AP Photo/Mike Stone
Published Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 | 12:40 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 | 4:15 p.m.
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- Take Five: Getting to know TCU (10-30-2009)
- Back on track, Clayton gets another shot at TCU (10-30-2009)
- Marcal, Murphy will be in the spotlight in Fort Worth (10-29-2009)
- Mondays with Mike: Sanford showing optimism with TCU on the horizon (10-27-2009)
- Record-setting Wolfe paces UNLV to 34-17 victory over UNM (10-24-2009)
- Rebels defense starting to look feel, healthy (10-24-2009)
- 2009 UNLV Football Stats
Final: TCU 41, UNLV 0
Add another disappointing chapter to the story of UNLV's 2009 football season. TCU had no trouble with the Rebels Saturday, controlling the entire game for a 41-0 victory in Fort Worth.
Of course, no one expected UNLV (3-6) to knock off TCU, the nation's eighth-ranked team. But the Rebels really didn't even challenge the Horned Frogs.
Despite a couple early turnovers, TCU took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and never allowed UNLV to establish any rhythm offensively. The Rebels 110th-ranked defense turned in another sub-par outing as well.
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton threw for three touchdowns before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs running game was even more potent, with 48 rushes for 390 yards.
As impressive as TCU's offensive statistics were, UNLV's offensive numbers were equally unimpressive. Omar Clayton threw for only 36 yards on 7-for-20 passing. Even ultra-reliable receiver Ryan Wolfe muffed a punt in UNLV territory to set up a TCU touchdown.
UNLV comes home next week for a game against Colorado State before finishing the season with a matchup at Air Force and a home game against San Diego State. In order to be bowl eligible, the Rebels must win all three games.
13:30 remaining, fourth quarter, TCU takes 34-0 lead
That didn't take long. Andy Dalton hit Ed Wesley on a 21-yard out route for a touchdown a little more than a minute into the fourth quarter to give TCU a 34-0 advantage.
Dalton now has three touchdown passes on 12-for-18 passing and 178 yards. Ryan Wolfe set up the score when he muffed a punt that the Horned Frogs recovered to end the third quarter.
End of the third quarter, TCU up 27-0
At this point, the Rebels should simply focus on getting any kind of score to avoid their first shutout of the season.
UNLV had its best chance of the game early in the third quarter when quarterback Mike Clausen broke a 40-yard run into TCU territory. But the Rebels could only gain three more yards from there and decided to punt from the TCU 34-yard line.
The UNLV defense then held TCU to its first three-and-out of the game. Upon getting the ball back, Clausen threw an interception on the first play. Another opportunity wasted.
The quarter ended when Ryan Wolfe muffed a punt to give the Horned Frogs the ball deep in UNLV territory. It looks like TCU will add at least another field goal in the fourth quarter. As for UNLV, it's about time to start thinking about next week's home tilt with Colorado State because this one is all but finished
10:52 remaining, third quarter, UNLV trails TCU 27-0
And the beating continues.
TCU scored on its first drive after halftime when Andy Dalton fired his second touchdown pass of the day. Dalton found Jeremy Kerley over the middle of the field for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Horned Frogs' drive lasted four minutes and went nine plays in 57 yards. It's hard to imagine the TCU offensive starters staying in much longer. Perhaps, coach Gary Patterson will see if they can add one more score and then let everyone else get some playing time.
In the first half, the UNLV offense barely mustered 100 yards and never threatened to score against the TCU defense. Did offensive coordinator Todd Berry come up with any adjustments for the second half? The answer is forthcoming.
Halftime, UNLV trails TCU 20-0
TCU opts to run the ball and let the time to wind down to head into the locker room with a 20-0 lead.
In the final 13 minutes of the second quarter, UNLV only allowed one field goal to the Horned Frogs — a 42-yarder by Ross Evans with five minutes remaining.
But the UNLV offense has looked listless. The Rebels have punted eight times and gained only three first downs.
