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UNLV Football History

May 12, 1967
Nevada Southern University names Bill Ireland as the school's first head coach.

September 14, 1968
In its first game, Nevada Southern defeats St. Mary's College 27-20 before 8,000 fans at Old Cashman Field.

November 23, 1968
Nevada Southern suffers its first loss. Cal Lutheran hands the Rebels a 17-13 defeat to end the inaugural season with an 8-1 record.

November 22, 1969
The Rebels travel to Nevada, Reno for the first "Big Game." The Wolf Pack beats UNLV 30-28 to claim the first win.

November 26, 1970
UNLV wins the second "Big Game" and the John C. Fremont Cannon in the first year the trophy is offered.

September 25, 1971
The Rebels face their first major college opponent, losing at Utah State, 27-7.

October 9, 1971
UNLV plays its final home game at Butcher Memorial Field, upsetting Santa Clara, 23-14, with two touchdowns in the final 45 seconds.

October 23, 1971
UNLV plays its first game at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl and falls to Weber State, 30-17.

November 4, 1972
UNLV travels to Miami to face the Hurricanes in the fabled Orange Bowl Stadium. Miami celebrates its homecoming with a 51-7 humbling of the Rebels.

September 8, 1973
Ron Meyer begins his inaugural season as UNLV's second head coach.

September 21, 1973
UNLV records its first win over a major college opponent, thrashing Marshall University, 31-9.

October 13, 1973
The Rebels defeat Boise State, 24-19, and become ranked in the nation's Div. II top 10 for the first time in school history.

November 3, 1973
Mike Thomas, UNLV's first football All-America, sets one of his nine school records by running for 314 yards in a 41-15 win over Santa Clara.

November 17, 1973
Mike Thomas captures the NCAA Division II rushing title, ending his season with what is still a UNLV school record 1,741 yards.

October 19, 1974
No. 5-ranked UNLV defeats 4th-ranked Boise State, 37-35, in a battle of the undefeated.

October 23, 1974
UNLV climbs to No. 2 in the AP and UPI small college rankings, the highest a Rebel football team has ever been ranked.

November 23, 1974
UNLV defeats Idaho State, 31-7, to complete the school's first and only undefeated regular season.

November 30, 1974
The Rebels defeat Alcorn State, 35-22, in their first-ever NCAA post-season playoff appearance.

December 7, 1974
UNLV makes its first regional TV appearance, playing in the NCAA Division II semifinals against Delaware in Baton Rouge, La. In the Grantland Rice Bowl, Delaware defeats the Rebels, 49-11, to end UNLV's closest bid for a national championship.

January 10, 1976
Tony Knap is named UNLV's third head football coach.

November 27, 1976
UNLV travels to Ohio where the Akron Zips defeat the Rebels 27-6 in the NCAA quarterfinals.

December, 1976
The Rebels finish the year ranked No. 7 in the nation for Div. II.

September 9, 1978
Washington State defeats UNLV, 34-7, in the Rebels' first game at the Division I level.

October 21, 1978
UNLV records its first road victory over a major college opponent, defeating Colorado State in Fort Collins, 33-6. December 2, 1978
UNLV travels to Yokohama, Japan, to meet Brigham Young in the Yokohama Bowl. The Rebels end their first Division I season with a 28-24 loss to the Cougars.

November 1, 1980
The Rebels score a record 72 points in defeating New Mexico, 72-7. UNLV also ties school records with 10 touchdowns and nine PATs. Three different running backs rush for more than 100 yards (Morton-146, Jenkins-107, Carhee-102).

October 3, 1981
UNLV appears on ABC's Regional Game of the Week for the first time, losing at Wyoming, 45-21.

October 10, 1981
The Rebels knock off then-No. 8 ranked Brigham Young in Provo, 45-41.

November 28, 1981
UNLV records its 100th victory in a 27-20 win at Texas-El Paso.

December 7, 1981
Harvey Hyde is named UNLV's fourth head football coach.

October 2, 1982
UNLV plays its first Big West Conference game, losing at Pacific 29-27.

November 27, 1982
The Rebels close out the 1982 season with their first-ever Big West Conference victory, defeating Cal State Fullerton, 42-23.

