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Opponent Offense Preview: UNLV

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Another kind of Rebel

Boise State v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The UNLV Rebels are about as potent on offense as the Ole Miss Rebels were. Really, they are more comparable to NIU. The Rebels (UNLV version) are T-93 in total offense. They have only amassed 1,835 yards in five games, averaging 367 yards per game. Per play, they average just over five yards, and they only score 23 points per game. Maybe this is the reset game the Dores need after a brutal (and underwhelming) first five games.

Eleven of the offense’s 16 TDs have come on the ground where they haven’t even totaled 1,000 yards as a team. With 875 yards on 187 attempts, the Rebels struggle to move it more than 4.6 yards per carry.

Five-foot, nine-inch Junior Running Back, Charles Williams, is the Rebels leading rusher with 529 yards and 8.0 yards per carry. He’s the catalyst of the offense, meanwhile, Armani Rogers is the second leading rusher at 204 yards and four ypc. Both are potential home run threats with long runs of 78 and 66 yards, respectively.

Through the air, the Rebels average a middling 5.3 yards per attempt at 960 yards on 179 attempts for only five touchdowns and six interceptions. Meaning, they prefer to run the ball more than they throw it, but throwing yields more yardage, barely.

They only complete 50% of their passes, but when adjusted for yards per completion, UNLV gets 10.7 yards. That’s almost enough to qualify for a chunk play, but they are so few and far between, that it’s acceptable to discuss UNLV’s offense as anemic.

Unfortunately for UNLV, Rogers, their QB1 and Captain has been supplanted in the starting role by 6’3”, 190lbs Freshman Kenyon Oblad. Rogers, the duel threat option for the Rebels, has a sprained kneed. In last week’s game against Boise State, Oblad made his first career start, throwing the ball 55 times, totaling 256 yards on 24 completions.

Considering the ground success Ole Miss had last week, UNLV will want to move the ball on the ground. Vanderbilt has held only one team below their season rushing average (and every team but Georgia has scored more against VU than they average on the season).

The Rebels can run the ball with Williams to stay on schedule, then open up passing plays for Oblad with play action. It is a safe way to ensure the underclassman can complete passes without asking him to win the game. Then again, he threw it 55 (!) times in his last start. So who knows?

One thing is for certain, the Rebels’ offense has struggled no matter who is under center. But when teams are scrambling for identity, they will try anything.