UNLV returns to Idaho for the first time since 1977

Photo by Devin Loretz

The UNLV football team continues to search for its first win of the 2010 season. The team will travel to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Idaho Vandals on Saturday at 7:35 p.m.

Saturday’s game will be a rare occasion for the Rebels, as they make their first trip to play in Idaho in 33 years. Idaho is one of a school-record nine Rebel opponents in 2010 that played in a bowl game last season.

This will also mark the first time many Rebel players have played in a dome, as Idaho plays in the Kibble
Dome. The Rebels last played in a domed stadium in 1990 at the Astrodome in Houston when they faced the University of Houston.

“They have a good team. They won eight games last year including their bowl game,” said head coach Bobby Hauck. “They were 3-0 versus teams from the Mountain West Conference a year ago and they got a good outfit.”

UNLV makes the trip up north coming off back-to-back losses to nationally ranked opponents in Wisconsin
and Utah. Hauck, who was the winningest coach in Big Sky Conference history, is 1-0 versus Idaho, as his 2003 Montana Grizzlies team defeated the Vandals 41-29.

Hauck can become the second consecutive UNLV head coach to record his first Rebel victory against Idaho. Hauck’s predecessor, Mike Sanford, earned his initial UNLV win in the most recent meeting of these two teams in 2005.

Idaho enters Saturday’s contest with a record of 1-1. Idaho shut out North Dakota 45-0 in their home opener two weeks ago before falling to No. 8 Nebraska 38-17 last Saturday.

Idaho is one of three teams from the Western Athletic Conference that will play UNLV in 2010. Rival Nevada,
Reno, who the Rebels host on Oct. 2, and Hawaii are the other two teams.

UNLV is 55-61-1 against current WAC schools and 10-8 versus the league since leaving the WAC after the 1998 season to join the MWC.

UNLV leads the all-time series against Idaho 3-2 and won its only previous game played in Moscow, 35-14, on Nov. 5, 1977.

Senior quarterback Omar Clayton, who got the start against Utah after relieving Mike Clausen of his duties in the third quarter of the home opener, is listed atop the depth chart for this week’s game at Idaho. Clayton
is looking to build off his steady performance in the game against Utah, when he completed 18 of 37 passes for 217 yards.

The Rebels are hoping to improve a running game that has been inconsistent through two games. Hauck will likely once again use a running-back-by-committee approach as he has the past two games.

Running backs C.J. Cox, Channing Trotter, Bradley Randle and Tim Cornett will be among those receiving
carries and looking to emerge as the featured back this Saturday.

UNLV will look to build upon a defense that has shown signs of improvement on the young season. The Rebels’ secondary has played well for the most part and their rushing defense looked much better against Utah than it did in the opener against Wisconsin.

The Vandals are led on offense by quarterback Nathan Enderle, who has completed 42 of 70 passes for a total of 474 yards in two games. Enderle, however, struggled mightily against the Cornhuskers as he threw five interceptions and was replaced due to ineffective play.

“They’ve got a quarterback who’s a pro prospect in Enderle,” Hauck said. “Idaho has a strong and proud football tradition and Enderle is probably the best quarterback there since John Friesz and Doug Nussmeier.”

The UNLV game will be broadcast on ESPNU and can be heard on the radio on ESPN 1100-AM. UNLV will make only its second appearance on ESPNU, the first since playing at Nevada in 2005.