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Arizona vs. UNLV: Rebels have clear size advantage over Wildcats

The thing RichRod is most worried about heading into Las Vegas? The Rebels' size

Tim Cornett may present some issues for the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday
Tim Cornett may present some issues for the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

While UNLV has not won many games recently (just six in the last three years), they may present an interesting matchup for the quick, yet undersized Arizona Wildcats this weekend.

"We don't match up with them size-wise," said head coach Rich Rodriguez.  "They're a big, physical team.  It concerns me that we're so small."

"We're smaller than every team we play against pretty much maybe other than NAU.  We better play with great technique."

One rebel that really stands out is running back Tim Cornett, who is 6-0, 210 pounds.

"He's the prime example, a big physical back, got good feet, good ball skills, a lot of experience," continued Rodriguez. "We don't have anybody in our program like that so not tackling a guy like that is going to be a big concern for us at the beginning of the game."

"I see a good back in number 35 (Cornett)," added Marquis Flowers.  "They're definitely going to be a lot different from NAU.  They've got some good-sized guys out there but it shouldn't be that big of factor.  It's just football."

Cornett had 80 yards on 20 carries last week against Minnesota.

UNLV runs the same kind of spread, hurry up offense that Arizona plays.

"I feel like we can handle it," said Devin Holiday.  "We have to play to our best ability.  We gotta be smart, no mental mistakes."

Facing this kind of offense will help the defense said Holiday.  "I feel like it helps with fatigue in the defense."

"It's kind of like our offense," added Flowers.  "They're obviously going to play hard.  This is more our level of competition.  We should play hard."

The entire UNLV offense is a lot bigger than the Arizona offense though.  QB Nick Sherry is 6-5, 235 pounds. By comparison, B.J. Denker is 6-3 and probably somewhere between 180 and 185 pounds now.

Ka'Deem Carey is 5-10, 196 and Daniel Jenkins is 5-9, 197...both quite a bit smaller than Tim Cornett.

UNLV also has two tight ends that play almost every down.  Jake Phillips (6-6, 255) and Taylor Barnhill (6-4, 240) will most certainly present problems for the Wildcats secondary.

The wide outs who got the most attention last week were Maika Mataele (9 receptions, 43 yards), DeVante Davis (7 rec., 77 yds) and Jerry Rice Jr. (6 rec., 35 yards).  That's right, Jerry Rice Jr.

Rice Jr. graduated from UCLA, but decided to use his last year of eligibility at UNLV this season.

Mataele's game last week was sort of a break out game for the senior, considering that he only caught two balls his entire career prior to the nine he caught against Minnesota.  DeVante Davis was the leading receiver at UNLV last year, picking up 854 yards on 61 catches and four TD receptions.

The moral of the story here is that the Arizona defense faces its first true test of the 2013 season Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.

A lot of questions still remain after last week's shutout of NAU.  How will the Wildcats respond to an experienced quarterback with multiple weapons?  Will the front six be able to contain a big running back in Tim Cornett?  Will playing a true road game affect the plethora of freshmen?  How will the offense respond this week after not having an effective drive for the final 55 minutes of the NAU game?

I suppose we'll find out answers to these soon enough.