O.C.: Starting quarterback Omar Clayton shares something in common with several Oregon State football players -- he is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship. Despite missing the last three games last year Clayton passed for 1,894 yards, 18 touchdowns and just four picks. Last weekend he completed 13 of 17 attempts for 213 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.
REDZONE WEAPON: True freshman Phillip Payne made a big impact last season, totaling 29 catches for 436 yards and a stunning seven touchdowns. Even though he missed three full games because of a pair of concussions, his TD total in nine games played was the most for a Rebel in an entire season since 2005. Payne, who has some of the best hands in the conference, hauled in four passes for 55 yards against Sacramento State.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE: The Rebels are in the middle of a three game homestand and if they win Saturday it will be first time they have started a season 2-0 since 1999. UNLV is 5-23 all-time against ranked opponents, but have not defeated one in Sam Boyd Stadium since 1984.
LOOK OUT FOR: The most talented player on the Rebel roster is Ryan Wolfe, an All-American candidate, and the first two-time first team All-MWC selection in school history. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver is similar to former Beaver great Mike Hass - tough, durable and savvy who has a knack for making the big play. Last weekend he grabbed a team high five passes for 67 yards.
JUST FOUR MORE: PK Kyle Watson, another former walk-on who earned a scholarship, is just four successful extra-point attempts away from breaking the UNLV record for consecutive PATs. Watson made all 37 extra-points last year and was a perfect five for five in the season opener against Sacramento State. He was 7 of 8 on field goals last year with a long of 38 and connected on his only field goal attempt, a career best 39 yarder, last weekend.
NOT LIKE ASU: Last year UNLV traveled to Tempe and knocked off No. 13 Arizona State 23-20 in overtime. Comparisons have been made between Arizona State and Oregon State, but UNLV head coach Mike Sanford says OSU is a different type of program than ASU.
"Oregon State plays with a chip on their shoulder," Sanford said. "They're probably the most physical team in the Pac-10.''
SALDI STAYS WITH REBELS: Although he is not on the playing field before every game LB Bryce Saldi's playing gear is put out in his locker. Saldi suffered a serious brain injury during a skateboarding accident on July 3. Saldi, a graduate of Texas prep powerhouse Southlake Carroll High School, earned his first UNLV letter last season by playing in all 12 games, primarily on special teams.
MORE CLAYTON: Clayton takes care of the football as he completed a school record 173 pass attempts without an interception last season and has passed for at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive games. He is UNLV's career leader in both completion percentage (60.3 percent) and lowest interception percentage (only nine in 370 attempts). The 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior is the first player in school history to pass for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in one game.
BRIGHT REBELS: Eight players on the football team have already earned their bachelor's degree. That number is a program record and is tied for sixth in the nation among FBS teams in 2009. Among the eight is All-American receiver Ryan Wolfe (kinesiological sciences) and standout linebacker/defensive end Jason Beauchamp.
MORE WOLFE: He already holds the UNLV career records for receptions (214), 100-yard receiving games (10), and receiving yards (2,802) Wolfe is college football's second-leading active career receiver (209) behind only Bryan Anderson of Central Michigan, who has 14 more grabs but has played in four more games than Wolfe. Besides his football skills, he is also a great student who earned a spot on the Dean's Honor List last fall and spring.
ON FIRE: The Rebels tied Ohio State for the national lead for redzone percentage a year ago, scoring 95-percent of the time inside opponents' 20-yard lines. The Rebels opened up the year a perfect 5 for 5 inside the redzone.
BEAUCHAMP OUT?: Senior LB/DE Jason Beauchamp, a preseason unanimous all-conference selection, may sit out due to a bum ankle - it will be a game time decision He recorded seven tackles last weekend.
TOP 3: Linebackers Starr Fuimaono and Ronnie Paulo are the team's top two leading tacklers with 11 stops a piece. Starr has one tackle for loss while Paulo has two. Beauchamp rounds out the top three with seven stops.