Las Vegas Bowl Preview

Where: Las Vegas, Nev.

When: Thurs., Dec. 21, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Payout: $800,000

Teams’ Bowl Performances Last Year:

UNLV did not play in a bowl game Arkansas beat Texas 27-6 in the Cotton Bowl

What to Watch For

This will be a home game for UNLV, and the Runnin’ Rebels will undoubtedly be playing with a lot of emotion. They have the edge in this, their first bowl game in six years.

Arkansas, however, has a lot of momentum right now. Under coach Houston Nutt, the Razorbacks wrapped up the season with two huge wins over the nationally ranked Mississippi State and Louisiana State University to earn their third straight bowl berth. Those victories snapped Arkansas’ four-game losing streak this season and two-year winless streak on the road in the Southern Conference.

UNLV quarterback Jason Thomas, who has 1,584 yards passing on the year, could be the key player in this contest. Watch for Thomas to both pass and run — he rushed for more than 100 yards twice and scored nine touchdowns despite spraining his foot midway through the season.

Rebels running back Jeremi Rudolph, who is only the fifth player in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards, is also a threat.

For Arkansas, the offense will try to take advantage of UNLV’s flimsy secondary. The Razorback defense, which didn’t allow a touchdown in the last two games of the season, will look to stop Rudolph.