Fremont Cannon


The Fremont Cannon is the trophy awarded to the winner of the Battle for Nevada (also known as the Nevada–UNLV football rivalry), an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Nevada Wolf Pack football team of the University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada) and the UNLV Rebels football team of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The trophy was built in 1970 and is a replica of a 19th-century Howitzer cannon that accompanied American explorer and politician John C. Frémont on an expedition to the American West and Nevada in the mid 19th century. The original cannon had been abandoned, due to heavy snows, in the Sierra Nevada in 1843. The replica cannon was originally fired following a touchdown by the team in possession of the cannon, but it has been inoperable since 1999. The wooden carriage is painted the school color of the team in possession, navy blue for Nevada or scarlet for UNLV. The trophy is the heaviest and most expensive in college football.[1] Since 2012, the game is also part of the Silver State Series (formerly Governor's Series), the series of athletic competitions between the two schools.

Fremont Cannon
Fremont Cannon in 2005, painted with Nevada navy blue
First meetingNovember 22, 1969
Nevada 30, UNLV 28
Latest meetingOctober 29, 2021
Nevada 51, UNLV, 20
Next meetingNovember 26, 2022 in Las Vegas
StadiumsMackay Stadium
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Allegiant Stadium
Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
TrophyNone (1969)
Fremont Cannon (1970–present)
Meetings total47
All-time seriesNevada leads, 29–18 (.617)
Trophy seriesNevada leads, 28–18 (.609)
Largest victoryNevada, 50–8 (1991)
Longest win streakNevada, 8 (2005–2012)
Current win streakNevada, 2 (2020–present)
[Interactive fullscreen map]
Locations of Nevada and UNLV stadiums

The first game between the teams was in 1969 with Nevada defeating UNLV. The following year, the cannon was built and UNLV became the first team to win the cannon. Nevada has the longest win streak in the rivalry, having held the cannon for eight consecutive years.

Nevada is the current holder of the trophy after defeating UNLV on October 29, 2021, at Mackay Stadium.[2]

History of the trophyEdit

In 1967, Bill Ireland was hired by Nevada Southern University (the predecessor to UNLV) to coach their new football team[3] and by 1969 came up with the idea to have a trophy as a symbol of the rivalry between the two schools.[4] Ireland was the first football coach of the UNLV Rebels[5] and an alumnus and former coach of Nevada.[3] The cannon was donated by Kennecott Copper and is a replica of a howitzer cannon that explorer John C. Fremont used on an expedition in 1843 and left in a large snowdrift in the Sierra Nevada mountains.[4] The cannon contains a 55 millimetres (2.2 in) barrel, weighs 545 pounds (247 kg), and cost $10,000 to build, making it the heaviest and most expensive trophy in college football.[6] The cannon is painted the winning team's color, red for UNLV,[7] and blue for Nevada.[8]

The two schools first played each other on November 22, 1969, the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day. This game was homecoming for Nevada, who won the game 30–28. At the time, construction of the cannon had yet to be completed. The first competition for the cannon was in 1970 when the Rebels won 42–30 in Las Vegas.[6] In 1978, following Nevada's first victory over UNLV in four seasons, Chris Ault convinced security at McCarran International Airport to allow the team to disassemble the cannon and take it as carry-on luggage back to Reno.[6] The team had to figure out how to break down the cannon, a task that was usually done by the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, which UNLV did not have in 1978.

The Fremont Cannon was refurbished by the UNLV athletics department at a cost of $1,500 in 2000 following damage after a UNLV victory celebration wherein fans and players attempted to lift the cannon and dropped it.[9] Traditionally, the team possessing the cannon would fire it each time they scored a touchdown during the rivalry game;[5] however, the cannon has not been fired since the restoration due to the damage it received.[9]

History of the rivalryEdit

John C. Frémont,
the cannon's namesake
Fremont Cannon in 2013, painted with UNLV scarlet red

Students of Nevada's two public universities share a mutual disdain for each other, as evidenced by the numerous blue "FUNLV" (UNLV being shorthand for University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and red "FUNR" shirts (UNR being shorthand for University of Nevada, Reno) at the stadium on rivalry days.[10]

In 1993, Wolf Pack coach Jeff Horton left Nevada after one season to coach for UNLV in what is referred to as the "Red Defection".[11]

