5 things to look for in UNLV-Hawaii game

Five things to look for when UNLV’s football team plays at Hawaii at 8 p.m. PST Saturday:

1. UNLV was blown out in its three previous games at Hawaii, and the Rebels changed their travel plans this time to make it more of a typical in-and-out trip. Whether that works should be obvious early.

2. Look for the Rebels to establish a running game. Even if quarterback Blake Decker starts, he probably will be at less than 100 percent. So to take pressure off Decker or backup Jared Lebowitz, look for UNLV to try to move the ball on the ground against a Hawaii defense that gives up 183.5 yards rushing per game.

3. Expect the Warriors to also try to win the game with the running attack, especially since Hawaii quarterback Ikaika Woolsey has completed only 49.2 percent of his passes. Behind Joey Iosefa at running back, the Warriors should go right at a UNLV defense that allows 278.5 yards rushing per game.

4. UNLV needs to convert its chances. Hawaii won 13-0 at San Jose State on Saturday despite being outplayed all game, but the Spartans went 0-for-5 in the red zone. UNLV failed to capitalize on some chances in a 42-23 loss at Brigham Young on Saturday. If the Rebels are to win, they need to take advantage of every opportunity.

5. Both teams need signs of hope. The Warriors are talking about trying to win the West Division because they are only a game out of first place. If they win Saturday and the following weekend at Fresno State, the Warriors have momentum to take into the offseason. As for UNLV, if the Rebels beat their two biggest rivals — Hawaii and UNR — to close the season, that could save coach Bobby Hauck’s job. Otherwise, the program might be looking to make a change.

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