UNLV vs. North Texas Bowl Preview
By Tony Gaglione
Las Vegas Informer
The UNLV Rebel football team is making its first bowl appearance in 13 years in the Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. the Mean Green of North Texas University on Jan. 1, 2014 at noon ET.
The Rebels ended the season at 7-5 after last season having a dismal 2-11 record. Led by senior quarterback Caleb Herring, throwing for 2,522 yards on 364 attempts with 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions, the Rebels look to extend their postseason unbeaten streak to four.
In order to unleash the arm of Herring and open up plays downfield the Rebels will have to rely on running back Tim Cornett, who in the regular season ran for 1,251 yards on 252 carries with 15 touchdowns.
Leading the Rebels in receiving this year was Devante Davis who had 77 catches for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns.
On the other side North Texas is coming off a 8-4 regular season in Conference USA and have their defense ranked ninth in the country only allowing 18.1 point per game. On offense UNLV has to be worried about quarterback Derrick Thompson who threw for 2,640 yards on 360 attempts with 14 touchdowns. Although those numbers look good Thompson has also been a bit inconsistent in his passing as he has 13 interceptions on the years as well.
Mean Green running back Brandon Byrd broke the millennium mark this regular season rushing for 1,023 yards on 182 carries adding 11 touchdowns. In addition to Byrd, North Texas spreads the ball around to other rushers as two other players on the Mean Green have six rushing touchdowns, Antoinne Jimmerson, and Reggie Pegram, who both ran for over 300 yards this regular season.
In the receiving game for North Texas the ball is widely spread around the field as three players, Darnell Smith, Carlos Harris and Brelan Chancellor, all have more than 500 yards receiving on the year, Chancellor leading in touchdowns with four.
Unlike most of the games the Rebels fans are used to seeing this season with scores reaching the high forties, this game Between North Texas and UNLV looks to be a pure defensive battle.
If the Rebels are going to pull off a win and extend the postseason winning streak they are going to have to cause problems for Mean Green quarterback Derrick Thompson and force him into mistakes that he is known for making under pressure.
Coach Hauck might have some tricks up his sleeve to bring home a bowl victory to Sin City. This game will be played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas on January 1 at noon ET on ESPNU.
Tony Gaglione was raised on the south side of Chicago and as he said, “I got into sports at a very early age with playing little league baseball and the spirit of competition grew into all sports. I became an avid fan of all sports and played baseball through high school and Amateur Independent leagues. After relocating to Las Vegas I quickly became hooked on the Rebels, Wranglers and 51s. I host an internet sports talk radio show called Smacktalk with my co-host and friend Shawn Adams And one day hope to work for ESPN as a columnist, analyst, or radio show host.”
Tony can be contacted directly at email@example.com.