Belt teams is not competitive with the #1 squad in the nation. Last week's game was a little more like it, as Arkansas State took to the road and beat Tulsa 29-20. They had 415 yards, but the big play was a pick-six by Demari Medley. Quarterback Justice Hansen completed 20 of 33 passes for 191 yards and added 80 yards on the ground. Coming out of high school, he was actually one of the most sought-after QB recruits in the nation, and last year he set a Sun Belt record for touchdown passes with 37, with almost 4000 yards through the air and another 422 (net) over land.  In recent years, Arkansas State has become known as a "one and done" destination for coaches who have gone from there to jobs with more prestigious football programs. Hugh Freeze was the coach in 2011 before he took the job at Ole Miss (eventually ill-fated). Gus Malzahn followed Freeze in 2012, then went back to Auburn as head coach (he had previously been offensive coordinator). And in 2013, Bryan Harsin took over, then left the next year for Boise State. Interestingly, all three coaches led their ASU teams to the GoDaddy.com Bowl. There's a little more stability with Blake Anderson, who is in his fifth year in Jonesboro (currently with a record of 33-21). 

EXTRA POINTS

1. A judge gave Arkansas State and Miami (FL) until December 20  to find a mediator to resolve a dispute over the 2017 game scheduled for Jonesboro that was never played because the 'Canes maintained Hurricane Irma prevented them from traveling. ASU is seeking $650,000 in damages. 

2. With 345.3 yards a game, UNLV is currently the #2 rushing team in the country. 

3. Under coach Tony Sanchez, UNLV has covered 12 of its last 16 games as a road underdog. 

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Stadium

Centennial Bank Stadium
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA.
Capacity: 30,964

Last Injuries

unlv-rebels-football Stats 2018-2019

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Max Gilliam 9 0 120.485 0 226 125 8 0 0 14 1394
Armani Rogers 6 0 108.961 0 117 52 4 0 0 10 601
Kenyon Oblad 1 0 31.760 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 7
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Lexington Thomas 12 0 1067 0 215 12
Armani Rogers 6 0 565 0 93 8
Charles Williams 8 0 332 0 65 0
Evan Owens 12 0 295 0 45 1
Xzaviar Campbell 12 0 269 0 51 0
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Brandon Presley 12 0 434 0 35 0 3
Tyleek Collins 12 0 422 0 31 0 6
Darren Woods Jr. 8 0 355 0 24 0 5
Mekhi Stevenson 11 0 244 0 20 0 1
Lexington Thomas 12 0 165 0 19 0 1
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Dalton Baker 12 0 60 49 0 1 2 30 3 0 0 3
Evan Austrie 11 0 45 21 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 3
Jericho Flowers 10 0 43 10 0 1 1 -1 5 0 0 2
Javin White 12 0 40 34 4 0 4 30 4 2 6 7
Bailey Laolagi 12 0 38 39 1 0 0 0 3 1 10 6
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Evan Pantels 12 0 6 10 45 42 41
Daniel Gutierrez 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Evan Owens 12 0 17 0 23 276
Brandon Presley 12 0 9 0 52 195
Tyleek Collins 12 0 6 0 27 99
Xzaviar Campbell 12 0 3 0 12 35
Austin Ajiake 5 0 1 0 9 9
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Max Gilliam 9 0 4 1 0 0 0 0
Lexington Thomas 12 0 3 1 0 0 0 0
Armani Rogers 6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Presley 12 0 2 2 0 0 0 0
Charles Williams 8 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Armani Rogers 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
Brandon Presley 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Darren Woods Jr. 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
Drew Tejchman 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Evan Owens 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Tyleek Collins 12 0 8 0 9 20
Brandon Presley 12 0 4 0 26 17