Analysis:

Take 5: Looking through the Rebels’ remaining games for potential victories

After Saturday UNLV has now lost 19 straight road games, but with two road games at Mountain West bottom-feeders still left the streak may end this year

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Associated Press

Boise State’s Jerrell Gavins (4) makes an interception in the end zone against UNLV’s Eric Johnson (9) during the first half Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Boise, Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho — After living through the past four games — three double-digit road losses and a kick to the teeth against UNR — it’s easy to forget there’s still a good chance UNLV (1-7, 1-2) will win again this year.

The way the Rebels’ schedule was set up, their best chance for victories was going to be at the beginning and the end of the year. They only managed one victory in that home four-pack, but now at least they’re through the roughest stretch of the year.

Saturday’s 32-7 defeat at Boise State (6-1, 3-0) was uninspiring, to say the least. And just because the schedule lightens up doesn’t mean UNLV will take advantage (see: Arizona, Northern).

Still, there are potentially some better days ahead, with both of the conference’s winless teams still on the schedule. So, here’s a look at the remaining five games and where they rank in terms of the Rebels’ chances to win:

1. At Colorado State

Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m.

It’s counterintuitive that a team working on a 19-game road losing streak would find its best chance for victory away from home, but that’s just the way it is. In fact the top two games on this list are both away from Sam Boyd Stadium because those home teams are just that bad.

Colorado State has had to go down to its third-string quarterback, though by the second week of November the first two guys may be capable of playing. No matter whom the Rams put behind center nobody has had much success at that spot. First-year coach Jim McElwain is searching for anything to go right, the exact type of situation the Rebels may be able to exploit.

2. At Hawaii

Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m.

Two teams. One game. Zero interest outside of both campuses, and by that point probably not much there, either.

It’s hard to figure out where both of these teams will be mentally by the end of the year. The game is right after Thanksgiving, which may or may not matter to the players on either side. And for the Rebels it may be extremely difficult to stay mentally focused on a mostly meaningless game at the end of the year while they’re presented with the distractions of Hawaii.

That said, the Warriors are so bad that this could go at the top of the list. First-year coach Norm Chow’s defensive line is down a few players, creating holes that the Rebels’ rushing attack should plow through.

Between these first two games, UNLV absolutely must snap that road losing streak. It won’t get any easier.

3. Wyoming

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.

The Cowboys give up more than 30 points a game. Their lone victory was in overtime at Idaho, which on Saturday was getting beat at Louisiana Tech even worse than UNLV did. And, most importantly, Wyoming has an offense UNLV should actually be able to handle.

The Cowboys squeak into the top half of the national leaders in passing yardage, and they combine that with a mediocre rushing game. This isn’t to say that UNLV will roll to a win, just that at this stage it looks like the Rebels’ best last chance for another home victory.

4. New Mexico

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.

In the preseason when people, including myself, tried to figure out how many victories the Rebels were likely to claim in 2012, this was one of them. That’s no longer a certainty.

In fact the Lobos, who are near bowl eligibility under first-year coach Bob Davie, will certainly be favored in Las Vegas. Their option attack will present the same type of problems as Air Force and, to a degree, UNR.

Of all the games that remain, this is the one that would probably hurt fans the most to lose. As bad as things have been for UNLV’s football program, it was often worse in Albuquerque. Losing to a man who has injected such life into New Mexico in just his first season would be the final straw for a lot of people who want to move on from UNLV coach Bobby Hauck.

5. At San Diego State

Saturday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.

UNLV doesn’t need to win this game because San Diego State is definitely the better team. To get closer to wins in the final four games, though, the Rebels need a much better performance than they had at Boise State.

The Aztecs’ give up a couple more passing yards per game than do the Rebels. Both rank in the 90s nationally.

As long as UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry is healthy and can play, there’s no reason the Rebels shouldn’t at least be competitive.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. As long as Sherry is healty!? Should have been taken out much earlier,what was the point keeping him in game? That's the future of the team right there and you leave him to the wolves? DOn't think SDSU is that much better besides past record(they have had much easier schedule this year than UNLV) Rebels better do more than just compete next week,if they lose bad-pressure will build. Especially against New Mexico, they were dogs last few years and now in 1st year under Davie are winning with same talent as before (although Locksley was supposedly was a good recruiter). Would be real embarrasing if Hauck could not defeat Lobos at home.

  2. Road Loss number 20 at San Diego State Long and Staff will out coach Bobby and his staff

  3. If one wonders whether UNLV made the right choice for a head coach, look no further than New Mexico. The Lobos won two games in two seasons and part of a third under Mike Locksley. This season, a FIRST YEAR coach has them on the verge of bowl eligibility. Three years into the Hauck experiment, UNLV is still losing to FCS opponents and blowing games in every way imaginable.

    Don't even try telling me that New Mexico is a more lucrative destination, or that UNM's program was in worse shape (even though Hauck managed to give them their only victory of the season a year ago).

    The right choice can make all the difference. UNLV didn't make it.

  4. Bobby Hauck needs to be on the hot seat! Either you win the last 4 out of 5 or your gone.

    No one to blame but himself! I am tired of hearing his players are too young. This is his third year! Losing to NAU is just unacceptable.