November 14, 2012
Wyoming at UNLV Preview
The Wyoming Cowboys will be seeking their third consecutive win of the season when they travel to Las Vegas to play the UNLV Rebels on Saturday, a game scheduled for the 2 PM mst kickoff.
UW enters the game with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-4 Mountain West Conference mark. UNLV has struggled under third year coach Bobby Hauck at 2-9 overall and 2-4 in the Mountain West.
The Rebels will say goodbye to a class of 15 seniors during day after they suffered a 33-11 loss at Colorado State and this usually serves as a motivational edge for the home team honoring seniors.
The Cowboys will be challenged not only by a pumped up senior class, but also by some individual talent like RB Tim Cornett, who has rushed for 1,144 yards, which already ranks fifth on the school's single-season list.
Stopping Cornett and success on rush defense will be a factor after the Pokes were hit for 396 yards rushing against the Lobos and 6.3 yards per carry.
"It goes back to understanding concepts," said UW hed coach Dave Christensen. "Being disciplined with your eyes and taking care of your responsibility first."
UNLV LB John Lotulelei is tied for first in the Mountain West in tackles and will lead a fairly athletic but inconsistent Rebel defense looking to put pressure on the Pokes QB Brett Smith and improving group of receivers.
UNLV freshmen quarterback Nick Sherry is questionable for the game which could help the UW defense giving up big plays in the passing game.
Christensen hopes his defense can rebound after emphasizing more fundamentals and concentration.
"Blown assignments," said Christensen. "A guy isn't where he's supposed to be. A guy doesn't cover who he's suppose to cover. A guy doesn't play the gap he suppose to play."
The Cowboys are coming off two consecutive wins over Colorado State and New Mexico entering this week's game. It is the first time this season that UW has won back-to-back games.
Smith is playing some of his best football of the season. Last week against New Mexico, the UW quarterback threw for a career high 374 yards and hasn't thrown an interception in the last two games.
In his last three games versus Boise State, Colorado State and New Mexico, Smith has completed 63 of 99 pass attempts, thrown no interceptions, nine touchdown passes and passed for 825 yards.
The Wyoming receiving corp is making progress led by senior Chris McNeill, and underclassmen Dominic Rufran, Jalen Claiborn and big play junior Robert Herron who is bouncing back from early season injury.
The group combined with Smith has a good chance to move the ball on a Rebel defense that has allowed nearly 32 points per game.
Cowboy senior DT Mike Purcell will lead a defense that has some Rebel skill players to contend including Cornett, and wide receivers Devante Davis and Marcus Sullivan that have combined for 103 catches and 1,354 yards on the season.
The turnover advantage likely a factor Saturday. Wyoming began the 2012 season with a -4 turnover margin in the first two games of the season, they now have improved to a +8 turnover margin over their last eight games.
Wyoming has also battled some injuries on defense with safety Luke Ruff and linebacker Oliver Schober out for Saturday.
Defensive ends Sonny Puletasi and Miraldo Michel didn't play last week and are probable for UNLV.
Saturday's television coverage will be carried live on K2TV of Casper and KKTU TV of Cheyenne on the Cowboy Radio Sports Network.
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