UNLV vs. Colorado State: position-by-position breakdown

A look at who has the advantage at each position when the Rebels host Colorado State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

QUARTERBACKS

Dalton Sneed is coming off his best start for UNLV, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-38 win at Hawaii. Redshirt junior Nick Stevens started Colorado State’s last game after a month on the bench and threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts.

Edge: UNLV

RUNNING BACKS

The Rebels’ rushing duo is coming off an impressive game, with Lexington Thomas and Charles Williams combining for 187 yards at Hawaii. Colorado State is averaging 186 rushing yards per game, far below UNLV’s 248.

Edge: UNLV

RECEIVERS

The Rams have a multitude of targets, as five players have 10 targets or more and six have more than 100 receiving yards. Michael Gallup has emerged as their primary threat, with 479 yards and four touchdowns on 27 catches. Injuries have made the Rebels thin at receiver.

Edge: Colorado State

OFFENSIVE LINE

UNLV’s group up front has surrendered only four sacks, giving the young Sneed time to find his footing. The Rebels also have the third-best rushing average in the Mountain West and 17th best in the FBS. Colorado State is in the top half of the FBS in both categories but lags behind in this matchup.

Edge: UNLV

DEFENSIVE LINE

Both teams have been subpar against the run. UNLV ranks 74th in rushing yards allowed, and the Rams are 90th. Colorado State has been much better at affecting opposing quarterbacks, though, as it has 19 sacks to the Rebels’ 11.

Edge: Colorado State

LINEBACKERS

The Rams have 50 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, tied for the 16th most nationally. Senior Kevin Davis and redshirt sophomore Josh Watson lead with 14.5 tackles for loss between them, and redshirt junior Evan Colorito has 4.5.

Edge: Colorado State

SECONDARY

Limiting opposing passing games has not been a strength for either team, but Colorado State has fared slightly better. The Rams give up fewer passing yards per game, fewer big plays through the air and have one more interception than UNLV.

Edge: Colorado State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Colorado State and UNLV have combined to make 15 of 17 field goals, with the Rams having the only misses. Both teams’ return games are similar as well, but Colorado State has a distinct advantage on punts. The Rams average 5 more yards per punt than the Rebels.

Edge: Colorado State

INTANGIBLES

Since 2010, the Rebels and Rams have played four times. UNLV went 1-3, winning the only one played at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels will be playing their first game since Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 1 into law and officially put in motion plans for a new football stadium for UNLV and possibly the Oakland Raiders.

Edge: UNLV

HANDICAPPER’S TAKE

Bruce Marshall (goldsheet.com): Colorado State 34, UNLV 29 — The non-San Diego State defenses in the Mountain West are having problems containing UNLV’s Doug Flutie-like redshirt freshman Dalton Sneed, who has detonated 40-point explosions in two of three starts. But the Rebels defense still has issues. Colorado State has been in games tougher than this and loses little with its switch back to quarterback Nick Stevens, who almost led a last-minute comeback win at Boise State last Saturday.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter. UNLV vs. Colorado State, Depth Chart

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