Aaron Ontiveroz / Associated Press
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 | 2:28 a.m.
- Opponent: UNR
- Date: Oct. 3, 1 p.m. PDT
- Where: Reno, Nev.
- TV: None
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Coming in, it looked like the perfect opportunity on paper for the UNLV football team to snap its 19-game road losing streak in Mountain West Conference play. Instead, that skid extended to 20 games in a 30-27 loss to Wyoming, tying the Rebels with Duke for the nation's longest such streak against league foes. Here's a look inside the numbers at just how it all went down and where UNLV goes from here.
3: In 2008, UNLV was tied with powerhouse Ohio State as the nation's most efficient offensive team inside the red zone. On Saturday, the Rebels scored on five of six trips inside of the Cowboys' 20-yard line, but even that wasn't enough. Two of those drives in the first half resulted in chip-shot field goals by Kyle Watson, while a third quarter drive was thwarted when Omar Clayton was picked off at the goal line by Tashaun Gipson. If any of those three attempts in the red zone resulted in a touchdown, the game could have played out differently.
4: Flashing back to last season one more time, that was when UNLV tied for the fewest turnovers lost in the nation, giving it away only 13 times. They did so four times on Saturday alone, giving the Rebels an uncharacteristic eight turnovers through four games. That sloppiness in Laramie may have been enough to make any UNLV fan be glad the game wasn't televised. That holds especially true for the botched hold by junior Brendon Lamers on what would have been a 50-yard field goal attempt to tie the game with just over a minute to play. But credit Lamers, however, for owning up to his foible in front of reporters before boarding the team bus. The Rebels also had a fumble in the first quarter on a third-down snap which went over Clayton's head, and the junior gunslinger also threw two interceptions in the second half.
71: Wyoming's 71 offensive plays was six fewer than the total amount of snaps the UNLV offense took, but the way the Cowboys utilized theirs wound up being pretty taxing on the Rebels defense. Freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels beautifully executed first-year coach Dave Christensen's no-huddle offense, but kept the UNLV pass rush on edge by either snapping the ball quicker than expected or keeping them guessing by turning away and looking to the sideline in delaying the snap. Either way, the Rebels' pass rush never found a rhythm, and didn't record its first sack until late in the fourth quarter. Plus, add in the fact that this game was played at 7,200 feet above sea level, and it made for a winded defense as the afternoon wore on.
268: Speaking of Carta-Samuels, the Mountain West may have a new star quarterback in the making, as he was responsible for 268 total yards of offense on Saturday. In his first career start after previously splitting time with junior Robert Benjamin, the San Jose, Calif., product went 24-of-37 for 234 yards and three touchdown passes. He added 34 more yards on the ground, and he made seemingly every play count. Several of his big plays were the result of him using nimble feet to evade UNLV pass rushers and keep plays going, forcing the Rebels' coverage to break down. Christensen helped make a star out of an undersized quarterback in Chase Daniel in his previous post as Missouri's offensive coordinator, and he appears to be doing the same with Carta-Samuels, who is generously listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds.
20: While adding another number onto UNLV's unsightly road losing streak in MWC play looks ugly, the Rebels' best chance to snap the skid oddly enough comes in the team's next away game on the league slate. After a tough three-game stretch coming up, which consists of a trip to Reno and then back-to-back home games with BYU (Oct. 10) and Utah (Oct. 17), Mike Sanford takes his team to face New Mexico, who after an ugly 17-13 home loss to rival New Mexico State on Saturday night is the Mountain West's lone remaining winless team.
2004: There's no question that a trip to face TCU in Fort Worth on Halloween will be UNLV's toughest road game this season, but no game away from Sam Boyd Stadium will be more emotional than next Saturday's rivalry showdown with UNR. The Rebels haven't defeated the Wolf Pack since 2004, and are eager to remove the several coats of navy blue paint that have been applied to the Fremont cannon. But aside from the fact that several pieces of the UNR squad which dismantled UNLV last year, 49-27, are back for Chris Ault — highlighted by junior dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick — both teams find themselves in almost desperate need of a win next weekend. While UNLV will enter at 2-2, UNR is 0-3 after a 31-21 home loss on Friday night to Missouri in front of a national television audience.