Marco Garcia / AP
Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 | 12:56 a.m.
The UNLV football season came to an appropriate end Saturday night in Hawaii.
Like every one of their road games this season, the Rebels were unable to compete and endured a blowout defeat. Hawaii won 59-21 in a one-sided affair.
UNLV lost its seven road games by an average of 34 points this season. The Rebels finish 2-11 in coach Bobby Hauck’s debut season.
Of course, this was not what Hauck hoped for at the beginning of the year but he focused on a positive after the defeat.
“I’m not displeased at the direction we’re going,” Hauck said. “We’ve got a chance to someday be a good football team. We played either two or three BCS teams, five conference champs and we weren’t ready for that.”
Hawaii was one of those conference champs as the Warriors finished in a three-way tie for the Western Athletic Conference crown with UNR and Boise State.
They showed why against UNLV. Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz, the leading passer in the country, went 29-for-43 for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back Alex Green rushed 15 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. Three Warriors receivers — Kealoha Pilares, Royce Pollard and Greg Salas — had at least 90 receiving yards.
The Hawaii defense stepped up as well, holding UNLV to seven points until four minutes remained in the game.
“It’s a good win for them,” Hauck said. “They’re hard to beat here, and certainly we didn’t come close tonight.”
The Rebels kept it close for about the opening 10 minutes. They answered a Hawaii touchdown and tied the game at 7 when Omar Clayton found Michael Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
Clayton finished his career off by going 14-for-25 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Johnson had three catches for 76 yards and Phillip Payne added six receptions for 84 yards.
The Rebels couldn’t get much going on the ground, recording 31 carries for 92 yards with the longest rush only accounting for 11 yards.
“Obviously, Hawaii is a good team,” Hauck said. “We have a lot of respect for the job they’ve done and the year they’ve had.”
Hauck continued his youth movement in the game, playing a number of underclassmen. He hopes they can serve as the core group to turn the program around.
A season like this year’s is not something he wants to get used to.
“We only got two wins and that’s disappointing,” Hauck said. “But I’m not disappointed in the fight our team exhibited. I think we’ve made tremendous progress in our program.”