Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gameday preview: UNLV

The UNLV Rebels come to town trying to do something they were supposed to do frequently this year, and haven't: win multiple games in a row. This was the season the defense caught up with the offense, that Sanford would look like the slow-bake genius for hauling in a class of JUCO safeties and corners, that the d-line would finally reach its run-stopping potential.

Through the tough loss to Oregon State, the win over Hawaii, and the embarrassing loss at Wyoming, that train still looked like it was on the tracks, though wobbly at times. Then Nevada came to town, and blew the holy bejeebers out of the Rebels, who didn't recover until a trip to the very forgiving Lobos last week. Now this beleaguered squad comes to Fort Worth, where they have never won (and averaged 27-point losses!).

Have the Rebs any bright spots to focus on, during the coming beat down? Yes. D-end/ linebacker Jason Beauchamp and linebacker Starr Fuimaono are playing closer to 100% than they have in more than a month. Veterans right tackle Evan Marchal and left tackle Matt Murphy are better prepped to battle standout Frog DEs Jerry Hughes and Wayne Daniels than they were last year. And QB Omar Clayton is coming off one of his best performances, healthy and ready to search the Frog D for weaknesses. WR Ryan Wolfe (pictured) is at his- and the MWC's- best. Truth is, however, everybody has their best week against New Mexico, and worst against TCU. So, it remains to be seen if UNLV can find any more traction against the fearsome purple attack than the other teams that have failed to do so.

Look for a spirited first half, but a widening blowout at the hands of TCU's second and third teams. TCU 49, UNLV 17.

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