Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 | 3:52 p.m.
Dalton Sneed, UNLV football’s redshirt freshman quarterback, has thrown for five touchdowns and ran for another this season. This Friday night at Boise State, he’ll try to catch a touchdown pass.
Rebels coach Tony Sanchez announced today that Sneed will play wide receiver against Boise State, stepping in at a position depleted because of injuries. Devonte Boyd, the Rebels’ leading receiver, broke his arm last week against Wyoming and is lost for the season — the fourth scholarship receiver to suffer a season-ending injury.
“Sunday night, (Sneed) came in and talked to me and after thinking about it, it was kind of a no-brainer,” Sanchez said. “He is a competitor, a great athlete, and he came to us and said, ‘I want to help the team.’”
Sneed started five games at quarterback this season for the Rebels, leading the team to wins over Fresno State and Hawaii.
He has never played receiver, even in high school, but showed he has the athleticism by rushing for 355 yards this season, including a spectacular 91-yard touchdown against Fresno State. Sneed, who lost the starting job to Kurt Palandech, will likely finish the season at wide receiver before coaches determine his position for next season and beyond.
“You get a guy like Dalton Sneed and he’s a tremendous athlete and he’s had some great plays this year, so let’s find a way to get the ball in his hands,” Sanchez said.
Sneed joins an incredibly depleted receiving corps that may be led by former defensive back Jericho Flowers.
“Four weeks ago, (Flowers) was just playing on some special teams and was a third-string corner, and now he’s catching two touchdowns in the last game,” Sanchez said. “That’s a big, big deal for those guys to step up like that and make big plays.”
Flowers caught three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, and ran twice for 27 yards and a score on the ground in UNLV’s 69-66 triple-overtime win over Wyoming.
“He’s just a good athlete,” Sanchez said. “When we looked at it, he wasn’t contributing on defense, so we figured what the heck, it’s not going to hurt the defense. He’s an athletic guy, so let’s go ahead and make the move.”
The Rebels have lost their top four receivers entering the season — Devonte Boyd, Kendall Keys, Darren Woods Jr. and Brandon Pressley — all with season-ending injuries.
“It’s kind of a crazy deal. Our whole staff talked about it — that we’ve never seen one entire group,” Sanchez said. “It’s one of those deals where you almost have to laugh about it.”
UNLV (4-6, 3-3) travels to Boise to take on the No. 22 Broncos (9-1, 5-1) at 6 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.