Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#201 Iowa State vs.
#202 UNLV
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 10:30pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

No. 14 Iowa State will hit the reset button before it goes to UNLV on Saturday night. The Cyclones are coming off a disappointing loss to No. 10 Iowa last weekend, so they have no margin for error. UNLV is a good team to face when you need a win, as the Rebels were blown out by Arizona State in Week 2.

Cyclones looking for get-right game

No. 14 Iowa State entered the season with national title aspirations. While those dreams are technically still alive, the Cyclones have not looked like contenders through the first few weeks of the season. They barely got past Northern Iowa in their season opener, grinding out a 16-10 win. While most experts assumed that was a look-ahead spot to Week 2, Iowa State did not answer any questions in its 27-17 loss at home to No. 10 Iowa. The Hawkeyes took a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter and held on from there to retain the Cy-Hawk Trophy. They have now won the last six games in the series.

Iowa State, which hosted ESPN’s GameDay on campus last week, entered the season ranked inside the top 10. It will have to avoid an emotional letdown after losing a rivalry game. Quarterback Brock Purdy is coming off the most disappointing game of his career. He was just 13 of 27 for 138 yards and he threw three interceptions. Head coach Matt Campbell pulled him out of the game in the second half, but he said Purdy will start on Saturday night. Senior running back Breece Hall is not off to a great start this year, either. He has rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.

UNLV on eight-game losing skid

UNLV comes into this game as one of the worst teams in the FBS. It opened the season with a thriller against Eastern Washington, falling 35-33 in a double-overtime affair. Eastern Washington held a 20-6 lead at the end of the third quarter before UNLV scored 14 unanswered points to send the game to overtime. The teams matched each other with touchdowns in both overtime periods, but UNLV came up short on its two-point conversion in the second overtime. The Rebels were no match for No. 23 Arizona State in Week 2, getting blown out in a 37-10 final. It was a close game at halftime, but UNLV was shut out in the second half.

Sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield has struggled, completing 11 of 26 attempts for 177 yards and zero touchdowns. He exited last week’s game after taking a big hit in the third quarter, so his status is questionable. Justin Rogers started at quarterback in Week 1 before he was pulled—Rogers will start if Brumfield is a no-go. The Rebels rely on a rushing attack that is paced by senior Charles Williams, who has 41 carries for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He exploded for 177 yards in the opener before being held to 13 attempts for 35 yards last week. The Rebels have now lost their last eight games.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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It usually takes me three or four games before I really start to move away from my preseason expectations. Iowa State is a team that I was very high on to open the season, so I am not quite ready to throw them in the trash can after a pair of mediocre performances. The Cyclones should come into this game with a chip on their shoulder after losing a rivalry game last week. This is the perfect opportunity for them to record a blowout and start to feel good about themselves. The fact that UNLV’s quarterback is questionable makes this an even better wager.

Prediction: Iowa State -31.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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This total is suggesting UNLV only scores 10 points, which is probably fair. However, I do expect Iowa State to score at least 40 points, so there is not much room for error with the under. I think the Cyclones are going to put the ball in the end zone on almost every possession against this bad defense—I want no part of the under in that scenario. UNLV is not going to do much scoring, but its quarterback situation could lead to some turnovers and easy points for Iowa State. If the Rebels can score 10-14 points, we should be able to cash the over as well.

Prediction: Over 51.5
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.