Game guide: UNLV vs. Utah

Urban MeyerUte Head Coach

The Atlanta Braves drafted Meyer in the 13th round of the 1982 MLB draft. The big league dreams didn’t last long, and two years later he began his football coaching odyssey as a graduate assistant at Ohio State. This week’s Urban coaching rumor has Meyer replacing Pete Carroll at USC. Carroll is thought to be considering a return to the NFL, possibly taking over the Dolphins from the soon to be fired Dave Wannstedt.

John RobinsonUNLV Head Coach

The wily veteran is finally calling it quits at the end of the season. Coincidentally (or not), it comes after yet another down year for the Rebels. Robinson has never had trouble wooing talent to Las Vegas (but really, who would?), but getting results has been another story. The former NCAA coach of the year (USC 1979) has compiled a 28-38 record at UNLV coming into this weekend’s game.

Utah Roster

1 Johnson, Marty RB2 Young, Antonio DB3 Fletcher, Gerald DB3 Johnson, Brian QB4 Wright, Jerome WR5 Warren, Paris WR6 Savoy, Steve WR7 Borreson, Bryan K8 Casteel, Brent RB9 Toone, Spencer LB9 Au, Brigham QB10 Gordon, Stephen DB10 Walker, Justin WR11 Smith, Alex QB11 Casco, Kawika DB12 Punimata, Nuuese DB13 Ganther, Quinton RB14 Brady, Kyle WR14 Madsen, Adam QB15 Rawlings, Brent P15 Poston, Darryl RB16 Oates, Eugene DB16 Nielson, Brady DB17 Sokugawa, Chris QB17 Tagovailoa, Fano QB18 Jacobsen, Chad TE19 Kovacevich, Matt Punter20 Liti, Mike RB21 Harper, Shaun DB22 Nagahi, Bo DB23 Madsen, John WR23 Rockwell, Zach DB24 Harris, Tim DB25 Scalley, Morgan DB26 McEntire, Curtis K26 Stowers, Ray RB27 Unutoa, Dymond DB28 Tate, Steve DB29 Smith, Ryan DB30 Ross, Adarrious DB30 Mokofisi, Malakai DB31 Evans, Casey DB32 Weddle, Eric DB33 Garrigan, Afa DB33 TeGantvoort, Charlie DB34 Iloa, Singa RB35 Mason, Matt DB36 Marold, Zac DB36 Kinsey, Billy RB37 Olevao, Loma LB38 Beck, John LB39 Clark, Jon TE40 Hackenbruck, Tommy LB41 Marshall, Grady LB42 Jiannoni, Joe LB43 Johnson, Joe RB44 Moleni, Pate DE45 Puccinelli, Alex DE46 O’Connell, Sean LB46 Hansen, Justin TE47 Burdette, Blake TE48 Burnett, Martail DE49 Richards, Derrek WR49 Johnson, Brock DB50 Condie, Brock LS51 Preobrazhensky, Dmitry LB53 Williams, Reza DE54 Miller, Taylor LB55 Johnson, Andrew OL55 Ledbetter, Marquess DL56 Sampson, Colt LB57 Beardall, Dan K/P58 Parkhurst, Brady LS59 Carroll, David K60 Apted, Terrence DL61 Tassainer, Jess LB62 Rowley, Butchie LS63 Gunther, Kyle OL65 Hatch, Jeff OL66 Conley, Robert OL67 Paullin, Blake LB68 Kemoeatu, Chris OL69 Boone, Jason OL70 Aalona, Makai OL71 Arquette, Mitch OL72 Voss, Jason OL73 Dahl, Steve OL74 Dirkmaat, David OT75 Pettit, Eric OL76 Soliai, Paul OL78 Tupola, Tavo OL79 Boone, Jesse OL80 Kruger, Paul DL81 Clifford, Brad WR82 Peel, John WR83 Johnson, Jordan WR84 Huff, Thomas WR85 Gueck, Rob WR86 Sorenson, Cody WR87 Moss, Trevor WR88 LaTendresse, Travis WR89 Sonntag, Nik DE90 Pouha, Sione DL91 Fanene, Jonathan DL92 Castaldi, Tony DL93 Dodds, Corey LB94 Fifita, Steve DL96 Kemoeatu, Tevita DL97 Sao, Willie TE98 Talavou, Kelly DL99 Scanlon, Bryce DL99 Afeaki, Kite DL

