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5 things to watch for Saturday when UNLV visits Colorado State

Five things to look for when UNLV’s football team plays at Colorado State at 4 p.m. PST Saturday:

1. How much will Colorado State run the ball? The Rams went away from the passing game in last Saturday’s 26-7 victory at Wyoming, throwing just 15 times. UNLV coach Tony Sanchez senses the beginning of a trend because a conservative approach is in tune with first-year Rams coach Mike Bobo’s philosophy.

2. How much will UNLV run the ball? The Rams give up 204.6 yards rushing per game, and UNLV averages 209.3. Yes, the Rebels want a balanced offense, but Sanchez and offensive coordinator Barney Cotton believe in setting the tone on the ground.

3. How will UNLV play Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins? Teams have tried different approaches, and Higgins hasn’t had the kind of season like in 2014 when he was a consensus first-team All-American. But he’s still dangerous and has 50 receptions for 667 yards and five touchdowns. Expect UNLV to mix up coverages, but the Rebels play a lot of man-to-man defense, so there could be opportunities for Higgins to try to stretch the field.

4. How will UNLV’s receivers try to stretch the field? Aaron Criswell caught an 85-yard touchdown pass last Saturday against Hawaii, and Devonte Boyd hauled in a 75-yard TD. So the Rebels have the weapons, and quarterback Blake Decker obviously can get the ball to them. It’s crucial they again make plays down the field, which only opens up the running game.

5. How will the turnovers battle play out? One reason Colorado State is going way from the passing game is because the quarterbacks have thrown 13 interceptions. UNLV has intercepted 11 passes. Colorado State also has lost 10 fumbles, and the Rebels have given away the ball on the ground just twice. So the numbers are in UNLV’s favor, and whichever team better takes care of the ball has a great chance of winning.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65

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