Saturday's game against the Rebels marks Utah's first trip to Vegas since their 2007 debacle. I've discussed that game in detail over the last two years, so I won't really talk about it here. However, you've got to wonder how much of a confidence boost that will provide UNLV, if any.
This is a team coming off two humiliating losses and I've got to think they're grasping at anything to regain their footing. Latching onto that victory, which was supposed to be program defining, would seem to be the way to go. I mean, you've got to think their coaches will play that game film over and over again as evidence the Rebels can, in fact, beat Utah.
At this point, the lack of confidence might just be the biggest issue facing Nevada Las Vegas and if they don't find any of it before Saturday, it's probably certain they'll be staring at another big-time blowout defeat.
So for the Utes, I think it's important they jump on them early. Don't give them any hope this could potentially be a game. That means the offense has to hit the ground running, both figuratively and literally - especially with how poor the Rebel run defense actually is. They rank third worst in the nation in total yards given up on the ground. Only Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky, two teams that are a combined 0-10 this season, have worse run defenses.
Expect Eddie Wide to get a lot of touches and if he can't plow through their defensive line, then the plan is going horribly wrong.
But it won't. Even if Utah plays it conservative, they should still have enough offensive firepower to push the Rebel defense around.
I mentioned in my preview I expected Utah to score 40 or more points. I still stand by that. This team is too battered and down to not allow 40-points and if the Utes somehow fail to live up to that expectation, the offense might not have the power we all hoped for this season.
Luckily, the defense should compensate for that. However, the best case scenario would be a healthy mix of the two. Saturday should give us an indication if that will happen.