The rivalry is heated inside the stadium as well. Sam Boyd Stadium and Mackay Stadium are two of the few NCAA football venues remaining to sell alcohol to all spectators of legal age on game day (many institutions either do not sell alcohol at all, or sell it only to those seated in luxury boxes). This, combined with the heated nature of the rivalry, has resulted in numerous fights in the stands. In 1995, UNLV players allegedly started a pre-game brawl, which prompted the Wolf Pack to run up the score in their 55–32 victory against UNLV. After the game, UNLV player Quincy Sanders threw his helmet in the direction of Nevada head coach Chris Ault.[12]

On August 18, 2010, Nevada announced that they would join the Mountain West Conference starting in either 2011 or 2012; their entry was later confirmed for 2012. Since UNLV has been in the Mountain West Conference since 1999, the annual rivalry game is once again a conference game. When the MW expanded to 12 football members in 2013 and split into divisions for that sport, both schools were placed in the West Division, assuring annual matchups for the foreseeable future. Before 2012, the last meeting of the two schools as conference rivals was in 1995, when both schools were members of the Big West Conference.[13]

On October 8, 2012, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced the launch of the Governor's Series for the annual Nevada vs. UNLV rivalry games for all athletic teams.[14][15] In 2018, it was later renamed as the Silver State Series.[16][17]

Game resultsEdit

Nevada victoriesUNLV victoriesTie gamesForfeited wins[n 1]
1November 22, 1969Reno, NVNevada30–28
2November 21, 1970Las Vegas, NVUNLV42–30
3November 20, 1971Reno, NVUNLV27–13
4November 18, 1972Las Vegas, NVNevada41–13
5November 17, 1973Reno, NVNevada19–3
6November 16, 1974Las Vegas, NV#2 UNLV28–7
7November 22, 1975Reno, NVUNLV45–7
8November 20, 1976Las Vegas, NV#7 UNLV49–33
9November 19, 1977Reno, NVUNLV27–12
10September 16, 1978Las Vegas, NVNevada23–14
11September 15, 1979Reno, NVUNLV26–21
12September 3, 1983Las Vegas, NVUNLV28–18
13November 16, 1985Reno, NV#3 Nevada48–7
14October 3, 1987Las Vegas, NVUNLV24–19
15November 11, 1989Reno, NVNevada45–7
16October 20, 1990Las Vegas, NV#3 Nevada26–14
17September 7, 1991Reno, NV#5 Nevada50–8
18October 17, 1992Las Vegas, NVNevada14–10
19October 2, 1993Reno, NVNevada49–14
20November 19, 1994Las Vegas, NVUNLV32–27
21October 28, 1995Reno, NVNevada55–32
22October 5, 1996Las Vegas, NVNevada54–17
23September 6, 1997Reno, NVNevada31–14
24October 3, 1998Las Vegas, NVNevada31–20
25October 2, 1999Reno, NVNevada26–12
26October 7, 2000Las Vegas, NVUNLV38–7
27October 6, 2001Reno, NVUNLV27–12
28October 5, 2002Las Vegas, NVUNLV21–17
29October 4, 2003Reno, NVUNLV16–12
30October 2, 2004Las Vegas, NVUNLV48–13
31September 17, 2005Reno, NVNevada22–14
32September 30, 2006Las Vegas, NVNevada31–3
33September 29, 2007Reno, NVNevada27–20
34September 27, 2008Las Vegas, NVNevada49–7
35October 3, 2009Reno, NVNevada63–28
36October 2, 2010Las Vegas, NV#25 Nevada44–26
37October 8, 2011Reno, NVNevada37–0
38October 13, 2012Las Vegas, NVNevada42–37
39October 26, 2013Reno, NVUNLV27–22
40November 29, 2014Las Vegas, NVNevada49–27
41October 3, 2015Reno, NVUNLV23–17
42November 26, 2016Las Vegas, NVNevada45–10
43November 25, 2017Reno, NVNevada23–16
44November 24, 2018Las Vegas, NVUNLV34–29
45November 30, 2019Reno, NVUNLV33–30OT
46October 31, 2020Las Vegas, NVNevada37–19
47October 29, 2021Reno, NVNevada51–20
Series: Nevada leads 29–18
† Forfeited by UNLV.[21][22]