The UNLV defense is doing all it can, but TCU simply looks faster. By the time UNLV initiates contact, TCU rushers usually already have four or five yards. UNLV must fix that in the second half.
Omar Clayton is only 4-for-11 for 27 yards. The Rebels running backs, not including the quarterbacks, have 15 carries for 21 yards.
On the flip side, TCU's Andy Dalton has 117 yards and a touchdown on 5-for-9 passing. Dalton also has six rushes for 40 yards.
13:30 remaining, second quarter, TCU increases lead to 17-0
At No. 8 in the nation, TCU is the third-highest ranked team that UNLV has ever faced.
It's not hard to see why the Horned Frogs have garnered so much attention. Their defense is simply stifling the UNLV offense.
Three minutes into the second quarter and the Rebels have gained only two first downs. They have 69 yards of total offense.
The defense has actually given the offense chances, too. The Rebels have now forced two fumbles, only to watch the offense go three-and-out on the ensuing possession.
But the defense is not preventing big plays. TCU running back Ed Wesley just rushed to the outside for a 59-yard touchdown. That makes the score TCU 17, UNLV 0.
Yikes, at this point, it's scary to think how bad this beating could become.
5:09 remaining, first quarter, TCU makes it 10-0
Right after the UNLV defense made a great play, it followed it with a horrible one.
The Rebels forced the first turnover of the game when Jason Beauchamp stripped the ball from Jeremy Kerley. The UNLV offense, however, could not take advantage of the potential momentum swing and went three-and-out.
TCU didn't make any mistakes on the next possession. Antoine Hicks caught a pass from Andy Dalton, broke one tackle and trotted 75 yards for a touchdown. TCU now leads 10-0 and if UNLV has any chance of making this interesting, they need to get some points on this possession.
10:14, first quarter, TCU leads 3-0
Right before the game started, UNLV coach Mike Sanford told the Versus sideline reporter that the Rebels needed to attack first.
That didn't happen. UNLV's first possession ended with a punt, giving TCU quarterback Andy Dalton and the Horned Frogs the football at the TCU 31-yard line.
It took Dalton seven plays to drive 57 yards and set the Horned Frogs up for a field goal. Ross Evans converted on the 29-yard attempt.
Let's see if UNLV's offense can answer.
Less than 30 minutes remain until kickoff in Fort Worth, where UNLV and TCU are preparing for a Mountain West Conference showdown.
As you've probably heard, UNLV's season hasn't exactly gone the way Mel Kiper expected it to. The Rebels are 3-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play. They face undoubtedly their toughest game of the year today against No. 6 TCU (7-0).
TCU enters as a 35-point favorite. If UNLV could somehow pull off the upset at Amon G. Carter Stadium, it would be nothing less than a miracle. Hey, it could happen, right? Let's dive further in to find out.
Dissenting evidence: The only question is where to start in this category.
In the last four meetings, TCU has out-scored UNLV by an average of 29 points. The Rebels have only beaten the Horned Frogs once in the history of the series, a 21-19 win in Las Vegas in 1997.
TCU ranks fifth in the nation in total defense and is led by senior defensive end Jerry Hughes. Many consider Hughes to be one of the best pass rushers in the nation.
But that might not even be UNLV's biggest problem on this day. TCU's offense is equally as proficient, ranking 22nd in the nation. Quarterback Andy Dalton has pinpoint accuracy and the Horned Frogs' running back committee, led by Joseph Turner, is logging 211 yards per game.
UNLV's defense has been, well, atrocious. It ranks 107th in rushing defense and 116th in pass efficiency defense. There's not much reason to believe the Rebels turn it around today against a team envisioning a BCS bowl game.
Supporting evidence: Well, it could be argued that TCU is coming off its biggest game of the year and will come out flat.
The Horned Frogs beat BYU 38-7 last week in the Mountain West's most anticipated game of the year. An afternoon date with lowly UNLV doesn't exactly measure up.
Other than that, there aren't many reasons to side with UNLV in this one.