Arizona expects physical battle in road clash at UNLV
SEP 06, 2013 11:45a ET
The quality of the step-up is to be determined.
Alhough the Rebels have won just six games in three-plus seasons, they are an opponent the Wildcats can't overlook.
Just this week, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez had to strongly scold his team for its effort in practice. This after beating Northern Arizona 35-0 in the season-opener.
The Rebels offer up something a bit different.
"They're a big, physical team, and it concerns me that we are so small," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We're smaller than everyone we play against … pretty much, other than NAU. But size-wise, we don't match up. We better play with great technique."
Among the challenges will be stopping UNLV senior running back Tim Cornett, a 6-foot, 210-pound bruising type of back. Last week, he had 80 rushing yards on 20 carries in a 51-23 loss to Minnesota.
"We don't have anyone in our program like that," Rodriguez said of Cornett. "Not tackling a guy like that (in practice) is going to be a big concern for us."
UNLV has been able to stay close with plenty of opponents but has had trouble getting over the hump. Last week against Minnesota, the Rebels outgained Minnesota by 99 yards but still lost by 28 in part because of two special-teams touchdown returns and a big interception.
Still, there is optimism in Rebel Land in what is considered the biggest home game of the season.
“We expect to win this week,” defensive end Jordan Sparkman told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "We’ve adjusted a lot. We’ve fixed and corrected what we needed to get done, and I feel good this week. I feel confident, and we’re going to be good. We’re going to play good, we’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard."