Utah looks to extend conference streak after UNLV
Shutouts, apparently, can be very humbling - the Utes lost 27-0 to UNLV the last time they came to Las Vegas in 2007.
"I hope nobody wants to remember that," said Utah linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, a Las Vegas native who expects a crowd of family and friends at the game. "We didn't execute, and you know, it doesn't matter what you do - if you don't execute nothing's going to work."
But the No. 24 Utes have executed plenty since that game, winning 25 times and losing twice. Utah (4-1, 1-0 Mountain West Conference) was knocked out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2003 after losing at Oregon on Sept. 26.
"It was a wake-up call for a lot of guys on the team," Whittingham said. "The mindset has got to be right each and every week. That doesn't guarantee victory every week, but it guarantees that you'll play good football."
The Rebels (2-4, 0-2) are eager for a win after three straight losses and two straight embarrassments. UNLV allowed 122 points and 1,384 yards of offense in their last two games, a 63-28 loss at Nevada and a 59-21 loss at home to No. 18 BYU.
"We've had two very difficult games in a row," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said.
He described the prospect of facing Utah exactly the same way he described BYU last week, saying: "We've got our work cut out for us."
"We are in a situation where we have another very good football team coming into our stadium Saturday night in the Utah Utes," Sanford said. "We have a lot of respect for them. They are a very good football team."
The Utes are averaging 438 yards of offense - second best in conference play - as they line up against the lowest-ranked defense in the Mountain West.
Utah quarterback Terrance Cain is behind only BYU's Max Hall in total offense, averaging a combined 289 yards per game in the air and on the ground.
UNLV, meanwhile, yields an average 217 rush yards per game - the worst in the conference by 45 yards per game.