#96 UNLV Football 2013 Preview

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

Overall Rank: #96
#10 Mountain West

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UNLV has experienced better seasons on the football field than the one they experienced in 2011-2012.  Their only two wins of the season came from within the conference and they finished with a terrible 2-11 record.  This is all despite pretty good quarterback play from freshman Nick Sherry.  As he continues to grow in the program, hopefully UNLV will see an upturn in their on-field performance.  The problem is that the Rebels need to turn it around soon.  If head coach Bobby Hauck finishes with his third straight two-win season, he could be out the door.  His job is most likely on the line this coming season.

2012 Record: (2-11, 2-6)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Bobby Hauck (4th year, 6-32 at UNLV, 84-38 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Timm Rosenbach
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Hauck

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tim Cornett, RB, 1,232 yards
Passing: Nick Sherry, QB, 2,544 yards
Receiving: Devante Davis, WR, 854 yards
Tackles: Tim Hasson, DB, 76
Sacks: Sonny Sanitoa, 5.0
Interceptions: Keys/Wilson, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: LB Tani Maka, WR Marcus Sullivan, DL Mark Garrick

Key Losses: RB Bradley Randle, LB John Lotulelei

There is not much to speak of in the way of strengths.  The first thing one would point to is that the offensive line held up pretty well for most of the season to keep Nick Sherry upright and clean.  His own athletic ability certainly helped in the sack department.  Generally, they gave up less than two sacks per game.  Another positive to take out of the season that was for UNLV is the performance of Sherry under center.  Coach Hauck has to feel pretty good about the future of that position.  He threw a bunch of interceptions, but that could be expected from a guy playing on a big stage for the first time.  Veteran running back Tim Cornett will look to add to a solid performance in the coming season.  He ran for over 1,200 yards as a junior.  He will be important to Sherry’s development.  He can take some pressure off of the passing game.  

There were quite a few last season.  The biggest problem for them was finding the end zone.  The team mustered 22 points per game in 2012.  That generally will not cut it in big time college football.  They were eighth in the conference in scoring.  Worse than their offensive performance (which actually averaged nearly 150 yards per game rushing) was their defense.  They had one of the worst rush defenses in all of college football last year.  They gave up a blistering 207 yards per game on the ground.  Not only does that create scoring opportunities for the opposing offense, but it also keeps the Rebel offense off the field.  The defense would clearly be tired by the fourth quarter.  They were getting worn down.  The defense gave up nearly 450 total yards per game, which was actually just the third worst total in the conference.  Still, no team finds themselves on the right side of the win column with numbers like that.  To compound matters, they had one of the worst special teams units in the country as well.  They averaged only 34 yards per punt and just 19 yards per punt return.

The Bottom Line:
UNLV and their fan base probably should not expect too much this coming season.  Wins are going to be important for Hauck, but he might be biting his nails for most of the fall.  Their defensive production in terms of sack totals and general backfield disruption is going to have to increase.  Unfortunately, the Rebels lose one of their best linebackers in John Lotulelei.  Someone will have to step in and replace him.  Look for flashes of great play in Sherry.  He seems poised to improve on his numbers and truly grab hold of this team.  He will need to cut down on his interceptions, but he looks like he could be a star in the Mountain West.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 149.08 (76th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 218.85 (74, 5)
Total Offense: 367.92 (88, 8)
Scoring Offense: 22.0 (95, 8)
Rushing Defense: 207.08 (106, 8)
Pass Defense: 238.15 (68, 9)
Total Defense: 445.23 (98, 9)
Scoring Defense: 32.62 (95, 7)
Turnover Margin: -.46 (94, 8)
Sacks: 1.54 (93, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (60, 5)


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