The West Virginia Mountaineers are fresh off a bye week and almost ready to take on the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels this Saturday at 3:30pm in Morgantown. I consider the Mountaineers almost ready because Coach Bill Stewart and staff are dealing with a couple of injuries to key players. Offensively, Noel Devine is still plagued by a big toe injury suffered during the LSU game and guard Josh Jenkins is having problems with one of his knees. On the defensive side, ends Julian Miller and Will Clarke along with linebacker Pat Lazear have also been bit bye the injury bug.
Mountaineer Head Coach Bill Stewart now has to find a way to win the game without further injuring or even permanently injuring important players. Stewart’s dilemma has only been made worse by the schedule because just five days after the Rebels leave Morgantown, the University of South Florida, a Big East rival, comes stampeding into town. I respect Coach Stewart, but I would not want to be in his shoes this week ,or any week fro that matter (I find basketball shoes more comfortable myself).
Injuries aside, the Mountaineers have to at least respect UNLV Head Coach Bobby Hauck because they do have a few threats on their 1-4 football team. The first of which is senior dual threat quarterback Omar Clayton. Clayton looks like a strong guy with a nice arm, pretty quick feet, and big playmaking ability (this just from the glimpses of caught of him on Sports Center). He’s completed 55 of 104 passes for 748 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception against the three ranked teams he’s faced this season. When Clayton throws, he’ll more than likely look in the direction of either Michael Johnson (3 touchdown passes against New Mexico) or Phillip Payne (8 passes for 170 yards against Nevada).
The major difference between these two teams seems to be their defenses. The Rebels rank 101 nationally in scoring defense and allow 32.6 points per game. On the flip side, the Mountaineers rank 12 nationally in the same category and allow fewer than half as many points per game as the Rebels, 14.50. To make matters worse for the Rebels’ defense, the unit gives up 203.8 yards per game (that’s not good folks) while the Mountaineers yield only 84.50.
All things considered, I’m going with a final score of WVU 38 UNLV 10. I think the Mountaineers will come out angry about losing their place in the Top 25 to Nevada last week. What does Nevada have to do with the WVU-UNLV game you ask? Well, its simple, the N in UNLV stands for Nevada. Thus, I’m thinking Coach Stewart will use this as motivation to take care of the Rebels and then get ready for what’s always a tough match up with South Florida. But hey, I’m not looking ahead and I don’t think the Mountaineers are either.
About the Author
Written by Jason Lee
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I've been a sports fan probably since I was about 9 years old! A 2002 graduate of Mount Union College (Alliance, OH), I've had the opportunity to cover some great high school football on the radio in both Ohio (working with WHBC in Canton) and in West Virginia (I currently work with Bristol Broadcasting in Charleston). I also keep an on-line journal/blogs on my own website.