What: UNLV Rebels @ San Diego State Aztecs
When: Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 PM
Line: Aztecs -16
Mountain West, we’re comin’ for ya
It’s SDSU Family Weekend at Qualcomm Stadium. The Aztecs are coming off their first loss of the season, a heartbreaker against South Alabama that crushed any hopes of an undefeated season and New Year’s Six appearance. But this week they’ve got a great opportunity to rebound and get back on track as they open up conference play against one of their biggest rivals.
Last week the UNLV Rebels, who were picked to finish fifth in the conference this season, defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 45-20 to snap a three-game losing streak and notch their first win since their season opener.
Why should we be scared of them?
If history is any indication, we shouldn’t be. SDSU has won 16 of 25 games against UNLV and the Rebels have just one winning season and one bowl appearance to their name in this millennium.
But despite their 2-3 record so far this season, it seems like the Rebels are headed in the right direction under the guidance of head coach Tony Sanchez, who is in his second year at the helm. Aztecs head coach Rocky Long admits that this year’s UNLV squad has improved “dramatically.” And they’ve definitely shown glimpses of that improvement so far this season, even in their losses. They come into Saturday’s matchup ranked ninth in the nation in rushing, surpassing SDSU which sits at 22nd.
That said, this Aztecs team is still a force to be reckoned with. Donnel Pumphrey is still Donnel Pumphrey. And UNLV’s 85th-ranked defense won’t stand a chance.
Do they have anyone worth watching?
UNLV’s redshirt freshman quarterback, Dalton Sneed, will be interesting to watch. He took over for Johnny Stanton, who sustained knee and hamstring injuries two weeks ago and will be out for a month. Sneed was impressive in his debut against the Bulldogs, passing for 129 yards and a touchdown. But where he really shined was in his run game. He rushed for 147 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown run.
In addition to Sneed, the Rebels have a couple other solid options making up the bulk of their run game. Sophomore Lexington Thomas has 472 yards and seven touchdowns on the season while freshman Charles Williams has 313 yards and two touchdowns to his name.
There’s also junior WR Devonte Boyd, who was an all-conference pick going into the season. He has 18 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
Why should we hate them?
I mean… it’s UNLV. The rivalry between them and us might be the most heated rivalry in the conference. Their fans love to point out any chance they get that San Diego isn’t even a state, and then refer to our school as “STDSU” because they still think those are clever jokes. Meanwhile they take pride in a school newspaper named after a Confederate Army battle cry. And their mascot, with his giant hat and mustache and butt chin, is called Hey Reb! Like, with the exclamation mark and everything, which is just obnoxious.
Do they have any famous alumni we can make fun of?
Only the Mayor of Flavortown himself!
Will we beat them?
Yes. The Aztecs are gonna run the Rebels out of town, get back in the win column and never look back.