LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Rudy Ruettiger will be rooting for his favorite team, Notre Dame, when it faces UNLV on Saturday.

But he admits a tiny bit of him will be pulling for the Rebels.

“I want to see UNLV do well because I live in Vegas,” said Ruettiger, 74, the primary player in the 1993 biographical film “Rudy,” which chronicles his improbable journey from working in a steel mill to playing in a 1975 game as a walk-on for the Fighting Irish. “I think it’ll be a great experience, playing there, No. 1. And I always like to see the underdog do well, too.”

Don’t be confused. Ruettiger wants the Irish to win. He’s OK with UNLV putting up a good fight. Just not too good.

“But I watched their game last week,” he said of the Rebels (4-3), “and it doesn’t look very promising.”

UNLV won four of its first five but has been hammered in successive games by San Jose State and Air Force. The Rebels have been hit by some key injuries, especially on the line, including losing dependable rush end Adam Plant for most of the San Jose State game and all of the Air Force contest.

It’s a somewhat historic game for the Rebels, facing the storied Notre Dame football program for the first time.

Notre Dame (3-3) is coming off a 16-14 loss to Stanford, and Ruettiger thinks the Rebels could be getting his Irish at the “right time.”

Ripe for an upset? He hopes not. He’s Irish all the way. “Yeah, of course,” said Ruettiger, who makes his home in Henderson.

He usually visits South Bend for a home game once a year; this year it’ll be Nov. 5 against Clemson for an autograph session and book signing.

Ruettiger has lived in Southern Nevada since 1994 after selling insurance and staying in Hollywood for a time to make the movie. He does some speaking engagements and book signings through the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

While a fan of college athletics, he hasn’t followed UNLV football that closely. He knows the program has struggled.

“It’s a great opportunity for UNLV, to play at Notre Dame,” he said. “They’ll make some money, of course, and it should be good for their program, too.

“They’ve got a great stadium now, too (Allegiant Stadium), and I think it’ll be great for them.”