UNLV OPPONENT: JACKSON STATE
UNLV football kicks off its 2016 season Thursday as it hosts the Jackson State Tigers. Who are the Tigers and what should you expect from them? Here’s everything you need to know about the Rebels’ first opponent:
■ Who: Jackson State Tigers
■ From: Jackson, Mississippi
■ When/where: 7 p.m. Thursday at Sam Boyd Stadium
■ Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference (Football Championship Subdivision)
■ Famous NFL alumni: Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Jackie Slater and Lem Barney
■ 2015 record: 3-8 (3-6 Southwestern Athletic Conference)
■ Head coach: Tony Hughes (0-0 record, first season)
■ Returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense
■ Three players to watch: QB LaMontiez Ivy, WR Daniel Williams, DE Javancy Jones
■ About the Tigers:
— Ivy, a 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound senior, was named the starting quarterback on Monday after he was listed as one of four co-starters on the Tigers’ depth chart released on Aug. 23.
— Junior Jarin Morikawa, a Hawaiian who will be one of Jackson State’s backup QBs, transferred to the school from UNLV, where he served as a walk-on scout team QB for the Rebels in 2013.
— Jackson State lost 70-14 to Middle Tennessee State in last year’s season opener and gave up at least 50 points in four games while allowing an average of 34.4 ppg.
— Hughes is the Tigers’ fourth head coach in four years. A career assistant, the 56-year-old Hughes spent the last seven seasons as Mississippi State’s safeties coach and recruiting coordinator and also has coached at Southern Mississippi, Mississippi and Louisiana Tech.
— Former NFL wide receiver Harold Jackson, who guided Jackson State to a 5-7 mark in his first season in 2014, was fired on Oct. 6 last season after a 59-27 loss to rival Grambling State dropped the Tigers to 1-4. Wide receivers coach Derrick McCall was named interim coach for the rest of the season.
— This is the first time the Tigers have had consecutive losing seasons since 2003 to 2005.
— Jones had 91 tackles and nine sacks last season.
— The Tigers averaged only 22.9 points while racking up a SWAC-high 86.6 penalty yards per game
— Jackson State’s marching band and dance team will perform in a free event from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday at the Pearson Community Center, 1625 West Carey Ave. in North Las Vegas. Doors open at 5 p.m. The band also will perform at halftime of Thursday’s game.
TODD DEWEY/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
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