UNLV adds trip to Houston to this season’s football schedule

UNLV has gone to Houston to recruit some of its top football players.

Now the Rebels will play a game there, too, and they’ll do it this season.

They announced Thursday they will play the Cougars on Sept. 20. UNLV could add a 13th game because it plays at Hawaii, and NCAA rules allow schools to schedule an extra game when making a trip to the islands.

“We have a big group from Texas, including four seniors, so getting to play in front of friends and family will be memorable,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said in a statement. “Texas is also one of our biggest recruiting areas after Nevada and California, so we look forward to playing down there this fall against a bowl team in Houston.”

Houston played in the BBVA Compass Bowl last season in going 8-5. UNLV made it to the Heart of Dallas Bowl and finished 7-6.

A bowl is out of the question for the Rebels this season because they failed to meet Academic Progress Report standards.

Hauck has had success recruiting the Houston area, in particular signing running back Tim Cornett and wide receiver Devante Davis. Cornett left UNLV as the school’s all-time leading rusher, and Davis will go back to his hometown as one of the top receivers in Rebels history.

UNLV also gets to pocket a $400,000 guarantee.

“We saw nothing but positives in adding a trip to Houston to the schedule,” UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said in a statement. “Taking the team to play in a high-profile city and their brand-new stadium, while also helping our budget, is something that was certainly appealing. We are also excited to travel to an area of the country where a good number of our players call home.”

In other UNLV football news, ESPN will televise the Rebels’ season opener Aug. 29 at Arizona. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The game will be the Rebels’ first on ESPN since a home game against Washington State on Sept. 14, 2012.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.