Where is UNLV Football showing improvements?

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UNLV Football hasn’t seen a victory since Nov. 30, 2019, when the Rebels beat the Wolfpack in an overtime thriller of 33-30, creating a nearly two-year gap since the Rebels have won a game. With a 0-3 start to this season, the hope for a victory dwindles by the second. 

Even starting out winless, the Rebels seemingly have yet to make any huge improvements when it comes to their offense. In 2020, UNLV averaged about 17.3 points per game, this season they’ve averaged 15.3 points per game. 

The Rebels have converted 10 of their 42 third-down attempts this year, putting them at a 23.8 percent third-down efficiency and going 0-2 on fourth-down, which gave them a 0 percent chance at converting fourth-downs. 

So far this year, UNLV allowed 12 sacks, yet when it comes to play-calling, they called 61 passing plays. While completing only 29 of them and averaging around 4.93 yards per pass attempt, the team has not found any luck through the air and has had two interceptions on the year.

The Rebels continue to rely on Charles Williams’ stellar performance this year. The team has rushed 107 times for 323 yards, averaging about three yards per attempt with the only four touchdowns the team has. 

Williams has ran 60 times for 254 yards, averaging around 4.2 yards per attempt and has two of the team’s four rushing touchdowns. If he continues this trajectory, he could rush for around 1016 yards and eight touchdowns on 240 rushing attempts.

He has also made history throughout his five-year Rebel run. He is the school’s current second all-time rushing yards leader with 3194 rushing yards and the school’s fifth all-time rushing touchdown leader with 21 touchdowns. If he continues this season, he could find himself earning UNLV all-time rusher in rushing yards and UNLV’s third all-time rushing touchdown leader. 

Compared to last year, UNLV converted around 34 of their 92 third downs, giving them a 37 percent third-down completion. With a total of 113 first downs last year, the Rebels had 13 touchdowns as well as a 66.7 percent chance of converting a fourth-down. 

Last year’s team seemed to be more efficient throwing the ball, going for a 58.7 completion percentage with over a thousand passing yards. The Rebels lack a comparable run game. With 224 rushing attempts for only 868 yards, they averaged three yards per carry compared to five yards per pass completed. 

This year, the defense has 158 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions while allowing opponents to average 40 points and 475.3 yards per game. For comparison, the offense averages 15.3 points and 208 yards per game. 

The Rebels were similar compared to last year with 415 tackles, 14 sacks and two interceptions in six games. The defense couldn’t buy a stop, which allowed opponents to average 38 points and 482 yards per game. 

Even with the team’s improvements, there isn’t much of a difference on the field when compared to the previous year’s performance. With Marcus Arroyo’s second year as head coach for the Rebels, all we can do is have faith in the team’s ability to improve every day until they finally bring home another victory.

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