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UNLV to play daunting football schedule

UNLV will have two bye dates in next season’s football schedule that are especially well-placed — the first is before Mountain West play and the second before the year-end meeting with state rival UNR.

The Rebels have known their opponents, but they didn’t know the dates until the conference released its schedule Thursday.

This is the first season under coach Marcus Arroyo.

UNLV’s first Mountain West game is Oct. 3 at San Diego State. The Rebels play their first conference home game a week later against Wyoming. That also will be UNLV’s first Mountain West game at Allegiant Stadium.

The Rebels hope to play all their home conference games at the new stadium, but questions remain as to where the games Sept. 5 against Louisiana Tech and Sept. 12 against Arizona State will take place. As of now, those games will be at Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV’s home for the past 49 years, but there’s a chance at least one could move to Allegiant.

No matter where those games are played, UNLV has a daunting schedule that includes nine bowl teams from last season. The Rebels’ first six games are against opponents who played in the postseason, and five of them won their bowls.

“The first word that jumps to my mind is challenging,” Arroyo said in a statement. “Our pre-conference season is the most demanding in the Mountain West. In each game, we play teams coming off big years and returning key starters. … However, we see it as an opportunity to move this program forward and firmly establish our own footprint on the West Coast. That stretch will be a huge physical and mental demand on our players, but we are excited about it. We want to become a program willing and eager to play anyone.”

UNLV concludes the season against its top two rivals — at Hawaii on Nov. 14 and against UNR on Nov. 28.

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

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