Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
UNLV, which has lost seven straight games dating to last season, will try to bounce back from a stunning 17-14 home loss to Northern Arizona when it hosts Washington State of the Pac-12 on Friday. Northern Arizona was picked to finish ninth in the Big Sky Conference and was coming off a 63-6 pounding by Arizona State. The Rebels are 4-23 in two-plus seasons under Bobby Hauck, who is understandably feeling the heat. Not exactly the best timing for a national TV game for the Rebels, especially considering that the Cougars steamrolled them 59-7 last year in Pullman.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE: (1-1): The Cougars are opening things up offensively under first-year coach Mike Leach with mixed results. Washington State managed only a pair of field goals in a season-opening 30-6 loss at BYU but hung on for a hard-fought 24-20 victory over Eastern Washington last week. The Cougars, behind senior quarterback Jeff Tuel’s two touchdown passes, led 24-14 at halftime. Kicker Andrew Furney had a 60-yard field goal last week, the second-longest in Washington State history behind Jason Hanson’s 62-yarder at UNLV in 1991. Washington State safety Deone Bucannon was suspended by the Pac-12 for the first half of the UNLV game for a late hit on Eastern Washington wide receiver Greg Herd.
ABOUT UNLV (0-2): The hot seat got a whole lot hotter for Hauck after the Rebels blew a 14-0 halftime lead and lost on a last-second field goal last week. That marked the second loss to a FCS school in 11 games for UNLV. However, the Rebels have a history of performing well in Friday games (6-1-1). Junior running back Tim Cornett has been a bright spot for UNLV, rushing for 278 yards and three touchdowns. That ranks him second in the Mountain West and eighth in the FBS in rushing.
1. Cornett has reached the century mark in four of his last five games, the first Rebel to accomplish that feat since Dominique Dorsey in 2004.
2. Washington State WR Marquess Wilson enters the week as the Pac-12 Conference’s active leader in receiving yards (2,502).
3. Washington State is 5-0 against UNLV. The Cougars, led by QB Drew Bledsoe and Hanson, defeated the Rebels 40-13 in Washington State’s only previous Las Vegas appearance in 1991.