Opponent: UNLV Rebels
Date: October 12, presumably on the SEC Network
All-time Series Record: First meeting
Last year: 4-8, 106th in S&P+
Head coach: Tony Sanchez (16-32, 5th year)
Look, as Vanderbilt fans, we’ve all seen our team blow games they have no business losing, so I say this with some degree of caution.
UNLV does not present much of a threat to Vanderbilt.
The Rebels (the second set of Rebels in a row on Vanderbilt’s schedule) have not had a winning season since 2013, and they haven’t beaten a Power 5 opponent since 2008. This is hardly a dangerous Mountain West team. Vanderbilt will probably be favored to beat Northern Illinois, but the Huskies have a recent track record of success (including an Orange Bowl!) and I can at least talk myself into them being dangerous.
I really can’t do that with UNLV. Quarterback Max Gilliam had a nice debut as a sophomore, taking over for Armani Rogers midway through 2018 and completing 55 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. And he has a nice group of receivers to throw to as well.
With that said — well, scoring points wasn’t exactly UNLV’s problem in 2018. The Rebels’ defense allowed 42 ppg in Mountain West play last season and that unit ranks 87th in returning talent per Bill C. So an awful defense also has to replace a bunch of people, and that unit has to attempt to slow down Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Yeah, I like Vanderbilt’s chances against UNLV.