Editor’s note: During our 10 days of UNLV football, we’ll run a UNLV list a day leading up to the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day.
You never know when you’ll need to bust out some UNLV trivia during a timeout (or in between helpings of guacamole).
We’ve got you covered: Here are seven things you should know about UNLV football.
1. Hey Reb’s sordid past
Hey Reb! wasn’t always a mountain man-esque mascot with a massive mustache.
In 1955, CSNS — which would become UNLV — adopted the Rebel name and its first official mascot: A Confederate cartoon wolf named Beauregard in a scarlet and gray uniform meant to bring to mind traditional Confederate uniforms.
In 1971, after concerns were raised by black athletes, UNLV voted to retain the Rebel name, but five years later it changed its mascot to a Revolutionary War soldier.
Since that didn’t make much sense considering the school’s location, the mascot evolved into today’s pioneer-like Hey Reb!
2. UNLV’s program is pretty young, relatively speaking
UNLV itself was only established in 1957, and the football program didn’t come around until 1968.
That makes UNLV’s program the youngest in the Mountain West Conference by as many as eight decades.
The inaugural season was the only one during which the school played as Nevada Southern University; the school’s name was changed to University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Jan. 1869.
3. UNLV was the first team to win the Fremont Cannon
The first game played between UNR and UNLV was played in 1969, and UNLV lost, 28-30.
The Fremont Cannon was introduced the following year to symbolize the rivalry between the schools. It cost $10,000 to build and weighs 545 pounds, making it the most expensive and largest rivalry trophy in college football.
UNLV won the 1970 contest 42-30. Nevada leads the series, 23-16.
4. One of the most successful seasons in UNLV history doesn’t even count
That’s what happens when a bunch of your players are ineligible: Your forfeit your 11-2 season and first trip to — and victory in — a bowl game.
To add insult to injury, that season was the only one in school history where the Rebels were named conference champions.
5. The Rebels have won every bowl game they’ve ever played in
Granted, that’s only three bowl games. And one of the wins (versus Toledo in 1984’s California Bowl) was later vacated due to the player ineligibility kerfuffle. But a record is a record.
Still standing are UNLV’s victories over Central Michigan and Arkansas in the 1994 and 2000 Las Vegas Bowls, respectively.
6. The Rebels have retired one number
No. 12: Randall Cunningham.
Cunningham played quarterback at UNLV 1981-1984.
He holds several UNLV records, including career passing with 8,020 yards, career touchdowns with 59, and all-time punting average at 45.6 yards.
7. The largest crowd ever to watch a game in Sam Boyd Stadium wasn’t watching UNLV
The 44,615 people crammed into SBS were there for the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, in which BYU was making its second-straight appearance.
Not only did the attendance shatter the previous record (40,053; set the year before when BYU made its first appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl), but it was also the largest crowd to watch a team sporting event in the history of Nevada.