The season is in full swing and the Rebels are striving to reach their first bowl game since 2000. Two of the team's top players, quarterback Omar Clayton and wide receiver Ryan Wolfe, talk about how they handle the pressure and how a devastating loss last season is helping the team.
Quarterback - Junior, political science - Two-time academic All-MWC
Hometown: Normal, Ill.
Future: Law school.
On the field: Set school record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception (173) in 2008. In his first game as a starter, against Colorado State as a freshman, he became the first Rebel to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in the same game.
Balance: "I compartmentalize. I don't bring football to the classroom, and I don't bring the classroom to the football field."
Injuries: Missed the final three games of 2008 with a knee injury and the final two games of 2007 with a fractured hand. "My injuries were flukes, but the coaches have stressed the importance of protecting myself more and taking hits the right way."
Best moment: "When I quarterbacked my high school team to a 14-0 record and a state championship. I also was able to throw the ball to my brother, which made it even sweeter."
Toughest moment: The loss last year to San Diego State -- even though he wasn't playing. "It was painful to see the emotions on the faces of the seniors, knowing that for many it was the last football game they would ever play."
Wolfe on Clayton: "He is the most dynamic quarterback in the conference. He is able to do so many different things and do them well. His decision-making process has come a long way."
Wide Receiver - Graduate student, sports education leadership - '09 BS Kinesiology
Hometown: Santa Clarita, Calif.
On the field: Two-time first-team All-MWC. UNLV career leader in receptions, yards, and 100-yard receiving games. One of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe's Senior Class Award.
Greatest insecurity: "Not living up to expectations. There is going to be a lot more eyes on the team and me this year."
Best moment: "My junior year in high school, we won the (California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section) championship. We played Mission Viejo High School, whose quarterback was (future first-round NFL draft pick) Mark Sanchez."
Toughest moment: "The loss to San Diego State to end last season. We had a chance to become bowl eligible. We had won the two previous games and got a little too comfortable. As a team, the loss helped us learn how to handle success."
Biggest challenge: "Becoming more of a leader. In previous years, I was always trying to prove myself. I have proven myself, but now I need to be a leader."
Future: Wants to be an athletic director.
Clayton on Wolfe: "Ryan hardly ever does anything wrong on the field. He runs perfect routes and catches the ball when we get it to him. That makes a quarterback's job so much easier. It's very rare for us to not be on the same page."