One football player has something to say before fellow students become jealous that the team is going to Las Vegas.
“It’s a business trip,” said senior receiver Jerry Harris. “We’re here for one thing and that’s the game.”
So instead of hearing the enticing sounds of a slot machine being pulled, CMU will hear helmets clashing when it faces the reeling 0-2 Rebels at 10 p.m. Saturday.
It is the Chippewas first trip out west since playing in a game against Arizona in 2009, which it lost 19-6.
“I think the biggest adjustment was the time,” Harris said, who played in the game. “But you get used to it, playing a night game. You get plenty of rest, so it shouldn’t be a factor.”
The first thing Harris noted about the game in Tucson was the heat and the National Weather Service forecasts that the temperature will be as high as 96 degrees on Saturday in Las Vegas.
It appeared CMU would be coming to Vegas to play a team that could pose problems, considering UNLV remained competitive in its game against Minnesota, down only 16-13 at halftime.
But then everything unraveled as it was outscored in the next six quarters of two games, 93-23. The Rebels were beat by Minnesota 51-23 and it was defeated by Arizona 58-13.
“They played good teams,” said head coach Dan Enos. “Arizona is outstanding. One thing both of those teams did was they both really got big plays with their quarterback running game. . . So it’s going to be a whole different game.”
The losses by the Rebels were also due to self-inflected miscues, including five turnovers.
Additionally, they had trouble on special teams, missing two PAT attempts and giving up two touchdowns from a kick return and a blocked field goal.
UNLV reached rock bottom when they had to call a timeout against Arizona because one player from the punt team was missing from the field – the punter.
Moreover, the Rebels use the vogue spread offense, chipping away on drives with short passes and runs, much like New Hampshire.
“Everybody’s got some of that in their system,” Enos said. “And so I think it’s going to help prepare for our conference when you play Toledo and Northern (Illinois) and the rest of the teams that are using that.”
Running back Tim Cornett returned this season for UNLV after rushing for 1,232 yards with 5.1 yards a carry last year.
He has accounted for the bulk of the carries with 35 for 142 yards this season, but Shaquille Murray-Lawrence has only needed eight carries to accumulate 190 yards.