UNLV’s 2009 football season is underway as the Rebels look to get off to a fast start against Sacramento State. UNLV officials are expecting around 15,000 for the opener and it’s the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Rebels are going for their fourth straight, season-opening win.
PLAY NICE, BOYS
In the wake of Thursday’s postgame incident at Boise between Oregon and Boise State, all eyes were on the pregame handshake. The College Football Coaches Association decided it would be a nice display of sportsmanship if the two teams shook hands BEFORE the game.
Never mind both coaches have spent weeks, if not months, prepping their charges to tear the heads off their opponents. It makes no sense. This is football, not under-8 youth soccer. Yet, things went off without a hitch. They might as well have played Kumbaya and handed out juice boxes and orange slices.
BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND
The temperature may be a mild 89 degrees but Sam Boyd Stadium has turned into a wind tunnel. The flags have been whipping for the past two hours and if things don’t die down, it will have an effect on the kicking game, particularly the punters.
The official report from the press box was 32 mph. That can’t be good news for Kyle Watson, the UNLV punter. Watson makes his debut tonight and the last thing the senior needs is to kick into a headwind. Ditto for Augie Heath, Sac State’s sophomore punter who is also making his college debut tonight.
In the warm-ups, Watson, who also handles UNLV placekicking chores, was nailing field goals from 47 to 50 yards against the wind with no problem. That’s a good sign for UNLV fans.
NEW END ZONE SEATS
UNLV has added 2,300 seats to the north end zone and they figure to go unoccupied for most of the season. The seats were actually added for the U2 concert on Oct. 23 and will be in place for the two UFL games. Whether anyone occupies those seats for the Locomotives remains to be seen. There were a handful of fans sitting there tonight. In addition, there was a row of 40 “Gucci Row” padded seats added in the first row of both end zones that are called “Green Seats” which have flat screen televisions in front of them.
Sarah Thomas is working tonight’s game as the line judge and according to SID Mark Wallington, she is the first woman to ever officiate a UNLV football game. Thomas has been on the field doing college games since 2007. The Mississippi native became the first woman to officiate a Division 1-A game when she worked Memphis-Jacksonville State in September 2007.