The Rebels are a collegiate football team with a sizable and loyal following. Although relatively young compared to other collegiate football programs in the country, the Rebels have seen their share of glory. Let’s take a closer look at the early years of this well-loved football team.
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Bill Ireland was tapped to be the first coach of Nevada Southern University’s football program back in September of 1968. The very first game the Rebels played was against St Mary’s Gaels at Cashman Field, in Las Vegas. The Rebels won that game 27-20. The turnout for their very first game was 8,000 which suggested that it was an anticipated debut. They continued on to have an outstanding rookie season in the league, going undefeated until their final game, where they lost 17-13 to Cal Lutheran.
In the season that followed, they fought tooth and nail in their first game against their rivals, the Nevada Wolf Pack, and lost 30-28. They would avenge that loss however, the next year with a 42-30 trouncing of the Wolf Pack.
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In 1971, the Rebels played against Utah State of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). This was to be their first game opposite a Division I school. The Rebels would fall 27-7, but gained a fair amount of experience from the loss. A month later, they would welcome Weber State in Las Vegas Stadium, the Rebels’ new home. They lost again. Bill Ireland resigned as head coach after a disappointing 1972 campaign that saw the Rebels win only one game out of ten.