Unlv vs san jose state
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

New FSM Preview: UNLV vs San Jose State – Week 8

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Rebels (0-6)  |  San Jose State Spartans (3-4)

 

The UNLV Rebels will host their second consecutive home game in Las Vegas this week as they take on the San Jose State Spartans in a Mountain West conference game.

 

UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels are looking to bounce back from a tough loss against Utah State at Allegiant Stadium. Running back Charles Williams had a monster game for the Rebels, being responsible for all three Rebel touchdowns, including a 75-yard sprint to the end zone in the first quarter of the game. Williams carried the ball 27 times and totaled 221 yards on the night. “The Chuck Wagon” needs just 168 yards to break the UNLV All-Time rushing record.

This week, the Rebels take on the Spartans, who currently sit 3-4 on the season and are coming off a tough overtime defeat to No. 22 ranked San Diego State in a hard fought match. The Spartans enter their game against the Rebels as -5 point favorites. The game spread for this week is at 46.5, which projects a medium-high scoring pace between the conference foes.

The Rebels have shown a lot of fight and strong stretches in the last month, but are still searching for that elusive victory to spark more momentum for the team moving forward. The Rebels will see more of an even matchup this week, which will make it crucial for them to take advantage of any openings or bursts of progress that they are presented throughout the game.

 

One thing the Rebels will need to bring to the table this week is mixing up the running plays and getting more creative.

 

UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

This season the Spartans are ranked 31st in Expected Points Added against the rush, which is tough compared to roughly 75% of the nation. Charles Williams had a career game against Utah State and while he will need to try to back up as much of that performance as possible, the rest of the running back roster will need to step up and be given more opportunities to challenge the defense, while keeping their number one back as fresh as they can for the late stretch of the game.

Another area the Rebels will need to step up in for this game is their third down defense. So far the Rebels this season have allowed a third down conversion rate of 44.9%, which is currently ranked at the bottom of the Mountain West Conference. The defense will need to find a way to get stops in order to minimize the Spartans’ time of possession. The Spartans are only 9-of-30 on third down conversions in their last two games, which does give the Rebels an opportunity to add to San Jose’s recent slump.

The Rebels will also need to take full advantage of the red zone and score touchdowns when they get there. The Rebels lead the conference with a 94.4% score rate, but this is only based on a total of 18 trips to the red zone this season, with 10 of them resulting in touchdowns. UNLV will need to control the ball efficiently and get to the red zone when they can and use their conference-leading score rate to their advantage.

A big area to watch for is the passing game. UNLV will need to lock down their pass defense, especially San Jose State’s main target, tight end Derrick Deese Jr. The Rebels have given up an average of nine yards per pass attempt, ranked 121st in the FBS, and a completion rate of 72.8% which ranks last in the nation. In order to succeed against the pass, the Rebels will need to tighten their coverage and make it difficult for Spartans quarterback Nick Neese to connect with Deese Jr. and limit Neese’s passing options.

 

UNLV hosts San Jose State in a Mountain West conference matchup at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada this Thursday night at 8:00. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

 

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Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Matt on Twitter @RecordBowler19

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