Cats face Rebels in season opener
After routing UNLV last year, Arizona football will look to double down on victories over the Rebels tonight at home at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Last year, UNLV enjoyed its first winning season since 2000. The Rebels recovered from an 0-2 start, including a 58-13 home loss to Arizona, to finish 7-6 and make the Heart of Dallas Bowl, their first since 2002.
The Rebels were originally banned from the postseason this year for unsatisfactory academic progress, but that ban was overturned this summer.
UNLV gets its nickname and confederate colors because it “rebelled” against its in-state rival, the University of Nevada.
Arizona cornerback Devin Holiday (13) tackles UNLV wide receiver Devante Davis (81) during Arizona's 58-13 win against UNLV at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 7, 2013. Davis finished last season with 87 receptions, 1290 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and will be a handful for the Arizona secondary on Friday.
The Rebels own a 22-24 record in season openers and are 5-16 on the road in those games. UNLV’s last season opening win was in 2009 against Sacramento State, and their last road win in the first game was in 2007 against Utah State.
Arizona is 15-1 at home on Labor Day weekend, including 14 wins in a row. The Wildcats are 80-25-5 in season openers and have won 12 of their last 14.
The only other time UNLV and Arizona have played was Sept. 22, 2001 in the teams’ first games since the Sept. 11 attack, and the Wildcats won 38-21. The schools will also play in men’s basketball on Dec. 23 in Las Vegas. UNLV is 6-27 against the Pac-12 Conference teams, with its last win coming in 2008 when it beat No. 12 ASU 23-20. Arizona is 95-50-5 against the Mountain West.
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is 8-0 against nonconference teams at the UA.
Always bet on black
UNLV features a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with a Concentration in Gaming.
Rebel roll call
UNLV will also feature a new quarterback, junior college transfer
Blake Decker, who went to Scottsdale Community College. The former Fighting Artichoke is from Mesa, Ariz.
Preseason All-American and Biletnikoff Award candidate Devante Davis leads the Rebels. Davis tallied 1,290 yards receiving last year and had three catches for 84 yards against Arizona in 2013.
Each year a Rebel senior is honored with the Tom Wiesner Award. Offensive lineman Brian Roth won it this year and gets to wear a special jersey. Wiesner was a famous Las Vegas businessman, politician and philanthropist who is in the UNLV sports hall of fame.
Arizona senior running back Adonis Smith, who is second on the UA’s depth chart this week, was a backup at UNLV last year. Rebel safeties coach Tim Hundley is the father of former UA catcher and current Baltimore Oriole Nick Hundley.
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