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UNLV hopes to find rare win at San Diego State

The decision by San Diego voters Tuesday to approve a measure that could lead to the creation of a new football stadium was news that shouldn’t be welcomed only by the Aztecs.

UNLV should be cheering as well.

The Rebels, in fact, should offer to help tear down SDCCU Stadium when the time comes, and no matter what the venue has been named — remember Qualcomm or Jack Murphy? — it could be San Diego State (Bleeping) Stadium for all UNLV cares given all its troubles there.

UNLV once again will try to win in a game place where isn’t walked away a winner in 18 years. The Rebels (2-7, 0-5 Mountain West) play San Diego State (7-2, 4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in San Diego in a game that will be televised by ESPN2.

The Rebels, who have lost the past four meetings, hope to end their six-game losing streak.

“It would be very big to get rid of this slump and keep rolling,” UNLV running back Charles Williams said.

Their timing is bad in one way. San Diego State, a 23-point favorite, is getting healthier with quarterback Christian Chapman (knee) and running back Juwan Washington (clavicle) having returned.

Their timing is good in other ways. UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers (toe) could come off the bench after missing the past five games. And San Diego State plays at Fresno State next weekend in a game that likely will decide the West Division, so perhaps the Aztecs will look ahead.

“I think we just need to win every game from here on out,” San Diego State linebacker Kyahva Tezino said. “Our team has been going through adversity this whole year, and it’s always going to be a close game for us. We’re not going to fight it anymore, it’s just going to be the way it is. The way we train, we’re mentally tough, and we’ve been pulling out at the end and getting the win. If we can just keep doing that and make it to the championship, then we’ve reached our goal.”

San Diego State’s past seven games have been decided by a possession, and the Aztecs have won six of them.

UNLV’s players are too young to know what it’s like to win at San Diego State. The Rebels’ last victory in 2000 helped put them in the Las Vegas Bowl, winning 31-24 on the late Amar Brisco’s 72-yard interception return for a touchdown with 52 seconds remaining.

The Rebels haven’t been very competitive in San Diego since that night, their closest game a 10-point loss in 2002.

UNLV needs to come out of this game feeling good about itself as its season winds to an end and talk about coach Tony Sanchez’s future increases.

A victory could create some momentum going into the final two weeks against rivals Hawaii and UNR.

“We’ve got three great opportunities in front of us,” Sanchez said. “I normally don’t go ahead, but you’ve got a San Diego State game on the road that’s going to be a tough, frenzied environment on national TV. We’re fired up about that. We get a chance to go to Hawaii, which is one of the most beautiful places in the country and play against a really good football team, a place where we’ve had success the last couple of years, and then come home and fight for the (Fremont) cannon.

“There’s a whole lot to play for right now.”

More Rebels: Follow online at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sportson Twitter.

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

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