UNLV needs to win twice in its final six games to become bowl eligible for the first time in 13 years.
The bad news for the Rebels (4-2, 2-0 Mountain West) is they might not be favored in any of those games.
The good news for them is that other than Saturday’s 7 p.m. visit to No. 17 Fresno State (5-0, 2-0) they should be competitive in every game. Fresno State is a 24-point favorite, with the total 73 points.
Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet editor and handicapper, said beyond this week the Rebels at worst should be 5- to 7-point underdogs. That would be the Oct. 26 trip to UNR.
Marshall cautioned in this up-and-down Mountain West season, in which so many teams have been hit with injuries, that gauging future point spreads remains a bit of a guessing game.
But, at this point at least, UNLV looks to be about a 3-point underdog at home Nov. 2 to San Jose State, a 4- to 5-point underdog Nov. 9 at home to Chuckie Keeton-less Utah State, a pick ’em Nov. 21 at Air Force and a 3-point underdog Nov. 30 at home against San Diego State.
“So they’re really close,” Marshall said. “I don’t think they have one game coming up after Fresno that they project to double digits right now as a ’dog, and in a couple they might be favored. Some of these are looking close to pick ’em.
“Things can change because Air Force is heading south, and there are various degrees of concern with all these remaining Mountain West teams they’re playing. They miss Boise, and they miss Wyoming this year, and these are teams that would’ve been favored over the Rebs anywhere, so the schedule actually has broken pretty well for UNLV.”
■ The Rebels have rallied for three victories this season, the first time since 2008 they have come back that many times to win. That season, they beat Arizona State 23-20 in overtime after trailing 20-10, defeated New Mexico 27-20 after a 7-0 deficit and beat Wyoming 22-14 after falling behind 7-3. The comebacks have been more dramatic this season, with UNLV coming back from 21-0 down to beat Central Michigan 31-21, and rallying from deficits four times each against New Mexico and Hawaii to win 56-42 and 39-37. Should the Rebels rally to win another game this season, that would be their most comeback victories since 2003.
■ UNLV has agreed to a home-and-home deal with Northern Illinois and a home game against Northern Colorado. The Rebels host both schools next season, Northern Illinois on Sept. 13 and Northern Colorado on Sept. 20. They travel to Northern Illinois on Sept. 5, 2015.
■ Running back Tim Cornett and wide receiver Devante Davis made Phil Steele’s first-team All-Mountain West midseason squad. Punter Logan Yunker was selected to the second team, and making the third team were offensive tackle Brett Boyko, defensive lineman Tyler Gaston and defensive back Peni Vea.
FOR THE RECORD
■ Senior kicker Nolan Kohorst is 29 points from becoming UNLV’s career leading scorer, closing in on Mike Thomas’ 244 points in 1973 and 1974. Nick Garritano holds the record for most points by a kicker, with 240 from 1991 to 1994. Kohorst’s 15 points against Hawaii tied the school record for most points by a Rebels kicker in a game. Garritano in 1992 against Cal State Fullerton and Dillon Pieffer in 2003 against Hawaii also share the record.
■ After giving up 35 points off turnovers in the first two games, the Rebels have allowed only seven in the four games since. UNLV has scored 28 points off turnovers in those four games.
■ Cornett has rushed for nine touchdowns, already two more than he had each of the past two seasons. With 32 touchdowns overall and 29 rushing, he could break Thomas’ school records for total (40) and rushing TDs (37).
POS. PLAYER AREA STATUS
DB Sidney Hodge Arm Out
OL Alex Novosel Back Out
PK Nicolai Bornand Leg Doubtful
OL Nick Gstrein Leg Doubtful
WR Devante Davis Leg Questionable
DL Parker Holloway Arm Questionable
OL Brett Boyko Leg Probable
RB Tim Cornett Leg Probable
DL Mark Garrick Arm Probable
DB David Greene Arm Probable
DB Mike Horsey Arm Probable
DL Asten Koki Leg Probable
WR Maika Mataele Arm Probable
WR Marcus Sullivan Leg Probable
DB Peni Vea Arm Probable
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.