The Fresno State Bulldogs wish they had one game back this season. Fresno State enter with an impressive record of 7-1, but an early season loss against Minnesota, derailed their chances of being considered with the UCF Knights. UCF still haven’t lost a game, so Fresno State are sitting just on the outside looking in when it comes to non-Power 5 schools who are hoping to go to a New Year’s Six Bowl.
If I’m going to wager a guess, I would say that Fresno State are heading for the Las Vegas Bowl. That’s a pretty nice accomplishment for the Bulldogs, so despite the unlikelihood of a New Year’s Six Bowl, Fresno will probably be representing the Mountain West in Vegas. It feels like that game has become the Boise State special, so it’d be nice to get another school in that game.
They are at the sight of that game on Saturday, but the opponent would look a lot different. Sam Boyd Stadium will play host to Fresno State and the UNLV Rebels on Saturday night. UNLV were expecting some positive progress in Tony Sanchez’s fourth-year as the head coach of the Rebels. Sanchez who was highly regarded as a high school football coaching at Bishop German, has struggled to turn UNLV into a contender.
The Rebels haven’t gone to a bowl game under his watch and it isn’t going to happen in 2018 either. Things started out pretty well, they were competitive against USC for a half in Week 1. Then they responded with a couple of wins against UTEP and Prairie View A&M. I know, not the best completion, UTEP is with UNLV as one of the worst teams in the country, but they did look good with Armani Rogers at quarterback. However, the following week, Rogers had a horrific performance against Arkansas State and he was injured as well. Rogers just returned to practice after getting rid of the walking boot, but will not be taking snaps against Fresno State. It certainly would have helped to have him available. Head below for our free Fresno State vs. UNLV pick.
Fresno State Bulldogs vs. UNLV Rebels NCAAF Betting Odds:
Fresno State -24.5(-118)
vs. UNLV +24.5(-102)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Fresno State vs. UNLV Pick:
Many that follow UNLV football believe that the team has quit on their coach. I think it might be more a case of this team just not being talented. The defense couldn’t stop the high school Bishop German in their current state. You can put some of the blame on Sanchez for sure, but the defense isn’t helping him out any. With Armani Rogers out of the lineup and the state of the UNLV defense, they don’t have many options to keep up with opposing teams. The Rebels have allowed 468 yards per game for 115th in the FBS. They are giving up 213.3 yards per on the ground alone.
Against a dynamic quarterback like Marcus McMaryion, this game could be a little tricky for the Rebels. McMaryion has been a firecracker for the Fresno State offense, pushing them over the edge into a contender in the Mountain West. McMaryion has already racked up 18 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions on the year. His completion percentage of 70.4 makes him the most accurate passer in the FBS. He’s also scampered for 7 touchdowns on the ground. McMaryion doesn’t have blazing speed, but he is an elusive runner that can make defenders miss. Fresno are averaging 39.5 points per game mainly because of his play. He is certainly the most exciting prospect Fresno State has had at QB since Derek Carr.
Along with the offense, the Bulldogs have a stingy defense with just 308 yards allowed per game. UNLV put up 37 on San Jose State and 35 on Air Force the last two weeks, but this is a considerable uptick in talent. And as bad as the Spartans have been, they cut through the UNLV defense like paper for 50 points. Josh Love had his best game of the year with 4 touchdown passes. Tyler Nevens, who is averaging only 3.9 yards per carry, topped 100 yards for the first time this season against the Rebels.
UNLV upset Fresno State last year by a score of 26-16. In fact, UNLV have won the last two meetings. However, this isn’t the same Bulldogs team, and if there is any reason to not overlook UNLV, it has to be the game tape they’ve been going over from last season. Fresno State are a much better team with McMaryion at the controls than they’ve been in the past. Expect a 45-17 or 48-20 win for Fresno State at Sam Boyd Stadium on Friday evening in Las Vegas.