We were excited about moving the UNLV game to PHX & wish it could have happened for our team & fans. We do understand UNLV’s position.
— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) May 24, 2013
There are worse things than fans getting to make a trip to Las Vegas to watch an Arizona football game.
UA and UNLV had been working on a plan to move the Sept. 7 matchup from the Rebels’ Sam Boyd Stadium to Glendale, Ariz., but those negotiations have fallen through.
Moving the game to University of Phoenix Stadium — home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals — had the potential to benefit UNLV financially, while helping to continue UA athletic director Greg Byrne’s marketing push into the Phoenix area.
UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood wrote in a statement released Friday afternoon:
“We were approached by a promoter to move our September 7 home football game against Arizona to Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium but we’ve decided to keep the game in Las Vegas.
“We went through the process with the University of Arizona, Russ Potts Productions and Global Spectrum (which manages the stadium) and everyone was great in trying to make this thing work.
“We just couldn’t get the numbers to match up and in the end everyone agreed it would be best to keep the game here. We are excited to have seven home games this fall and that the Rebels will be opening up at Sam Boyd Stadium against a Pac-12 opponent.”
Arizona opens the season Friday, August 30, against lower-division NAU before playing at UNLV. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.
The Wildcats conclude their non-conference season at home vs. Texas-San Antonio on Sept. 14.
This is one of Arizona’s easiest non-conference schedules in recent memory, rivaled only by 2008 — Idaho, Toledo and New Mexico. Of course, a 4-8 Lobos team beat the Wildcats in Albuquerque, so you never know.
The Rebels last had a winning season in 2000, going 8-5 in coach John Robinson’s second year. Get this: In seven of the past nine seasons, UNLV has had exactly two victories, including a 2-11 mark in 2012.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2013 Rebels:
COACH: Bobby Hauck is 6-32 in three seasons and should be on everyone’s “coaching hot seat” list.
RETURNING STARTERS: 19
OFFENSE: UNLV averaged only 367.9 yards and 22.0 points last season but have some dangerous skill position players. Sophomore quarterback Nick Sherry, who originally committed to Colorado, is a big (6-5, 235) drop-back passer who was on his way to a nice freshman season before injuries took their toll late in the season. He finished with 2,544 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. UNLV, under new coordinator Timm Rosenbach, is switching to the pistol formation this season, which should make good use of Tim Cornett, who rushed for 1,232 yards and seven touchdowns last year.
DEFENSE: The Rebels are hoping a quartet of junior college transfer defensive linemen can help cure a defense that allowed 445.2 yards and 32.6 points per game last season. Among the potential standouts are sophomore end Sonny Sanitoa (five sacks last season) and sophomore safety Peni Vea (52 tackles in 2012). UNLV has a new coordinator here, too, as Bobby Hauck brought in his younger brother, Tim Hauck, to run the defense and put in a more aggressive approach. Tim Hauck coached the Cleveland Browns secondary last season. Tim Hauck