UNLV Rebels 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 3-9
UNLV Rebels 2016 Preview
The UNLV Rebels look to make a run at the 2016 postseason in Tony Sanchez’ second year at the helm.
Overview: Tony Sanchez has gone from high school coaching legend to running a UNLV program that hasn’t had much success. Despite a 3-9 rookie campaign there were signs that Sanchez is heading in the right direction.
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Offense: With Blake Decker gone, backup Kurt Palandech might be the heir apparent at quarterback but JUCO transfer Johnny Stanton has the credentials to snag the starting job for the Rebels. Devonte Boyd (54-904) and Kendal Keys (43-515) return as the top receiving options although the passing attack needs far more consistency. UNLV has plenty of potential on the ground with Keith Whitely, Xzavier Campbell and Lexington Thomas combining for almost 1,700 yards with Palandech adding another 401 yards. The Rebels O-Line returns three starters and five with starting experience but this group gave up 30+ sacks.
Defense: Mike Hughes Jr. and Jeremiah Valoaga led the Rebels defensive line with 7.5 TFL but injuries hurt this unit so a healthy unit in 2016 adds up to more production and depth…on paper. UNLV gets back three of their top four linebackers back with Ryan McAleenan recording 69 tackles including four TFL and 1.5 sacks while Tau Lotulelei totaling 11.5 TFL and another three sacks. The front seven had issues against the run and generating a pass rush and a decent Rebels secondary didn’t even face enough passing with teams opting to run. Corner Torry McTyer paced UNLV with ten passes defended while Tim Hough recorded four interceptions.
Special Teams: Evan Pantels takes over as the Rebels punter with Logan Yunker graduating while Nicolai Bornand is back to handle placekicking duties. Lexington Thomas and Keith Whitely will handle kick and punt return duties.
Outlook: I think we see improvement from UNLV but stopping the run and a lack of a pass rush is a real concern. Another win or two is certainly possible but predicting Bowl eligibility seems to be a reach.
9/1 Jackson State
9/10 @ UCLA
9/17 @ Central Michigan
10/1 Fresno State
10/8 @ San Diego State
10/15 @ Hawaii
10/22 Colorado State
10/29 @ San Jose State
11/18 @ Boise State