Five burning questions for the UNLV-Howard football game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium:
1. Will the Rebels take care of business?
Third-year UNLV coach Tony Sanchez has shown he likes to put away lower-level teams, routing Idaho State 80-8 in 2015 and Jackson State 63-13 last season. If the Rebels are going to make a real run at bowl eligibility, they need to send a statement. A closer game than expected would raise all sorts of unwanted questions.
2. How much will coaches give redshirt freshman quarterback Armani Rogers in his first start?
Sanchez said Rogers has been working with the entire playbook, but it would make sense to ease him into this game, especially given UNLV’s talent at running back and wide receiver. Coaches shouldn’t need Rogers to carry the offense against Howard. In theory, at least.
3. Which incoming freshmen will play?
Judging by the depth chart, look for wide receiver Drew Tejchman, defensive tackle Kolo Uasike, linebacker Farrell Hester II and safety Greg Francis to play right away. Hester and Francis went to Bishop Gorman High School. Junior Xzaviar Campbell is the third-team running back, an indication freshman Tariq Hollandsworth will redshirt.
4. How difficult is it to prepare for Howard?
The Bison are operating under a new coaching staff, so UNLV’s coaches can’t rely on much video because of the new offensive and defensive schemes as well as the personnel changes. There also has been little news out of Howard because the school website hasn’t provided much information, and the program is barely covered by the Washington media.
5. What is UNLV’s biggest concern?
Other than a stunning loss? Key injuries. UNLV is coming off a season in which it literally got beaten up. The Rebels need to stay healthy if they want to keep playing in December.
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