UNLV VS BOISE STATE: MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

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UNLV No. 41 Rashod Tanner (Left) and No. 36 Thomas Anderson hype up crowd. (Scarlet & Gray Free Press/DJ Cabanlong).

This Saturday, the UNLV Football will host the Mountain West Championship against the Boise State Broncos for the first time since the Mountain West’s 25 seasons of existence at 12 p.m. inside Allegiant Stadium.

This is the first time the Rebels have placed first in the Mountain West during the regular season since 1994 and only the third time in program history. 

On the other side of the field, the Broncos are playing in its seventh Mountain West Championship in program history, and they currently hold a record of 3-3 in those games. 

At the conclusion of this regular season, the Rebels finished atop the Mountain West with a record of 9-3 overall and 6-2 in conference play, while the Broncos finished with a record of 7-5 overall, but they share the same record in conference play at 6-2.

These two teams were not the only ones to share the same conference record as the San Jose State Spartans, who most recently defeated the Rebels at home by a score of 37-31, also sat at the same 6-2 record, which created a little bit of chaos when the championship game was decided via computer analytics. 

With the matchup set, let’s look at a couple of factors that could play significant roles in the outcome of the Mountain West bChampionship game. 

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

At home this year, the Rebels hold a record of 5-1, with the only loss coming recently against the San Jose State Spartans after the Rebels had a much slower start to its offensive start than they have had in games prior. 

However, this loss was still not without its takeaways for Head Coach Barry Odom and his squad. The Rebels have scored over 25 points in each of its home games this season and over 40 points half of its matchups at Allegiant Stadium. 

Offensive coordinator Brennan Marion’s “Go-Go” offense has created difficulties in the opposing team’s defense all year with a running attack that can come from all angles and dynamic passing options such as receiver Ricky White and Jacob De Jesus with Mountain West freshman of the year Jayden Maiava at the helm. 

BOISE STATE ROAD STRUGGLES

Throughout the course of this season, it is essential to note that while the Broncos have found success and made its way into the championship game, they do not have a good record playing away from the smurf turf of Albertson’s Stadium. 

Entering the contest, the Broncos hold a road record of 2-4 on the season, and they have been some highly contested matchups. In three of its four losses, they have fallen within a three point margin. 

However, outside of one matchup, the Broncos have scored over 30 points a game on the road, so this game could take the form of a high-scoring affair that comes down to the wire between the two squads. 

Additionally, the Rebels are not the only ones to have an offensive weapon recognized for its talents inside the Mountain West, as Bronco running back Ashton Jeanty was named the conference’s offensive player of the year. 

He bolstered many career highs this season, finishing with over 1,100 yards rushing with 182 carries and 13 touchdowns to his name and 692 receiving yards as he is versatile out of the backfield. 

Both defenses have a lot to prepare for, as UNLV may have a wider variety of offenses to turn to. The Broncos may possess the most dangerous offensive weapon between both teams, which could bring exciting action at both ends of the field. 

ALL-TIME MATCHUP STATISTICS

While UNLV has achieved a better regular season record this year than the Broncos, this has not been the case in the all-time series record between these two schools. 

Boise State has historically dominated this matchup, winning eight of the eleven recorded meetings between the two squads. 

Additionally, the Broncos have taken the last six games between the two, dating from 1977 to 2019, when they last locked horns with each other on the gridiron. 

The most significant margin of victory during this time for the Broncos was a 44-14 win back in the Rebel’s 1977 season. 

However, the Rebels under Barry Odom have preached that there is a new normal at UNLV, and there are higher expectations for this squad than ever before, which may result in a highly emotional battle on the football field as the Rebels look to claim its first-ever Mountain West Championship. 

WHERE TO WATCH

The Mountain West Championship between the Boise State Broncos and the UNLV Rebels football game is scheduled for 12 p.m. PST on FOX on Saturday, Dec. 2. and will be available to listen on ESPN 1100 AM & 100.9 FM.

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