UNLV Roster

1 Marcus L. Johnson QB2 JaJa Riley RB3 Ruschard Dodd-Masters DB4 Earvin Johnson WR5 Dyante Perkins RB6 Scott Turner QB7 Kurt Nantkes QB8 David Peeples RB9 Donell Wheaton WR10 Dominique Dorsey RB11 Tyler Arciaga QB13 Solomon Smart DB14 Ernest Gordon DB15 Shane Steichen QB16 Gary Cook P17 Terry Furlow WR18 Sergio Aguayo PK19 Nate Wederquist DB20 Charles Ealy DB21 Tremayne Kirkland WR22 Chanti Bloomer DB23 Shannon Nowden DB24 Alvin Marshall RB25 Demario Reynolds Sr. LB26 Erick Jackson RB27 Jamaal Brimmer DB28 Will Tagoai DB29 Jeff Brown DB30 KC Asiodu DB32 Reggie Butler LB33 Dan Rankin LB34 Matt Pattison LB36 Narcus Wesley DB37 David Olsen DB38 Bobby Kelly LB39 Faauo Faga DL40 Mike Frazier FB41 Hubi Schulze Zumkley PK42 Jay Staggs DB43 Ryan Flasch LB/FB44 Chad Henley FB45 Joe Miklos DB46 Zach Bell LB47 Beau Bell LB48 Omega Faga LB/RB49 Ryan Claridge LB50 Kareem Merhi LB51 Kameron Wilson LB52 John Andrews LB53 Ryan Welter LB54 Aaron Mueller OL55 Adam Seward LB56 Joe Critchfield OL57 Robert Travers Jr. DL58 Terrence Young LB60 Vik Sehdev OL61 Harvey Robinson OL62 Dustin Forshee OL63 Brandon Gray OL64 Matt Seccombe LB66 Morgan West OL67 Mario Jeberaeel OL68 Zach Gorham OL69 Kea Toledo OL70 Marco Guerra OL72 Ryan Heise DL/LS73 Zeb Smithson OL74 Mike McKiski OL75 Marcus Bryan OL76 Marcus Johnson OL77 Chris Bowser OL78 Tyler Crandal OL79 Tim Goins OL81 Jesse Knight TE82 Kevin Baird TE83 Shelvion Williams WR84 Richard Mapp WR85 Marques Johnson WR86 Greg Estandia TE87 Michael Freund TE88 Joe Del Castillo TE89 Adam Gajo WR90 Isaac Watts DE91 Daniel Widders DE92 Brian Nicholson DL93 Isaiah Tafua DL94 Howie Fuimaono DL95 Chris Asnaran DL96 Jason Luxenberg TE97 Pete Dunbar DE98 Leon Moore DE99 Mario Hill DE

Positional breakdown

Who has the advantage?

QuarterbacksAs if this wasn’t a lopsided proposition to begin with… Kurt Nantkes is injured (or perhaps just scared after the hit Eric Weddle put on him last year) so sophomore Shane Steichen takes the reins for the Rebs. Alex Smith continues to be Alex Smith.

Running BacksThis is one place where UNLV is good. Dorsey is a quality, if diminutive back. He’s had good games, even in hostile places like Tennessee and Wisconsin. Dyante Perkins is a proven short yardage option, with five TDs on the season. Utah’s backs have been solid, but Marty Johnson needs to hold onto the ball better. Had the game been closer, his fumble versus North Carolina could have been a killer.

ReceiversEarvin Johnson is a very talented WR, and were he on Utah, he would be putting up big numbers. Unfortunately for him, he’s never had a QB or a supporting cast that allowed him to really break out. Utah runs about six deep at receiver, giving Smith oodles of options to throw to. The bad news for the MWC is that there is even more young talent waiting in the wings.

O-LineUNLV’s hog mollies have excelled at opening holes for Dorsey to run, but have allowed 16 sacks, as opposed to Utah’s eight. Utah would get the edge, but starting right tackle Makai Aalona is out for the game with a sprained knee.

D-LineUtah’s front line has constantly put pressure on opposing QBs, but need to cut down on rushing yards allowed from the quarterback. Fifita and Pouha are both on track for All-Conference honors. UNLV is allowing 183 yards rushing per game, not a good way to win the time of possession war.

LinebackersWere this not such a strength conference-wide, Utah could sweep the All-Conference honors. Toone, Hackenbruck, and Dodds are as good as they get, and comprise one of the top linebacking units in the country. The Rebels are led by Ryan Claridge, who has four sacks.

SecondaryUNLV’s Jamaal Brimmer was a first team All-American last year, and looks to be ready to play on Sundays right now. He’s possibly the best safety in the country, and a great guy to boot. Utah is balanced across the field. Smith and Fletcher are solid on the corners, and Weddle and Scalley hit harder than any other tandem at safety.

Special TeamsGary Cook is a special player at punter, changing the field position battle whenever he kicks the ball. Both schools are using freshman kickers. Utah’s David Carroll gets his first start after Bryan Borreson re-injured his groin. If Carroll is half as good as he was at Bountiful High, he’ll be something special. The Utes need to get better on kickoffs, as Dorsey can take a return to the house at any given moment.

CoachingUrban is Urban.