At 2-10 on the season, the UNLV Rebels travel to Hawaii to face a 1-9 Warriors team that has had a difficult season under first-year head coach Norm Chow. After their 38-35 victory over Air Force on Sept. 22, the Rebels have won one game in the last eight weeks.
Hawaii's defense, currently ranked No. 121 in the nation in points-against, is surrendering an average of 41.1 per game. Against that defense, UNLV offensive coordinator Todd Berry will look to deploy the Rebels' primary ground weapons, junior running backs Tim Cornett and Bradley Randle.
Cornett has been a prolific rusher this season, having amassed 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns, while Randle has rolled up 617 yards and eight touchdowns. To a lesser extent, the two are also utilized as receivers out of the backfield, where they have combined for 21 receptions.
Distributing the ball is freshman quarterback Nick Sherry, who leads the Rebels passing offense (ranked No. 72 nationally). Sherry, 209-of-383 with 15 TDs this season, has a quarterback rating of 112.3. Among his favorite targets are WR Devante Davis (57 receptions), WR Marcus Sullivan (55 receptions) and TE Jake Phillips (22 receptions).
If the Warriors can contain the run to make the Rebels throw the ball, they will look to rattle the freshman quarterback. This season, Sherry has been sacked 19 times and intercepted on 14 occasions. But defense has been a major issue with Hawaii this season, as the Warriors rank No. 118 against the rush and No. 101 against the pass.
The quarterback issue for the Warriors has become a question, as head coach Norm Chow finally gave a start to sophomore Jeremy Higgins last week. However, Higgins was pulled in the fourth quarter of last week's loss to Air Force in favor of junior QB Sean Schroeder. Regardless of who starts, they will look to get the ball into the hands of leading receivers Billy Ray Stutzman (27 receptions), Jeremiah Ostrowski (26 receptions) and Chris Gant (20 receptions).
Hawaii leads the series with UNLV, 13-8, and the advantage is even greater at home, where the Warriors lead the series 8-2. The Rebels are 0-5 on the road this season, which may afford the Warriors the opportunity to snap their current eight-game losing streak.
It is UNLV's final game of the season, whereas Hawaii has one remaining game on Dec. 1 against South Alabama. This week's game has been declared "Military Night" at Aloha Stadium, and the Warriors will wear their alternate red, white and blue uniforms.
Game Time: Saturday, Nov. 24, 6:00 p.m. HST, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.