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Five players to watch in UNLV-Hawaii game

players to watch

Five players to watch when UNLV’s football team plays at Hawaii at 8 p.m. PST Saturday:

1. UNLV senior RB Shaquille Murray-Lawrence. Given the Rebels’ uncertainty at quarterback with Blake Decker having suffered a variety of injuries, UNLV needs a strong running game. The opportunity is there. Murray-Lawrence has rushed for at least 125 yards in two of the past three games, and the Rainbow Warriors give up 183.5 yards per game.

2. Hawaii senior RB Joey Iosefa. He missed four games to a foot injury and three to a suspension, so that’s why he has only 329 yards rushing, But Iosefa is one of the Mountain West’s top backs, and he should be able to have success against a UNLV defense that allows 278.5 yards rushing per game.

3. UNLV sophomore MLB Ryan McAleenan. If the Rebels are to at least slow Hawaii’s rushing attack, it starts at middle linebacker. McAleenan didn’t become a starter until Sept. 27 at San Diego State, but his 55 tackles are fourth-highest on the team.

4. Hawaii senior defensive end Beau Yap. He is capable of getting into the backfield, a problem for UNLV’s struggling offensive line. Yap has recorded 5½ tackles for loss, including 3½ sacks.

5. UNLV redshirt freshman offensive left tackle Kyle Saxelid. He took over the spot for Brett Boyko, who moved to left guard Nov. 1 against New Mexico. It will be Saxelid’s job to protect the quarterback’s back side, be it Decker or Jared Lebowitz, and give the passing game a chance.

MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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