When Tony Knap came from Boise State to Las Vegas to coach the Rebels in 1976, it signified the end of the Ron Meyer era. This would also be the start of the Rebels’ road to Division I football.
Tony Knap guided the Rebels to a successful 9-3 record and the 7th spot in the country rankings. This earned the team a berth in the Division II playoffs in which they lost to Akron in the quarterfinals.
Image source: unlv.edu
In 1978, after a decade in Division II, the UNLV Rebels football program made the leap into Division I. They were still independent of any conference. Their first game was against Washington State on September 9, 1978. The Rebels were beaten 34-7. Their first win away would come with against Colorado State in Fort Collins with the score 33-6. When the season ended, the UNLV Rebels traveled across the Pacific to Japan. It was there in Yokohoma where they met the mighty Brigham Young team and lost 28-24. Their first year in Division I was still impressive, and still surpassed many experts’ predictions and expectations. They ended the year with a 7-4 record.
Image source: Youtube.com
Hello there! I’m Apparao Mukkamala. I’m currently studying at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and I follow the Rebels. Check out this LinkedIn page for more about the UNLV Rebels.