Five things to look for in UNLV’s football game against Hawaii at 3 p.m. Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium:
1. How UNLV’s coaches handle the quarterback situation.
They could go with Johnny Stanton, who is off a 26-16 victory at Fresno State, or they could turn back to Armani Rogers, who didn’t play because of a concussion. Both players are taking first-team snaps in practice, and the probable scenario is each will play. But what happens if one quarterback gets hot? Coaches then will have to decide whether to stick with that player or try to work in the other one.
2. Plenty of Hawaii running back Diocemy Saint Juste.
He has three 200-yard rushing games this season, and he averages 25 carries per game. In the Rainbow Warriors’ most recent victory, Oct. 14 against San Jose State, Saint Juste rushed 39 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-26 win. Given UNLV allows 234.6 yards rushing per game, it’s not difficult to figure out Hawaii’s strategy.
3. Whether UNLV gets ahead early.
Hawaii has lost five of its past six games, and UNLV has won the past four meetings between the two teams at Sam Boyd Stadium. Should UNLV take an early lead, that would put pressure on the Warriors, whose confidence level already might be a little shaky. It also would force Hawaii to go away from its ground game.
4. Controlling the clock.
The Rebels had the ball for 34 minutes, 24 seconds at Fresno State, which allowed them to control tempo and keep their defense off the field and rested. Another similar performance will be just as important against Hawaii, especially if the Rebels can tire a Warriors defense that allows 34.6 points per game.
5. Which team gets the breaks.
UNLV has been the beneficiary and the victim this season. The Rebels benefited from a muffed punt and a bad snap on another one to take control at Fresno State. In the season-opening 43-40 loss to Howard, a Bison player returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown, potentially a 14-point swing as the Rebels were driving to try to take the lead. A crazy bounce or two could dictate how Saturday’s game plays out.