Published Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 | 11:21 p.m.
UNLV’s comeback attempt came up short on Kurt Palandech’s interception in the final minute as the Rebels lost 30-24 at San Jose State.
The Rebels (3-6, 2-3) were dominated for much of the game by a bad San Jose State (3-6, 2-3) team that had to hold on at the end. Palandech came in for Dalton Sneed in the first half and was OK, but once the Rebels ran out of timeouts and weren’t able to run the ball they lost any real chance of completing the 20-point comeback.
It’s another week where the first half was so awful that it was too much to fight back from despite doing a lot of things better in the second half. Those kind of moral victories don’t feel too important in a season that’s quickly getting far away from where the Rebels thought they could go.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels’ loss.
Basketball is about to start. How many new players can Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer and Case Keefer name? Beyond that the guys talk about expectations for coach Marvin Menzies' first season and whether or not the football team can bounce back this week at San Jose State.
UNLV couldn’t have asked for a much better bounce-back opponent than San Jose State, which is in line for another three- or four-win season after winning a bowl game last year.
The Rebels (3-5, 2-2) and Spartans (2-6, 1-3) kickoff at 7:32 p.m. tonight at CEFCU Stadium. The game will air on CBS Sports Network.
The Rebels were blown out at home last weekend but they again are small favorites this weekend because things have been even worse in San Jose:
UNLV’s offense was completely absent for the first half of last week’s 42-23 loss to Colorado State, for which there’s really no excuse. When the Rebels failed to score an offensive touchdown at San Diego State, at least it was against (arguably) the best defense in the league.
But a 35-0 halftime deficit to a middling Colorado State team? That’s harder to take, yet it could be quickly pushed to the past with a quick start against (arguably) the second-worst team in the league.
UNLV should be able to run all over the Spartans and if redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Sneed avoids turnovers I think he’s going to finish with a stat line similar to the Hawaii game (19-of-27 for 279 yards, 61 rushing yards, 2 TDs).
The Spartans aren’t Fresno State-level bad, but this game is a great opportunity for UNLV’s defense to feast on a meager offense. If they don’t, it probably says more about the Rebels than the Spartans.
Over the last three games, San Jose State senior quarterback Kenny Potter is completing barely over 50 percent of his passes with three interceptions, one touchdown and no more than 175 passing yards in any of the games. Pair that with a rushing attack that’s dead last in the Mountain West during conference games (124.2 yards per game) and you have a vulnerable team waiting to be taken down.
If he had enough returns to qualify, San Jose State’s Thai Cottrell would rank second in the league in average yards per punt return (8.8). In league games he’s averaging 11 yards per return, but since the Spartans’ defense rarely gives him more than one chance per game he’s a bit of a wasted weapon.
For UNLV, sophomore kicker Evan Pantels will try to continue to bounce back from his first missed field goal of the season, which came in the first quarter last weekend. It was his longest attempt of the season (41 yards) and in the third quarter he connected on a 27-yard attempt.
”You can’t get overwhelmed by worrying about how many you need to get in such a short amount of time, but it’s right there in your face. You’ve got to go out and win a game, you do that and great, you’ve extended your opportunity. You don’t do it then that window, I mean, there’s no room for error.”
— Sanchez on the Rebels’ pursuit of a bowl game
If either of these teams hurts themselves with penalty yardage it will be a departure from their performances of late. Through four conference games, UNLV and San Jose State rank first (38) and second (40.5) in the league, respectively, in fewest penalty yards per game.
UNLV 34, San Jose State 26
(2-5 ATS, 4-3 SU, 3-4 O/U)
UNLV 28, San Jose State 24
(5-2 ATS, 6-1 SU, 2-5 O/U)
UNLV 27, San Jose State 20
(1-6 ATS, 5-2 SU, 3-4 O/U)
UNLV 33, San Jose State 20
(3-4 ATS, 6-1 SU, 2-5 O/U)