UNLV vs Arizona: College Football Week 1 Preview and Analysis


UNLV at ArizonaTUCSON, Ariz. – The UNLV Rebels lost the Heart of Dallas Bowl 36-14 to North Texas to close the year at 7-6 but will open this season at the Arizona Wildcats who finished with a solid 42-19 AdvoCare V100 Bowl win over Boston College to finish 8-5.

The Rebels will have some new faces in key spots offensively but will have an experienced group led by three seniors including left tackle Brett Boyko (6’-7”, 310). A duo of senior pass catchers returns with Devante Davis (87 catches, 1,290 yards, 14 TD) and Marcus Sullivan (45 catches, 505 yards, 5 TD) giving new starting quarterback junior Blake Decker experienced targets to which to throw. Sophomore Keith Whitley and junior David Greene will both see work at running back.

Senior defensive end Jordan Sparkman (37 tackles, 3.5 for loss) is the most experienced lineman in the group. Senior corners Tajh Hasson (49 tackles, 11 PD) and Kenneth Penny (32 tackles, 18 PD) will hold down passing attacks while junior safety Peni Vea (108 tackles, 3 for loss) will be a key run stopper.

The Arizona offense that averaged 34 points a game is being placed in the hands of freshman quarterback Anu Solomon who will have the benefit of an experienced line and will have a couple of experienced targets. However, the offense is a run-dominant spread and with new faces at running back getting the gears going may be tricky.

Sophomore middle linebacker Scooby Wright III (83 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 1 INT) leads a defensive unit that allowed 24 points a game last season. Senior bandit Jared Tevis (83 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT) will play a hybrid linebacker/safety position. Senior corner Jonathan McKnight (54 tackles, 2 INT) led the team with eight passes defensed last season. However, the defensive line is pretty inexperienced and could be an issue.

Keys for UNLV Win

Decker must manage the game and control the clock without turnovers. Hassan and Penny will have to shut down the passing attack.

Keys For Arizona Win

Solomon must be a quick study and run an efficient and complicated offense. Wright III and Tevis must control the run game.

Key Injuries :



Latest Line, Arizona -23.5


Arizona has a potent offense and a solid defense that will give UNLV issues if the Rebels can’t force turnovers or commit some themselves.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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