December 1, 1984
The California Bowl-bound Rebels host 10th-ranked Southern Methodist in the final regular season game of 1984. Randall Cunningham, who had his No. 12 retired at halftime, becomes only the third NCAA quarterback behind Doug Flutie and John Elway to pass for more than 2,500 yards in three consecutive seasons.

December 15, 1984
The Rebels defeat Toledo, 30-13, in their first- ever major bowl game at the California Bowl in Fresno, Calif. September 21, 1985
UNLV's plays its first game against a Big Ten opponent, losing to Wisconsin, 26-23.

April 23, 1986
Wayne Nunnely is named UNLV's fifth head football coach.

September 20, 1986
UNLV defeats Wisconsin, 17-7, before a then-Silver Bowl record crowd of 32,207.

November 21, 1987
Ickey Woods continues his drive toward a national rushing title with a school-record third consecutive 200-yard rushing performance against Pacific.

November 28, 1987
Ickey Woods becomes the first UNLV and Big West player to lead the NCAA Division I ranks in rushing, ending the season with 1,658 yards.

April 24, 1988
The Cincinnati Bengals make UNLV's Ickey Woods the 31st pick in the NFL draft, the highest a Rebel football player has ever been drafted.

October 1, 1988
UNLV plays before the then-largest crowd in its history, 76,398, at Lincoln, Neb. Tenth-ranked Nebraska defeats the Rebels, 48-6.

December 23, 1989
Jim Strong is named UNLV's sixth head football coach.

September 12, 1992
UNLV begins its 25th season of football.

November 23, 1993
Jeff Horton becomes UNLV's seventh head football coach.

September 17, 1994
Senior WR Randy Gatewood sets two major NCAA records in the same game with 23 catches for 363 yards vs. Idaho. The Rebels break six other national or conference records on offense in the 48-38 loss to the Vandals.

November 19, 1994
The Rebels stun Nevada, Reno, 32-27 to tie for their first Big West championship since 1984 and break a five-game losing streak to the Wolf Pack in the process.

December 15, 1994
Appearing in its first bowl game in a decade, UNLV crushes favored Central Michigan 52-24 to win the Las Vegas Bowl III championship on ESPN.

July 1, 1996
UNLV enters the 16-team Western Athletic Conference only to learn it will face the nation's 25th-toughest football schedule.

August 31, 1996
The Rebels open the season before a school-record 106,212 fans at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium. In what is opening night for UT's new end-zone addtion, the crowd is the 12th-largest ever for an on-campus stadium. The Vols, led by then-Heisman Trophy favorite QB Peyton Manning and ranked No. 2 in the polls, are the highest ranked team to ever face UNLV and defeat the Rebels 62-3.

September 7, 1996
UNLV hosts Air Force in its first-ever WAC game, losing to the Falcons, 65-17.

September 14, 1996
40,091 red-clad fans, at the time the most ever to watch a team sporting event in the state of Nevada, jam Sam Boyd Stadium and its temporary endzone seating to watch the Badgers defeat the Rebels 52-17.

November 16, 1996
UNLV earns its first WAC victory with a stunning upset of visiting San Diego State, 44-42. Rebel freshman QB Jon Denton continues his assault on the NCAA record books by passing for national freshman-best 503 yards vs. the Aztecs.

November 23, 1996
Although the Rebels fall just short, 31-28, at San Jose State, Jon Denton finishes his amazing rookie year owning 10 NCAA freshman offensive records and 10 other school marks including most TD passes (25) and most yards (3,591) in a season. The Las Vegas native ends up fourth in the nation in total offense (302.4 YPG) and is named WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year.

October 4, 1997
The Rebels meet traditional power Southern California for the first time in football and lead in the fourth quarter before succumbing in front of 48,404 at the storied Coliseum 35-21. QB Jon Denton reaches 5,000 career passing yards in his 17th game (the second-fastest to reach the mark in Div. I-A history).

October 18, 1997
UNLV plays in its first overtime game, falling 20-17 at San Diego State.

November 21, 1998
Senior Joe Kristosik is a bright spot during the school's first-ever winless season. The Las Vegas native finished the year leading the nation in punting with a 46.2-yard average and soon is voted the Rebels' first consensus and unanimous First-Team All-American.

December 3, 1998
UNLV makes national news with the hiring of John Robinson as the school's eighth head football coach.

July 1, 1999
UNLV officially joins the new, eight-team, Mountain West Conference.

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