Head Coach: Bobby Hauck
2013-14 Record: 7-6, 5-3 Mountain West Conference
2013-14 Bowl Result: 36-14 loss to North Texas in Heart of Dallas
Odds to Win National Championship: Field +2142
Offense: 7, Defense: 6
This group is a bit of a concern due to the graduation of quarterback Caleb Herring and all-time rushing leader Tim Cornett, which is important to consider when making your college football picks, but the program has added depth in Hauck’s previous four years.
College football experts expect junior Nick Sherry to take over under center, as he started the first two games as a sophomore before Herring took over the controls.
Four legit candidates are ready to run the rock, with Shaquille Murray-Lawrence being the leader of that group, as he ran for 418 yards on just 47 carries.
Offensively, the strength of this unit is definitely senior wide receiver Devante Davis, who grabbed 87 passes for 1,290 yards and set a school record with 14 touchdowns.
Four of five starters return to Sin City—a group that has produced back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers.
The area undergoing the biggest makeover is on the front lines, but many believe the team can survive with multiple junior college signees.
UNLV will be extremely youthful at linebacker, considering sophomore Tau Lotulelei, who is the only current Rebel to have started a game at the position.
Strong safety Peni Vea is the school’s leading returning tackler with 108 takedowns, while free safety Mike Horsey has improved each year since arriving on campus.
College football handicappers will find that the Rebels have arguably the best duo of cornermen in the Mountain West with the return of Tajh Hasson and Kenneth Penny.
UNLV will be tested in a major way out of the gate, as it looks to gain revenge from a 58-13 home loss to the Arizona Wildcats last year, as it allowed 397 rushing yards in that affair.
The Rebels schedule really gets going with a pair of road games against San Diego State and San Jose State to open up conference play, while they return home to host Fresno State in Week 7 of the 2014 campaign.
The Rebels are capable of exceeding last year’s win total, but Sherry will need to do a better job of protecting the football, which is certainly possible due to it being offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach’s second season in Vegas.
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