It’s rivalry time at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday night. For the first time in the stadium’s short history in Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium will host a college football game. UNLV is the co-resident at the stadium, along with of course the Las Vegas Raiders. A good old fashioned rivalry game will get us started in the college football era at Allegiant Stadium.
Note that this stadium is going to host some big time college football events over the years. You will see conference championships being played there, and perhaps a national championship in the future. We do know that the 2021 and 2022 Pac-12 Championship will be played in Las Vegas.
UNLV hopes to have more success at Allegiant Stadium than they did at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels haven’t had a competitive program in decades, so the hope here is that they can use Allegiant Stadium as a recruiting tool. Sam Boyd Stadium did not have the best facilities, which is important to high school kids these days. Maybe Allegiant sways a few undecided recruits in UNLV’s direction.
Time will tell, but the current program is still in a period of development. It’s hard to expect a whole lot of them once again in 2020. The last time UNLV won a bowl game was in 2000 against Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl. Their last trip to a bowl was to Dallas for the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2014, a 36-14 loss against Arkansas.
UNLV is coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2019. There wasn’t a lot to get excited about, but they did pull off a 33-30 upset over Nevada in Reno in the season finale. That provided UNLV with some hope going into this season, but San Diego State put an end to that pretty quickly in the opener last weekend.
It was a non-competitive game, as the Aztecs easily bounced the Rebels by a score of 34-6. Offensively they couldn’t sustain any drives and were punting often, while San Diego State could have scored more if they wanted to. They must be better in all aspects to beat Nevada for another season again. There will be a limited number of fans attending Allegiant Stadium for the battle of the Fremont Cannon. Head below for our free Nevada vs. UNLV pick for October 31, 2020.
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. UNLV Rebels NCAAF Betting Odds:
Nevada vs. UNLV Prediction:
Nevada is going to put a lot of pressure on UNLV with Carson Strong. Strong has been flying up draft boards and could be a steal for a team in the later rounds in two years. He is certainly the most talented quarterback that Nevada has had since Colin Kaepernick. Different skill set, but Strong is likely going to develop into a draft pick.
As a freshman, Strong threw for 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 63.4%. Not impressive numbers wise, but the raw talent was present for Strong. Remember that Josh Allen didn’t put up jaw dropping numbers at Wyoming, but I do believe Strong will put together a nice statline in 2020.
Strong got off to a fast start in Week 1 of Mountain West play. He threw for 420 yards and 4 touchdowns on 75% completions against Wyoming in a 37-34 win in overtime. Cole Turner and Romeo Doubs both eclipsed the 100-yard mark, as they hauled in 3 touchdowns between the two of them. In other words, this is not going to be the same Carson Strong that UNLV played against last year.
Expect to see Nevada make it work on Saturday night at Allegiant Stadium. San Diego State didn’t have to pass the ball much last season. The Aztecs ran all over the Rebels, with Greg Bell rushing for 111 yards on 5.8 yards per carry, while Kaegun Williams gained 84 yards on 8.4 yards per carry. UNLV struggled on defense last season with 442.3 yards conceded per game, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see a mediocre San Diego State offense move the ball.
I don’t foresee Max Gilliam, or if they decide to go with Justin Rogers, keeping up with Strong and the Wolf Pack offense. Gilliam passed for 105 yards with 1 touchdown last week against San Diego State. That’s a tough defense, and UNLV will move the ball more effectively on Nevada, but likely not consistently enough. I’m on Nevada in this one in a game I see going in favor of the Wolf Pack by a score of 40-23.