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3 takeaways from UNLV’s 50-37 loss at San Jose State

SAN JOSE, Calif — Three takeaways from UNLV’s 50-37 loss at San Jose State on Saturday at CEFCU Stadium:

1. Wanted: Athletes on D

It’s true the Rebels are hurting defensively in numerous ways, including missing two injured starters on the back end.

But in the fourth season under coach Tony Sanchez, few might have imagined that the Rebels would be this unathletic on defense.

When you’re struggling to match Air Force for athletes a week ago, you know even hapless San Jose State will prove to have an edge.

UNLV can’t cover most anyone, and it was the same against the Spartans, who amassed 349 passing yards.

“A lot of it is personnel matchups,” Sanchez said. “With some of the guys out, we’re really thin there, and we got exposed. We’re just not playing at a real high level right now.

“We have to get better, and there’s no doubt we have to get more athletic. Some of it is addressed through coaching and some of it is addressed through recruiting.”

2. Tyleek can go

Even if the 2019 season arrives and Armani Rogers is back healthy at quarterback for the Rebels and things are again built around his legs, if Tyleek Collins doesn’t get a minimum of 10 touches a game in various ways, heads should roll within the offensive coaching staff.

The freshman wide receiver from Savannah, Georgia, was electric Saturday, finishing with nine catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns, all career highs.

One of his scores came from 75 yards. He also had TD catches of 4, 46 and 4 yards.

3. (Worst?) is yet to come?

It was pretty apparent when the 2018 schedule was unveiled where the Rebels needed to be come November to have a chance at a successful season.

They’re 2-6. November is almost here.

Their chances at six wins and bowl eligibility are slim and none, and none is a minus-1,200 favorite.

The toughest stretch of games awaits in the next four weeks, when UNLV will host Fresno State, travel to San Diego State and Hawaii, then play its regular-season finale against visiting UNR.

“I firmly believe by watching the Mountain West week in and week out that there is no huge margin between teams,” Sanchez said. “You see some of the dogfights, and you scratch your head.

“But it’s tough when you feel you have to be perfect offensively to win a game and you have to score every time.”

More Rebels: Follow online at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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