LAS VEGAS – No. 15 Boise State looks to maintain its perfect start when it visits struggling UNLV in Mountain West play on Saturday in Las Vegas. The Broncos are refreshed after having a bye and don't figure to encounter too many problems against the Rebels, who have dropped three straight games.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Boise State -22.5.
Boise State's defense suffered a big blow in its last outing as sophomore linebacker Ezekiel Noa (team-best 28 tackles) was lost for the season when he tore an ACL and broke his wrist in a 30-19 win over Air Force. On the positive side, the Broncos might have junior safety DeAndre Pierce and sophomore offensive right tackle John Ojukwu back against UNLV - both starters suffered lower-leg injuries in the season opener against Florida State. "Those two guys are tough dudes," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said in a press conference. "I don't think they're pain free by any means, but I know that they want to play." UNLV was steamrolled 53-17 by Wyoming last Saturday and has lost by an average of 26 points during its skid.
ABOUT BOISE STATE (4-0, 1-0 Mountain West)
The Broncos have allowed just 12 points per game over the last three games as a unit led by junior pass rusher Curtis Weaver (six sacks) has been stout. Boise State has scored 30 or more points in three of its four games as freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier has performed well with 1,190 yards and six touchdowns while being intercepted three times. Five players have more than 10 receptions with junior CT Thomas leading in receiving yardage (283) and touchdowns (three) and sophomore Khalil Shakir having a team-best 19 receptions.
ABOUT UNLV (1-3, 0-1)
Junior quarterback Armani Rogers (393 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions) and junior running back Charles Williams (472 yards, six touchdowns) both suffered knee injuries against Wyoming but are expected to play, though redshirt freshman quarterback Kenyon Oblad (305 yards, one TD, two interceptions) will receive plenty of practice repetitions. "We're hoping that Armani is ready to go," Rebels coach Tony Sanchez told reporters. "If not, we're ready to go with Kenyon." Senior safety Evan Austrie has a team-best 34 tackles for UNLV, which has forced just two turnovers (one interception, one fumble) this season.
1. Boise State has won the past five meetings.
2. Williams topped 140 yards in each of the first three games before the injury limited him to 17 yards against Wyoming.
3. The Broncos are 18-3 in October under Harsin.
PREDICTION: Boise State 52, UNLV 10