UNLV hosts Vanderbilt Saturday

Rebels face an SEC opponent for the first time at home in regular season.
UNLV looks to rebound from the first loss of the season at Michigan, when the Rebels host the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday at 4pm at Allegiant Stadium.
The UNLV Rebels look for their second win under head coach Barry Odom when they host SEC opponent Vanderbilt at Allegiant Stadium Saturday. Photo credit Lucas Peltier/UNLV

UNLV is hoping to knock off SEC opponent Vanderbilt for the second time in school history when the two teams collide at Allegiant Stadium, 4pm Saturday.

The Rebels defeated Vandy when the schools met in Nashville in 2019, a 34-10 UNLV win. This is an important non-conference game for both schools as they look to continue with bowl aspirations this season. UNLV (1-1) comes off the 35-7 loss at Michigan before a crowd of more than 109,000 fans. After starting the season at 2-0, Vanderbilt lost at Wake Forest last week, 36-20.

The goal for UNLV is to stop the run first on Saturday. But the Commodores tandem of QB AJ Swann and Will Sheppard will have to be contained in the passing game. Vandy's offense put up 423 yards in the loss at Wake. Swann threw for more than 300 yards for the first time in his career. And, Sheppard pulled in two touchdowns in a game for the third time season. Swann currently leads the SEC in passing touchdowns with eight.

UNLV will look to get its Go Go Offense started. The Rebels haven't had to show a lot in its first two games. Against Bryant University, UNLV was able to control the line of scrimmage mostly through the ground attack and versus Michigan, UNLV was outmanned from the start and didn't show much offensively again. Doug Brumfield also needs to get untracked. The Junior QB has completed 57% of his passes, but has not completed a pass of more than 29 yards. He has yet to throw his first touchdown pass on the season. Brumfield was sacked five times in Ann Arbor last week.

UNLV gave up 313 yards in the passing game last week mostly by Michigan's J.J. McCarthy who completed 22 of 25 passes on the afternoon. The Rebels played mostly a soft zone and haven't used their aggressive style, attacking defense yet. Odom said he saw a lot of positives during last week's game against the second-ranked Wolverines. "We'll build from it," he said.

Vanderbilt's defense has given up an average of 154 yards a game and almost 400 yards total on average.

Odom is hoping UNLV can continue its special teams success on Saturday. The Rebels are ranked first in the country in special teams efficiency after two games. He said he wants the team embrace the improvement in special teams. "The goal is at the end of week 12 that we're still number one." He added its an X factor, we spend a lot of times on it, it will win games."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV