Run and Shoot: It's 100 Degrees

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It's 100 Degrees

LAS VEGAS, Nev.- For one weekend every few years, Las Vegas becomes Madison, Wisc. of the west. And this weekend, that is certainly the case.

Stroll along the famous Las Vegas strip, and all you see is red. Red hats, red t-shirts, red beads, red facepaint. Ever since arriving on Thursday night, it's the only thing there is, in every hotel, every casino, every pool. Wisconsin fans have invaded Las Vegas.

They like to pride themselves in being one of the best traveling parties in the nation, and by my account, they have to be right up there in that category.

Tonight, No. 5 Wisconsin (1-0) takes on UNLV (1-0) at Sam Boyd Stadium in beautiful Las Vegas.

It's a gorgeous night for football. The sun is setting behind the desert mountains, and just beyond the North endzone, is rolling desert, as if we're in the middle of the 1800s. It's quite the sight.

With both teams having red/white color, it's tough to tell who is rooting for who. But it wouldn't be surprising if the Badgers don't have over 25,000 of the 40,000 people in attendance tonight. At least. UNLV says they are expecting one of the biggest crowds in school history. Each time the Badgers have been here in the past, they have set an attendance record.

So let's take a look at the matchup. The Badgers are sitting pretty in the Big Ten, considering Michigan is now 0-2, and Ohio State struggled with Akron at home today. Wisconsin truly feels they are the best team in the conference, and pulled away from a tough Washington State team in Week 1 of the season.

Wisconsin has the second longest active winning streak, at 10, dating back to last season of course, after Boise State lost today, and with BYU losing to UCLA at the moment, UW could have the longest by the end of the night.

Here's a quick look at the Wisconsin offense:
-QB Tyler Donovan was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week last week, after throwing for 284 yards and 3 TDs against Washington State.
-WR Luke Swan is the Badgers' biggest receiving threat, grabbing two touchdowns and gaining 170 yards receiving in the first week of the season.
-RB P.J. Hill is the Badgers feature back. He had an outstanding freshman season, and trimmed some weight to try and get quicker in his second collegiate season. Hill ran for 84 yards against WSU and two touchdowns.

Here's UNLV's offense:
-Freshman QB Travis Dixon completed 12 of his 20 passes against Utah State, for 141 yards with no TDs and INTs. But he's also a running threat. Dixon led the team in rushing last week, gaining 129 yards on the ground with a touchdown on 22 carries.
-RB Frank Summers is the feature back for the Rebels. He ran the ball only 10 times last week for 40 yards and a touchdown.

And of course here are some random game notes:
-UNLV looks to win three straight games for the first time since 2003.
-No. 5 Wisconsin is the highest ranked team that UNLV has ever played in Las Vegas.
-The Badgers are the second-highest ranked team ever to face UNLV (at No. 2 Tennessee in 1996).
-Wisconsin leads the series 5-2, including 2-1 here in Las Vegas. They have met six times in the last 12 years, including an 18-3 Wisconsin win in their last meeting in Madison in 2004.
-The last time they met here in Las Vegas, the game was called with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter when the lights went out here at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Sweet Revenge:
For those of you who are basketball fans, you can remember that the Rebels knocked the highly ranked Badgers out of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in the 2nd round. Think the basketball team had a few words for the football players this week?

It's officially 100 degrees here right now. But the locals tell you, at least it's not humid. It's still hot.

Keys to the game:

If there's anything that the first two weeks has taught us about the 2007 football season, is that anything's possible. I don't have to even mention it (your welcome Michigan fans), but anything is possible.

It will take a lot for UNLV to come out on top. Wisconsin's defense should be the toughest they face all season long. But then again, there aren't too many scrambling quarterbacks in the Big Ten. If there's one thing that could get the Badgers in trouble, is that.

Something tells me that UW LB Jonathan Casillas won't let that happen.

The refs are from the Mountain West Conference, the sun is setting with big clouds off in the distance over the mountains in which the sun is casting the most unreal color. It looks like one of the paintings that that guy used to do on PBS for years and years. Enjoy the game everyone.

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