Know Wyoming’s foe: UNLV Rebels
LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- UNLV runs the "Go-Go offense."
No, seriously. That's what it's called.
That equates to tempo, some elements of the option, downhill running and deep shots. It's the brainchild of offensive coordinator Brennan Marion. Spacing is key. So are multiple formations.
It worked at Pitt and Texas.
It's now hitting on all cylinders in the desert.
Jayden Maiava is running it to near perfection, too.
"The quarterback is excellent," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. "He's completing 65% of his passes. We really are going to be challenged."
The redshirt freshman, who wasn't even the Rebels' starting quarterback entering the season, has thrown for 1,828 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 159 yards on 40 carries and broke a 24-yard touchdown run in a 40-37 victory over Vanderbilt.
Monday Maiava (my-AH-vah) was named the Mountain West's Freshman of the Week.
He did that by picking apart New Mexico's defense to the tune of 247 yards passing and three passing touchdowns. He also completed better than 72% of his throws in that 56-14 rout of the Lobos in Albuquerque.
He threw two of those scoring strikes to Ricky White, who was also named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week after his eight-catch, 165-yard performance.
The Rebels also rushed for 169 yards and forced two turnovers in the win.
"Our opponent is playing, I think, maybe the best in the Mountain West right now," Bohl said. "... I think they are playing at the top of their game."
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Plenty of that has to do with the orchestrator under center.
Maiava is a local product, a three-star prospect from Liberty High School in nearby Henderson, and the highest-rated high school quarterback in UNLV history. He had offers from Auburn, Tennessee and Louisville.
It's easy to see why.
The native Hawaiian put up staggering numbers during his prep career, accounting for more than 5,300 passing yards and 65 touchdown passes over his final two seasons.
"Their quarterback is well-schooled," Bohl said, adding that Maiava also takes care of the football, throwing only four interceptions on 207 attempts this fall. "He's a tall guy that's sturdy. He's got really good accuracy."
Most importantly, Maiava wins. He is 6-1 after winning his first five starts.
Wyoming (6-3, 3-2) and UNLV (7-2, 4-1) are scheduled to kickoff Friday night at 8:45 p.m. Mountain Time from inside Allegiant Stadium. The game will be televised on FS1.
* Head coach: Barry Odom (1st year) 7-2 overall record, 4-1 in MW play
* Offensive coordinator: Brennan Marion (1st season); Defensive coordinator: Mike Scherer (1st season)
* Record in 2022: 5-7 overall, 3-5 in Mountain West Conference
* Offense in 2023: Average 36.7 ppg, 424.3 ypg (199.1 rush, 225.2 pass)
* Defense in 2023: Allow 25.4 ppg, 390.7 ypg (124.9 rush, 265.8 pass)
* Key Returners - Offense: Jayden Maiava (QB - 134-207, 1,828 yds, 10 TD, 4 INT; 40 rush, 159 yds, TD), Vincent Davis (RB - 90 rush, 520 yds, 4 TD; 5 catch, 65 yds, TD), Donavyn Lester (RB - 77 rush, 388 yds, 8 TD), Jai'Den Thomas (RB - 83 rush, 385 yds, 8 TD), Courtney Reese (RB - 46 rush, 192 yds, 4TD), Ricky White (WR - 54 catch, 876 yds, 6 TD), Jacob De Jesus (WR - 35 catch, 356 yds, 2 TD), Kaleo Ballungay (TE - 10 catch, 168 yds)
* Key Returners - Defense: Jackson Woodard (LB - 73 tackles, 2 PBU, INT), Johnathan Baldwin (DB - 46 tackles, sack, 3 PBU, 2 INT), Marsel McDuffie (LB - 42 tackles, sack, 2 PBU), Cameron Oliver (DB - 41 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 INT, FF), Jett Elad (DB - 39 tackles, 4 PBU, FR), Jaxen Turner (DB - 36 tackles, 4 INT)
* Overview: The last time UNLV won seven games in a season came all the way back in 2013. That was also the last time that program was bowl eligible. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2000. The Rebels won eight games that year, the most since 1984. Randall Cunningham was the QB during that 11-2 campaign. All of those wins were vacated thanks to playing seven academically ineligible players. Is the sleeping giant of the Mountain West finally waking up? It sure appears so. Barry Odom has found new life in the desert after spending the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas. You might remember Odom. He was Missouri's head coach back in 2019 when the Tigers paid a visit to Laramie. That ended in a 37-31 upset. It likely cost Odom his job. He said as much during Mountain West Media Days in July. UNLV is playing well on both sides of the ball -- and special teams -- but this team is really cooking on the offensive side, starting with young QB Jayden Maiava. He is making plays and limiting mistakes in this innovative scheme. Seven different players finished with at least a carry out of the backfield in last week's blowout win at New Mexico. Jai'Den Thomas led the team with just 10 attempts. Still, the visitors rushed for 169 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per tote. Craig Bohl said UNLV mainly operated in "21 personnel," which means two running backs and a tight end are on the field at the same time. It's been working. It also doesn't hurt to have a potential All-American on the perimeter in Ricky White, who already has nearly 900 receiving yards and six touchdowns. If there's one concern, it's this: UNLV hasn't beaten an FBS team with a winning record. In fact, those teams -- Vanderbilt, UTEP, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado State and New Mexico -- have a combined record of 16-41. Even the FCS school they beat in the season opener, Bryant, is a game under .500. Their two losses have come against No. 3 Michigan and 25th-ranked Fresno State.
* Thoughts on UNLV: "Our opponent is playing, I think, maybe the best in the Mountain West right now. Coach Odom has done a great job. I've known coach Odom for many years. You know, he's really done a super job with that football team. I think they are playing at the top of their game. The quarterback is excellent. He's completed 65% of his passes. So we really are going to be challenged. He does have good mobility. They call the offense the Go-Go offense. There's elements of option football. They'll run two backs in the backfield and they've got a really great stable of running backs and an excellent wide receiver corps led by Ricky White. He's a big-time receiver. He transferred from Michigan State. Like I said, the running backs (Vincent) Davis, (Donavyn) Lester and (Jai'Den) Thomas are a strong stable. They're really strong. On special teams, they have an excellent punter. (Marshall) Nichols is playing good ball, averaging 46 yards (per kick). They have an excellent punt returner (Jacob De Jesus), as well. So big, big challenge going out to Las Vegas on a short week. From what I understand, we're going to have a lot of our fans there. It's a neat atmosphere. So, we're excited for the ballgame."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players