Colorado State vs. UNLV prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Rams and Rebels.
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
This season hasn’t been great for Mike Bobo’s Rams (3-4). After falling in back-to-back games to Minnesota and Wyoming, Colorado State recovered with a 31-24 win over Utah State two weeks ago. But last week, the Rams dropped a close one to Boise State on the road, 28-23. After this matchup in Boise, Colorado State will alternate home and away games through the rest of the season.
The Rebels (3-4) are in a similar boat with their season. They snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Fresno State three weeks ago, but then UNLV fell on the road to San Diego State. Last week, Tony Sanchez’s team dropped a close one on the road to Hawaii, 41-38
Colorado State has taken the last two matchups with UNLV, including last season’s 49-35 win in Fort Collins. The Rams lead the all-time series, 15-6-1, and they haven’t dropped a game to the Rebels since 2011.
What To Know About Colorado State
Nick Stevens has been thrust back into the starting job with Colin Hill out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, but he played well against the Broncos last time out. Stevens completed 17-of-31 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Dalyn Dawkins reeled in one of them and finished with five catches for 24 yards. Michael Gallup caught the other touchdown pass and recorded three other receptions for a total of 91 yards.
Dawkins, though, also did work in the running game. The Rams gave him 14 carries, and he took ’em for 66 yards. Izzy Matthews added 55 yards and a score on 11 carries, and Stevens rushed for 48 yards on six runs.
What to Know About UNLV
Stevens was good last week but not as solid as Dalton Sneed was in the Rebels’ win over Hawaii. Sneed connected on 19-of-27 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, he ran for 61 yards on 11 carries. One of his scoring strikes went to Devonte Boyd, who led the squad with six catches for 83 yards, and the other went to Lexington Thomas, who had two catches for 43 yards.
Thomas also shouldered the load on the ground, too. He took 21 rushing attempts for 102 yards and broke his way into the end zone once. While Charles Williams added 85 rushing yards, it was David Greene and his two rushing touchdowns that really packed a punch.
Offense: UNLV – Thomas is simply too much to handle in the running game, and he has Sneed there to compliment him.
Defense: Colorado State – The Rebels are allowing two more points per game than the Rams, but Colorado State has been a better pass rushing team.
Special Teams: UNLV – Evan Pantels hasn’t missed a kick yet this season and has totaled 48 points. He’s also averaging 42.3 yards per punt.
Coaching: Colorado State – Going with Bobo here because he made the decision to pull Stevens for Hill, and then he put Stevens back in, and the quarterback responded well. It’s a trivial reason, sure, but it’s still a reason in a matchup of two sub-.500 teams.
Matchup To Watch
Nick Stevens vs. Dalton Sneed
Both quarterbacks are only in the position they’re in because of injuries. Had Johnny Stanton not gone down, Sneed wouldn’t be starting. We already know about the dynamic between Stevens and Hill, so this one will come down to whichever quarterback outperforms the other. If Sneed can burn the Colorado State defense by running the football, that will create opportunities in the air. Stevens needs to protect the ball and deliver some early touchdown passes to keep the box clear for Dawkins.
Spread: UNLV -2.5
Colorado State vs. UNLV Prediction
Sneed will take this game over in the first half with both his arm and his legs, but Thomas will take the reins of the offense once the Rebels get a sizable lead. UNLV will be ahead going into halftime, but it will have to defend against a Colorado State comeback led by Dawkins. The Rams’ running back will find his way into the end zone twice, but Colorado State won’t be able to generate enough offense to take the game.
Colorado State vs. UNLV Score Prediction: UNLV 28, Colorado State 17