Minnesota Golden Gophers at UNLV Rebels
Thursday, August 30, 2012, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports
Sam Boyd Stadium – Las Vegas, NV
Opening Line: Minnesota -9
Current Line: Minnesota -8 1/2
Opening Total: 53 1/2
Current Total: 50
Opening Money Line: Minnesota -330 / UNLV +280
Current Money Line: Minnesota -320 / UNLV +260
The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the UNLV Rebels meet for the first time ever Thursday night in Las Vegas in the season opener for both schools. This is the first game of a home and home series between the schools. Minnesota will host UNLV to open the 2013 season.
Minnesota finished 3-9 last year, the first under coach Jerry Kill. Minnesota started off 1-6 last season, with the only win coming against Miami-Ohio. They lost 19-17 at USC. Then came home losses to New Mexico St and FCS chamion North Dakota St. Kill had serious health concerns in those games as he had seizures on the sideline in both games. Minnesota played a lot better in the last half of the season with upsets over Iowa and Illinois, and narrow losses to Michigan St and Northwestern. Still, the Gophers finished 3-9 last season. They look to improve in Kill’s second year, and hopefully his health issues are behind him.The Gophers were 7-5 ATS and the total was 5-7 last year.
UNLV is coached by Bobby Hauck, in his third year with the Rebels. UNLV has won 2 games in each of Hauck’s first season. The Rebels had home wins over Hawaii and Colorado St. Aside from a 7 point loss at New Mexico (the only win of the season for the Lobos) every other loss for the Rebels was by 17 or more points. After a 20 point upset against Hawaii, the Rebels lost at home to Southern Utah 41-17 the very next week. The highlight of the season, if you can call it that an call it that, was when UNLV hosted then #5 Boise St. The Rebels were only down 7 points at halftime, but were outscored 27-7 in the second half to make the final 48-21 Boise St.The Rebels were 3-8-1 ATS and the total was 6-5-1 last season
Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Grey was the leading passer and rusher for the Gophers last year. He passed for 1,495 yards with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He was more dangerous with his legs as he had 199 carries, 966 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Junior college transfer RB James Gillum will also get a lot of carries. Receiver Brandon Green has battled a gimpy knee throughout training camp but will play. He will be the go-to receiver for the Gophers. The Gophers only scored 18 points a game last year, so any improvement from that will be good.
The defense gave up almost 32 points a game last year. Senior Mike Rallis made 83 tackles last year, and now moves to middle linebacker. The secondary will be anchored by safety Brock Vereen, who played cornerback last year. Veteran corner Troy Stoudemire was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA after he broke his arm last September. He is the Big Ten record holder for career kickoff return yards.Minnesota forced only 9 turnovers last year, which was last in FBS football.
UNLV scored only 17 points a game last season. Redshirt freshman Nick Sherry was named the starting quarterback over last year’s starter Caleb Herring. The Rebels passed for 110 yards a game which was #118 out of 120 teams. Running backs Tim Cornett and Dionza Bradford combined for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The scoring defense was also #118 last year allowing 40.4 points a game. Junior cornerback Sidney Hodge is the only returning starter in the secondary.
Minnesota is 5-18 straight up in the last 23 and has lost 5 straight road games. Five of Minnesota’s last six games have gone under the total. UNLV is 4-21 straight up in the last 25, and 0-5 against the spread. The over is 4-2 in the last 6 UNLV games.
These teams are both terrible on offense and defense. But a bad Big Ten team will always have more depth and talent than a terrible Mountain West team. Plus, plenty of Gopher fans are making the trip to Vegas. Lay the points with the Gophers.
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