Coaching recordsEdit

Since first game on November 22, 1969


Head Coach Team Games Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
Jerry Scattini Nevada 7 1969–1975 3 4 0 .429
Chris Ault (a) Nevada 11 1976–1992 7 4 0 .636
Jeff Horton Nevada 1 1993 1 0 0 1.000
Chris Ault (b) Nevada 2 1994–1995 1 1 0 .500
Jeff Tisdel Nevada 4 1996–1999 4 0   1.000
Chris Tormey Nevada 4 2000–2003 0 4   .000
Chris Ault (c) Nevada 9 2004–2012 8 1   .889
Brian Polian Nevada 4 2013–2016 2 2   .500
Jay Norvell Nevada 4 2017–present 2 2   .500
  • Chris Ault's overall record in series is 16–6–0 (.727)


Head Coach Team Games Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
Bill Ireland UNLV 4 1968–1972 2 2 0 .500
Ron Meyer UNLV 3 1973–1975 2 1 0 .667
Tony Knap UNLV 4 1976–1981 3 1 0 .750
Harvey Hyde UNLV 2 1982–1985 0 2 0 .000
Wayne Nunnely UNLV 2 1986–1989 1 1 0 .500
Jim Strong UNLV 4 1990–1993 0 4 0 .000
Jeff Horton UNLV 5 1994–1998 1 4 0 .200
John Robinson UNLV 6 1999–2004 5 1   .833
Mike Sanford UNLV 5 2005–2009 0 5   .000
Bobby Hauck UNLV 5 2010–2014 1 4   .200
Tony Sanchez UNLV 5 2015–2019 3 2   .600
Marcus Arroyo UNLV 1 2020–present 0 1   .000

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ UNLV's win in 1983 was forfeited as a result of NCAA sanctions against the UNLV football program issued on March 12, 1985, after an investigation found that ineligible players had participated in the 1983 and 1984 seasons.[18] This win is not included in UNLV's all-time record. However, it is officially counted as a win for Nevada. See Wikipedia:WikiProject College football/Vacated victories for an explanation of how vacated victories are recorded.[19][20]


  1. ^ Murray, Chris (November 22, 2017). "Murray: Fremont Cannon's place among top-10 rival trophies in college football". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Future Nevada Football Schedules". University of Nevada. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  3. ^ a b "Bill Ireland, Longtime Nevada Coach, Dies in Reno". KOLO TV. Aug 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  4. ^ a b Pope, Jeff (Sep 23, 2008). "For the love of the game — and the tailgate party". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  5. ^ a b Christensen, Nick (Oct 3, 2003). "Winner of rivalry nabs a unique prize". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  6. ^ a b c Kantowski, Ron (Oct 3, 2009). "The Elevator: Fremont Cannon edition". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  7. ^ Maxson, Matt (September 25, 2008). "Rebels ready to paint Fremont cannon red". UNLV Rebel Yell. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  8. ^ Balagna, Jay (October 3, 2009). "Five in a row. The cannon likes Reno better anyway". The Nevada Sagebrush. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  9. ^ a b Murray, Chris (October 2, 2010). "Fremont Cannon: Rolls through history, but hard to roll". Reno-Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  10. ^ "The Fremont Canon- History of the Battle for Nevada Rivalry - Mountain West Connection". Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  11. ^ Hylton, Garrett (September 25, 2007). "Ault sees rivalry through knowing eyes". The Nevada Sagebrush. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  12. ^ Anderson, Mark (October 1, 1999). "Returning Home". Reno Gazette-Journal. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  13. ^ "Nevada, Fresno State move to MWC". News Services. August 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  14. ^ Tors, Jane (October 9, 2012). "Wolf Pack and Rebels announce Governor's Series". Nevada Today. University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Governor's Series". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  16. ^ "Silver State Series". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  17. ^ "Silver State Series". University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  18. ^ McCurdie, Jim (March 13, 1985). "UNLV Punished for Using Ineligible Football Players". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  19. ^ Low, Chris (June 16, 2009). "What does vacating wins really mean?". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  20. ^ Taylor, John (July 4, 2009). "Vacated Wins Do Not Equal Forfeits". NBC Sports. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  21. ^ "Forfeits and Vacated Games". College Football at
  22. ^ "Nevada vs Nevada-Las Vegas". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2017.

External linksEdit

  • (Single-serving site to show the current color of the Fremont Cannon)