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Game Thread Ohio State vs UNLV, 09/23/17 @ TBD

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by ScriptOhio, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    2017 LOOK AHEAD: UNLV AT OHIO STATE

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    When Tony Sanchez entered his second season at UNLV, he probably thought he could lead the Rebels to at least six wins and a bowl appearance. A 3-9 record in his 2015 debut season was understandable, as he formulated his coaching staff and began recruiting talent to Sin City.

    Well, things don't always work out the way any of us think they will.

    While Sanchez's team "improved" to 4-8 in 2016, a rash of injuries absolutely decimated depth on a roster that lacked it. We'll get into more of this shortly but perhaps the most striking note about the Rebels from a year ago is that by season's end, Sanchez had to start players that were recruited to play quarterback and cornerback at wide receiver. Yeah.

    Different circumstances inflict themselves upon any and every coach in all sports, so those in Las Vegas that care about UNLV football should probably applaud Sanchez for even winning four games. In 2017, he faces a multitude of questions at the game's most important position, quarterback, and must replace essentially every starter on a defense that wasn't close to being formidable.

    On top of it all, Sanchez will continue to be judged for his decision to bring 66-year-old Kent Baer as defensive coordinator and then 60-year-old Barney Cotton to direct the offense. Seasoned veterans, sure, but both are at least 17 years older than their boss.

    The Rebels make the long trip to Columbus on Sept. 23 to face Ohio State for the first time ever. Let's get to know them a little bit more.

    OFFENSE

    There are so many ways to dissect UNLV's production on offense in 2016. Pretty much all of them revolve around injuries and the subsequent adjustments that the coaching staff had to make as a result.

    The Rebels averaged 31.6 points per game, good for 47th-most in the country. They still lost eight games, which is more an indictment on their defense than anything. We'll get to that below.

    What is staggering about how UNLV moved the ball last fall was who physically was doing it. Returning leading rusher Keith Whitely left the team in August, then No. 2 receiver Kendal Keys was lost for the season with a knee injury in training camp. Top punt returner and wide receiver Brandon Presley broke his foot in the first game of the season and never returned to the field. No. 1 receiver Devonte Boyd missed the final two games with a broken arm and Darren Woods, another receiver, missed the last six with a knee injury. The hits just kept coming for Sanchez and Cotton.

    Additionally, a trio of quarterbacks took the lion's share of the snaps in what essentially amounted to three separate four-game stretches. Those names: Johnny Stanton, Kurt Palandech and Dalton Sneed. The latter was the player mentioned earlier who finished 2016 as a wide receiver. So yeah — anytime Cotton would get some semblance of a game plan and consistency put together, one of his key pieces hit the injury report.

    UNLV FILE

    Head Coach Tony Sanchez (3rd season, 7-17 record at UNLV)
    2016 Record 4-8, tied for 3rd in the Mountain West's West Division
    2016 Postseason None
    Biggest Losses C Will Kreitler, RB David Greene, 10 starters on defense
    Biggest Returnees RBs Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas, 4 starters on OL, WR Devonte Boyd
    Summary UNLV's 2016 campaign was riddled with injury. Can its defense stop anybody?
    Matchup Sept. 23, 2017: UNLV at Ohio State, kickoff TBA

    Still, the Rebels moved the ball with some regularity in the high-scoring Mountain West mostly due to a terrific offensive line that somehow managed to steer clear of the injury bug. All five players up front started every single game last season, and only Will Kreitler, the center, exhausted his eligibility.

    UNLV ran the ball with terrific efficiency, either with their stable of quarterbacks — all three who started averaged at least 5.7 yards per carry — or with running backs Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas. The latter tied with David Greene for the team lead with eight rushing touchdowns. Seven different players rushed for more than 215 yards, led by Williams, who tallied 763 at 5.4 yards per carry.

    Sanchez and Cotton pieced together the Mountain West's fourth-best rushing attack, even though defenses knew the odds the Rebels were going to throw the ball were minuscule. For perspective on how inept the passing game was: UNLV had games where its quarterbacks completed eight, two, seven and nine passes last season. It won one of those, 45-20 against Fresno State, who went 1-11.

    Entire article: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2017/06/82992/ohio-state-buckeyes-unlv-rebels-meet-for-first-time-ever-in-2017
     
  2. Jaxbuck

    Jaxbuck I hate tsun

  3. RugbyBuck

    RugbyBuck Our church has no bells.

    Fired up! I think Mrs. RugbyBuck and I will becoming up for this weekend. Our birthday is that Friday and we haven't been to Columbus since 2011.
     
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