Grantland.com, the Bill Simmons-run website, called Hawaii’s Scott Harding “the most interesting man in college football.”
He just might be that.
Harding, a 28-year-old Aussie who played six seasons in the Australian Football League, is a punter, wide receiver and punt returner.
He punts left- and right-footed, and is so good at it that Harding averages 41.8 yards per punt and is a Ray Guy Award semifinalist.
UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said the Rainbow Warriors run 14 formations out of their punt game. The Rebels will get to see that up close when the teams meet at 8 p.m. PST Saturday in Honolulu.
They also will see Harding do other things.
He has started five games at wide receiver and is third on the team with 34 receptions for 457 yards and three touchdowns. And Harding averages 9.6 yards per attempt.
Harding has been a positive in a season of negative for the Warriors, who are 3-8.
But they are 2-4 in the Mountain West, one game out of first place in the West Division.
“A lot of things have got to happen that are out of our control, but as long as we take care of business, then there’s always a chance,” Harding said. “We’ve got a good chance to win these next two games, and we really should win these next two games. As long as we do our job, we’ll be fine.”
After facing the Rebels, Hawaii plays at Fresno State on Nov. 29.
■ Hawaii’s Joey Iosefa was expected to be one of the Mountain West’s top running backs, but he lost four games to a foot injury and three to suspension. He has started and played in four games, averaging 82.2 yards per game but only 3.5 per carry. Iosefa has rushed for 329 yards, though he leads the Warriors with six touchdowns on the ground.
■ If UNLV loses, the Rebels will go winless on the road this season just a year after going 3-2 in away games. Going winless away from home is nothing new for the Rebels, however. Until last season, they had gone winless on the road for three consecutive seasons.
■ Both offenses are struggling. Hawaii has been held to 22 or fewer points in the past five games and eight times overall. UNLV has scored 23 or fewer points in eight games.
FOR THE RECORD
■ Cornerback Kenneth Penny has seven pass breakups this season, making him the second Rebel to reach 30 in his career. Kevin Thomas broke up 55 passes from 1998 to 2001.
■ Center Robert Waterman has played in 49 consecutive games, tied with linebacker Nate Carter (2008 to 2011) for fourth-longest in UNLV history. Three players are tied for the lead at 51 games. So barring injury, Waterman will move into a share of the school record by season’s end.
■ UNLV’s two lost fumbles are tied with Oklahoma and Boston College for third-lowest in the nation. UNR and Missouri have each lost one fumble.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter:@markanderson65.