Saturday night college football and we will see the UNLV Rebels travel to Fresno, California to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. The game will be televised on the Mountain West Network and has a start time of 10:00 pm (Eastern). Current Odds have Fresno State listed as 25 point favorites, while the total sits at 74.5.
Analysis: Since dropping the first two games of the year vs Minnesota (51-23) and Arizona (58-13), the UNLV defense has tightened up and the offense has become more proficient in claiming four straight victories. UNLV's fortunes turned this year when QB Caleb Herring took over for the ineffective Nick Sherry. Caleb Herring 34-of-57 passes for 385 yards and a score last week vs Hawaii and he now has completed 69.4% of his passes for 1098 yards, with 9 Tds and just 1 INT on the year. The running game is in good hands behind Tim Cornett, who has rushed for 690 yards and 9 TD's on the year. Over on the defensive side of the ball the Rebels possess 8th best pass defense in the country, permitting a mere 165.8 ypg, but they have had trouble stopping the run, giving up 259.0 ypg to rank 119th in the FBS.
Seeking their first 6-0 start in more than a decade, the Bulldogs are also trying to record their 11th consecutive regular-season win as well. Fresno State last took the field on Oct. 5 in Moscow, Idaho versus the Vandals and crushed its former league mates in a 61-14 final. The Fresno State offense is led by Derek Carr, who is one of the nation's top passers with an average of 372.8 ypg. Carr now needs just three TD passes and 33 completions to break Fresno State's all-time records in those two categories. He also needs just 376 yards passing to reach 10,000 for his career. The Fresno defense has struggled this year, especially vs the pass, ranking 114th in the country with 301.4 ypg allowed through the air, and that has led to 33.4 ppg being scored by the opposition, which is 103rd in the nation. The teams have not played each other since 1997 when Fresno State captured a 46-28 win, pushing its lead in the all-time series to 11-4.
Pick: I will go with the momentum of the Rebels in this one. In no way do I expect them to pull the outright upset, but this team is a very confident one right now and should be able to hang with in the big number. Both teams possess high powered offenses and UNLV should be able to match points with a Bulldog squad that has allowed 33.4 ppg and 444.8 ypg on the year. Yes the UNLV defense has allowed 36 ppg on the year, but just 28.3 ppg in their last 3 games. The stats for these teams are pretty even, so in know way would I expect the Rebels to lose this one by 24+ points. The Fresno defense will keep this highly motivated UNLV squad in the game the whole four quarters.
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