BREAKING NEWS: Dixon named starter for opener

ELY – With the season-opener just two weeks from tonight at Utah State, UNLV head football coach Mike Sanford felt he couldn't wait any longer to name his starting quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Travis Dixon, making the most of his chance while 2006 starter Rocky Hinds remains in Los Angeles awaiting tests for his sore right knee, was named the starter tonight during a team meeting.

For those who have been around two-a-days here this week the news is really no surprise.

Dixon, a 6-1, 195-pounder from Hamilton High in Chandler, Ariz., who quarterbacked the Huskies to back-to-back 5A titles, seems to have gained the confidence of his teammates with his improving play here. A shifty and tough runner, Dixon has also made major strides with his passing the past week, repeatedly shredded the first team defense with touchdown passes during a scrimmage on Tuesday.

"You saw it," Sanford said when asked if the scrimmage performance was the deciding factor. "The number one thing is that Travis has made a tremendous commitment. He's been here the entire camp. And he's showed a ton of improvement in camp.

"(Hinds) situation is very uncertain from a medical standpoint. The hope is Rocky can get squared away and get back to camp soon."

When will that be?

"Honestly, I have no idea," Sanford said.

Hinds, who had his third surgery and second major one on his right ACL in January, left camp on Sunday with swelling in the knee. He drove back to Los Angeles where he met with the doctor who performed the surgeries, Dr. Clarence Shields.

It was expected that Hinds would rejoin the team as early as Tuesday night after no further structural damage was found. However, it was later determined he would undergo one more strength test on the knee before returning. And as of Thursday night, Hinds still hadn't taken that test.

Sanford, who had maintained all along that it was a two quarterback race between Hinds and Dixon for the starting job, decided he had seen enough from Dixon to make his choice before Saturday morning's final major scrimmage.

"Travis has always been a good runner," Sanford said. "But he has improved a lot as a passer and a decision-maker. He earned the job."

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