Unlv vs hawaii
Photo Credit: University of Hawaii Athletics

New FSM Preview: UNLV vs Hawaii – Week 11

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Rebels (1-8)  |  Hawaii Warriors (4-6)

 

The UNLV Rebels return home this week to take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in a Mountain West Conference matchup at Allegiant Stadium.

 

UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

When we last saw the Rebels, the team was in New Mexico, notching their first victory in two seasons with a 31-17 win over the New Mexico Lobos and their first victory under head coach Marcus Arroyo. Now, the Rebels are preparing for battle against the Rainbow Warriors, who come in as the favorites at just -3 for the margin.

The cover is projected at 56.5, potentially calling for a higher scoring pace than their last game. Hawaii leads the all-time series against the Rebels 18-12, with UNLV’s most recent win against the Rainbow Warriors coming back in 2017, winning 31-23 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

UNLV wide receiver Kyle Williams is one of the leading players to watch out for this Saturday afternoon. Williams’ best game of his UNLV career came last season against Hawaii, which might give him a psychological advantage against his defenders. Williams, this season has 473 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 33 catches, including 137 yards and a touchdown against New Mexico. UNLV is averaging 183.1 passing yards per game this season, which would call for Williams to give quarterback Cam Friel more opportunities to look for him on shorter routes and save the big plays for the end.

 

Doug Brumfield hasn’t had too many touches this season due to his injury report and is out for the remainder of the year due to an ankle injury.

 

UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

On that note, Friel, the quarterback of the Rebels, is currently 65.3% on his passes this season, amounting to 1,262 passing yards with six touchdowns. One concern is that Friel has more interceptions than touchdowns, sitting at seven picks so far. Friel and the Rebels offense may have their work cut out for them as the Hawaii defense has forced 15 turnovers already in 2021, ranked third in college football.

The Rainbow Warriors have also sacked quarterbacks 11 times on the season, 33rd best in football. So Friel will need to be careful with passes while the rest of the offense will need to step up in hanging on to the football this week.

Running back Charles Williams in 2021 has 156 carries for a total of 823 rushing yards and ten touchdowns, with two of them coming against the Lobos. Williams will be attacking a Rainbow Warriors defense that allows 149.8 rushing yards per game, ranked 72nd in college football. While the stats provide a golden opportunity for Williams to pick apart the Hawaii defense, they will test his explosive work on the field as the Rebels overall are averaging just 76.9 rushing yards per game.

Williams passed Tim Cornett (2010-13) to become UNLV’s career rushing king last week and needs just 237 yards to reach the 4,000 career rushing mark. Next up, the Chuck Wagon needs 34 yards to move past Boise State’s Jay Ajayi (3,796 from 2012-14) into fourth place on the Mountain West career rushing list.

The other big wideout for the Rebels, Steve Jenkins, currently has 440 yards on 36 catches and four touchdowns this season. Like Williams, Jenkins may need to shorten his routes and get more creative against the Hawaii defense to allow Friel to get the ball to him, move the ball down the field efficiently, and control the game. Jenkins had a quiet game against the Lobos when he caught just four passes for 20 yards, so look for a bounce-back game this week from one of the main wideouts.

 

The UNLV Rebels will take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday at 1:00. The game can be listened to on ESPN 1100 AM and 100.9 FM radio.

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Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Matt on Twitter @RecordBowler19

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