Breaking down the UNLV-San Diego State game

Updated November 9, 2018 - 11:15 am

Quarterbacks

Will Armani Rogers play? That’s the question of the week as Rogers works his way back from a toe injury. And if he does play, how will be Rogers used? Lots of unknowns. San Diego State has gone through a similar situation, but there is more certainty now that Christian Chapman is back.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Running backs

The Aztecs’ Juwan Washington was expected to challenge UNLV’s Lexington Thomas for Mountain West supremacy at running back. Washington missed about half the season with a broken clavicle, and Thomas hasn’t been the same since Rogers got injured Sept. 22, putting together just one 100-yard game over that time. Washington is back, and maybe a Rogers return will spark Thomas.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Receivers

After a slow start, UNLV’s receivers have come on, with Brandon Presley, Tyleek Collins and Darren Woods Jr. making plays. Kahale Warring leads San Diego State with 21 catches for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

■ Advantage: UNLV

Offensive line

Both teams have been leaky, with UNLV allowing 27 sacks and San Diego State 24. The Rebels have been better run blockers, helping average 5.1 yards per carry compared to 4.2 for the Aztecs.

■ Advantage: UNLV

Defensive line

The Aztecs play that unique 3-3-5 defense that gives opponents fits, and San Diego State allows just 20 points and 287.4 yards per game. Opponents also are managing just 2.5 yards per carry. UNLV allows a 5.1 average.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Linebackers

Kyahva Tezino leads the Aztecs in tackles (84), tackles for loss (10½) and sacks (5½). UNLV’s Gabe McCoy, Javin White and Bailey Laolagi have combined to make 19 tackles for loss, including 5½ sacks. Good numbers, but the Aztecs have a better unit.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Secondary

The Aztecs allow 204.3 yards per game and a completion percentage of 59.6, with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. UNLV has allowed a similar completion percentage (59.8), but far more yards (256.5 average) and a much worse touchdown-to-interception ration (22 to three).

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Special teams

San Diego State’s John Baron II is one of the Mountain West’s best kicker, having made 15 of 17 fields, including all four from 50 yards and beyond, and he ranks first nationally among active players with an 87.3 conversion percentage. UNLV’s Hayes Hicken is among the conference’s elite punters with a 44.3-yard average.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Intangibles

The Aztecs are getting healthier, and the last time they lost to UNLV at home was in 2000.

■ Advantage: San Diego State

Handicapper’s take

■ Bruce Marshall (goldsheet.com):

San Diego State 34, UNLV 20 — It only looks like Marvin Menzies and his UNLV hoopsters are involved in recent Rebels scorelines (foes scoring 50 points per game last five!). But playmaking Rogers (toe) has been cleared to play; if he plays versus the Aztecs, it might be enough to keep UNLV within earshot. Keep in mind that San Diego State is 0-4 as home chalk this season, not coming close to covering similar heavy spreads versus Sacramento State and San Jose State. The Aztecs appear too unreliable to trust in this role, but the UNLV recommendation is provisional based upon availability of Rogers.

More Rebels: Follow all of our UNLV coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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