UNLV Rebel football fans obviously couldn’t care less about the Battle for the Fremont Cannon.
A crowd of just 20,151 showed up Saturday night to watch the Nevada Wolf Pack trounce the Rebels 49-27 at Sam Boyd Stadium. It is the smallest crowd to watch a Wolf Pack-Rebels football game in Las Vegas in three decades, since just 16,168 showed up in 1983 to watch coach Harvey Hyde’s Rebels beat the Wolf Pack 28-18.
It is the smallest crowd to watch the Silver State rivalry since 16,545 showed up at the Wolf Pack’s Mackay Stadium in 1989 to watch the Pack win 45-7.
A few factors likely contributed to the flat turnout Saturday night. The game was televised nationally on ESPNU, the Rebels were just 2-10 going into the game and Rebel coach Bobby Hauck announced his resignation a day before the game. The Rebels also blew a 35-31 lead with a second to play at Hawaii the previous week in a 37-35 loss.
The last two crowds at Sam Boyd Stadium for the Rebel-Pack game have been the lowest in the rivalry in 30 years. Just 20,565 showed up in 2012 to see the Rebels waste a 21-point lead in a 42-37 loss to the Wolf Pack.
The city of Las Vegas simply does not get excited about the rivalry with the Wolf Pack. A listing of the top 31 crowds in Sam Boyd Stadium history does not include one game against the Wolf Pack. The largest crowd at Sam Boyd to watch a Pack-Rebel game was 37,596 in 2004. That was the date of the last Rebel victory in the rivalry before the current run of nine wins in 10 years by the Wolf Pack.
A crowd of 32,521 showed up at Mackay Stadium in 2013 to watch the Wolf Pack lose to UNLV 27-22.