Game Week: UNLV Facts and Factors

Sep. 9 -- UCLA takes a Vegas road trip to play the long-time beleaguered UNLV Running Rebels Saturday...

• UCLA goes on a Vegas road trip this week to play UNLV Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m.  The game will be televised by CBSSportsNetwork.

•  UCLA, after its win over Virginia last week in its home opener, held its ranking at #13 in the AP Poll, and moved up to #13 in the Coaches’ Poll.

•  Last week to start its season, UNLV traveled to Northern Illinois and lost 38-30.   Just in case you don’t know, Northern Illinois is an FBS school in the Mid-American Conference.

•  The UCLA game marks the third time in the 48 years of UNLV football that it will open its home season with a game against a Pac-12 team. It did so in 2013 against Arizona and in 1991 against Oregon State.

•  UCLA currently being ranked 13th, it’s the ninth-highest ranked team to play UNLV in Las Vegas.

•  UNLV plays its home games in Sam Boyd Stadium, which is about 7 ½ miles east of UNLV’s campus. It seats 35,500 and uses turf, which was actually replaced this summer.   When installing the new turf, the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was added to the end zones. 

Sam Boyd Stadium

•  It’s the first time ever that UCLA and UNLV will meet on a football field.  The Rebels return the favor next year by traveling to the Rose Bowl Sept. 10th, 2016.

•  UNLV has played six programs that were members of the Pac-12 Conference at the time, and has a 4-13 record against them.  It’s 1-0 against ASU and is 3-2 against Oregon State.

•  UCLA is 41-6-1 all-time against teams in the current Mountain West Conference.  All four losses have come against Air Force (UCLA Is 6-4-1 against them).   UCLA is 21-0-1 against San Diego State.

•  UCLA, even though it’s never played UNLV, has played in Sam Boyd Stadium, standing 1-2 all time in its appearances in the Las Vegas Bowl, which are played at Sam Boyd.   The Bruins lost to BYU in 2007 and Wyoming in 2004, while beating New Mexico in 2002.

•  UCLA has won 12 of its last 13 non-conference matchups and nine in a row since losing to Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl. 

•  If UCLA beats UNLV, it will have set a record for the most consecutive victories in games played away from the Rose Bowl. The streak is currently at 10, which matches the school record set in 1997-98.

•  UNLV is 5-36 all-time against teams ranked in at least one of the two major polls.  Their most recent win over a ranked team was in 2008 when it upset ASU in overtime.  It has lost 16 consecutive games at home against ranked teams.  It has beaten only one ranked team in Sam Boyd in its history, in 1984 when Randall Cunningham led the Rebels to a win over #20-ranked Cal State Fullerton.

•  UNLV is helmed by first-year coach Tony Sanchez (41), who comes to UNLV from the local powerhouse high school program, Bishop Gorman.   Sanchez spent six years at Bishop Gorman, posting a record of 85-5, and netting six consecutive 4A championships. His 2014 team finished 15-0 and won the mythical high school national championship.  Bishop Gorman’s football program and facilities rival some FBS programs, and Sanchez was an integral part of that.  In fact, some observers have said that Bishop Gorman’s facilities easily surpass UNLV’s.   Sanchez played ball at New Mexico State and started his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 1996.  He was a positions coach at various high schools until he was the head coach at San Ramon (Calif.) California High in 2004, and then Bishop Gorman in 2009.   Sanchez has been noteworthy so far as UNLV’s head coach in that he’s embraced and promoted Las Vegas and the Strip, rather than shun it. In fact, when recruits and their families he extols the Strip’s economic virtues.  At Bishop Gorman, Sanchez was known to be a good offensive coach.

•  In fact, the 30 points UNLV scored last week against Northern Illinois in their loss were the most in a season opener for the Rebels since 1984. 

•  It’s a rarity for high school head coaches to make the jump to college head coach. Since 1974, only three other high school coaches have been hired by what is now an FBS level program.  The most recent was Todd Dodge, who was hired at North Texas in 2007, and went 6-37 in 3 ½ seasons.

•  UCLA’s Jim Mora knows Sanchez, having recruited a number of players at Bishop Gorman in recent years.  The most high profile was Cordell Broadus, the son of Snoop Dogg, who came to UCLA this season from Bishop Gorman as a true freshman, only to quit football before reporting to fall camp.

•  Last season, UNLV averaged just 15,674 fans per home game.

•  While the UNLV basketball team has had some success in its history, and is generally supported by fans, its football team is kind of the poor stepchild of the city.  UNLV has had one winning season in the last 15 years, going 7-6 in 2013.   It posted 12 consecutive losing seasons from 2001 to 2012.   Since becoming a division 1-A program in 1982, the Rebels have had just five winning seasons.

•  UCLA is favored by 29½ points. 

• For years it was illegal to bet on UNLV games in Las Vegas, but it’s been legal for about the last 14 years, so UCLA fans visiting Vegas this weekend will be able to find some action on the game.

•  The weather forecast calls for a high of 105 degrees in Las Vegas on Saturday, and probably in the high 90s at game time. 

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