WHEN: Saturday, November 18th – 12:30 pm PT/1:30 pm MT
WHERE: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, Colorado
STREAM: Get a free trial with FuboTV
RADIO: : ESPN 1100 AM & 100.9 FM (Russ Langer, Caleb Herring & Steve Cofield)
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads 18-6 and has won the last five meetings
In a battle for first place in the Mountain West, UNLV will travel to take on Air Force. The Rebels have won five of their first six league outings for the first time since finishing 5-1 in Big West in 1994. The Rebels have shattered program records for 40+point games for both consecutive outings (four) and in a season (six) while scoring at least 24 points in eight straight games for the first time since they moved to Division One in 1978. UNLV’s current total of 31 rushing touchdowns is second in the nation behind only USC (32) and the most for a Rebel team since running in 34 in 1975.
UNLV is tied for sixth nationally in turnover margin at plus-10 — powered by 13 interceptions (T7th nationally). The Rebels sit fifth nationally in third-down conversion rate at 53.8%, and their 84 third-down conversions are eight more than any other team.
Slow Down The Run
When facing the Air Force, you must slow down their outstanding rushing attack. The Falcons average 275.9 rushing yards per game. They run the triple option, which is hard to stop.
Emmanuel Michel leads them in rushing with 733 yards, and quarterback Zac Larrier adds 5779 yards on the ground.
UNLV must play a sound, disciplined defense. The front seven must maintain gap control and not overcommit. Tackling will also be essential. You cannot miss tackles against Air Force; they will make you pay for it.
Run The Ball
The Rebels like to run the football; they average 195.7 yards per game. The Rebels have three running backs who have rushed for over 400 yards: Vincent Davis Jr. (553), Jai’Den Thomas (420), and Donavyn Lester (418). Also, Thomas has nine touchdowns, Lester eight, and Davis four. But the Falcons have the Mountain West Conference’s best defense and only give up 86 yards per game. So something will have to give. The Rebels will need success running the ball to keep the Falcons offense off the field.
Maiava Must Make Plays
With the Falcons’ outstanding rush defense, the Rebels must make plays in the passing game. Quarterback Jayden Maiava has yet to be asked to do much this season, but this may change on Saturday. Since taking over the starting quarterback job from Doug Brumfield, Maiava has passed for 2,060 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions. If Maiava can make plays in the passing game, it could help the Rebels win.
The Falcons’ attempt to stop the run could leave receiver Ricky White one-on-one with defenders. White leads UNLV with 62 catches for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns.
Air Force is a favorite by three. UNLV wins a tough battle 21-20