AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
Published Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 | 10:30 a.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 | 2:10 p.m.
- Take Five: A closer look at UNLV vs. BYU (11-5-2010)
- Despite struggles, BYU’s Heaps has UNLV’s full attention (11-2-2010)
- Box Score: TCU 48, UNLV 6
- UNLV pushed aside during No. 4 TCU’s BCS war path, 48-6 (10-31-2010)
- TCU immediately forgets about UNLV, looks to next week’s clash with Utah (10-31-2010)
- Notebook: Hauck still anti-playoff, but quite impressed with TCU (10-31-2010)
- Instant analysis: One bright spot in tough loss to TCU (10-30-2010)
- All Sun UNLV Football Coverage
Final, BYU wins 55-7
PROVO, Utah — The closer it gets to ending, a long first season for the UNLV football team under Bobby Hauck just keeps getting longer.
BYU, who had sputtered all season until Saturday on offense, broke out against a porous Rebels defense, running UNLV ragged en route to a 55-7 victory in what will likely be the final meeting between the two for a long time. BYU is going independent in football beginning in 2011.
The Cougars had not scored more than 25 points all season, and at 3-5 entering Saturday's action desperately needed to break out if they hoped to still attain bowl eligibility. They eclipsed that previous high mid-way through the second quarter and never slowed down.
Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps, who entered Saturday completing 52.2 percent of his passes with two TDs and seven INTs on the season, went 19-of-31 for 294 yards and two touchdown tosses. The Cougars posted more than 500 yards of total offense, while UNLV had trouble reaching triple digits.
It dropped the Rebels to 1-8 overall on the year and 1-4 in Mountain West Conference play. Next weekend, they will host another struggling league foe — Wyoming — in what may be the team's last realistic shot at a win in 2011.
For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats, photos and analysis, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
End of Third Quarter, BYU leads 52-0
PROVO, Utah — Bronco Mendenhall finally called off the dogs somewhat by lifting many of his offensive starters after three quarters.
By then, the damage was more than done.
BYU enters the final frame with a 52-0 lead on UNLV, dominating the game in every possible way.
True freshman quarterback Jake Heaps ended his day with his best stat line yet as a college QB: 19-of-31, 294 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT.
He hit Luke Ashworth on a short crossing route five minutes into the third quarter that was stretched for a 42-yard score. Later in the third, Joshua Quezada ran in his third TD of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, UNLV went back to Omar Clayton at quarterback, but he was replaced yet again at the end of the quarter by Caleb Herring. The two are a combined 6-of-19 for only 37 yards and two picks, and UNLV has been out-gained in terms of total offense 458-84 so far.
Halftime, BYU leads 38-0
PROVO, Utah — If UNLV had any hopes of lowering its 30.8 average margin of defeat on the road today in Provo, they have flown out of the windows of the team buses.
BYU holds a commanding 38-0 lead on UNLV at the half, with its last 10 points coming via Joseph Quezada's second 13-yard TD run of the game and a 47-yard Mitch Payne field goal to close out the half.
The field goal was set up after a Caleb Herring pass was tipped near the line of scrimmage and intercepted in the half's final minute.
Herring showed some guts earlier on the drive, completing an 11-yard pass to Michael Johnson for a first down before taking a huge hit. But when it's not your day, it's not your day.
This, it goes without saying, is far from UNLV's day.
Here are some numbers of note from the first half ...
— BYU has 328 yards of total offense, compared to UNLV's 72.
— BYU, it should be noted again, had not scored more than 25 points in a game all season before today. Against UNLV, that plateau was eclipsed with 9:27 to play in the second quarter.
— UNLV's Omar Clayton was lifted after going 1-for-4 for five yards and an interception on three possessions. In his place, Herring is 2-of-10 for 22 yards and a pick.
— Meanwhile, BYU's Jake Heaps is by far having his best game as a collegian today. He is 14-of-20 for 195 yards and a TD.
— J.J. Di Luigi, Joshua Quezada and Bryan Kariya have combined for 133 yards and four scores on 25 carries for the Cougars.
— UNLV is 1-of-6 on third downs. BYU is 6-of-8.
9:27, Second Quarter, BYU leads 28-0
PROVO, Utah — Watch BYU freshman quarterback Jake Heaps celebrate after almost every big completion against a porous UNLV defense, and it quickly becomes apparent how long of a year it's been so far for him.
Coming in completing only 52.2 percent of his passes with two TDs and seven INTs to his credit, he's by far having his best game as a collegian today against the Rebels.
His most recent strike was a gorgeous 42-yard TD bomb to Cody Hoffman down the left sideline, pushing BYU's lead over a limping UNLV bunch to 28-0.
Heaps is now 10-of-15 for 134 yards and the score, having yet to come even close to throwing an interception.
Don't expect BYU to let up any time soon, either, as Bronco Mendenhall may be looking at this as a big booster for his struggling team as a whole. Expect the Cougars to continue to look to get their shots in.
12:40, Second Quarter, BYU leads 21-0
PROVO, Utah — BYU is looking poised now to take out a season's worth of offensive frustrations out on a fleeting UNLV defense this afternoon.
Entering today, the most points the Cougars had posted in a game this season was 25.
Now, thanks to a short J.J. Di Luigi touchdown run, they have 21 just over two minutes into the second quarter.
While the 95 yards on 18 carries as a team is impressive, it's a coming-out of sorts for true freshman quarterback Jake Heaps, who is sorely in need of a confidence-boosting performance. So far, he's a strong 8-of-13 for 76 yards, throwing crisp darts over the middle of the field without meeting much resistance.
On UNLV's latest drive, it picked up its first first down of the game, roughly three minutes into the second stanza. It came on a 16-yard pass from Caleb Herring to Phillip Payne. It is Payne's first snag of the day. But it came at a price, as he was slow to get up and then walked gingerly off of the field. Payne returned a play later, but the Rebels are without their other starting wideout — junior Michael Johnson — who was hurt on the team's second possession.
2:31, First Quarter, BYU leads 14-0
PROVO, Utah — The story so far is told by one stat: Total offense.
BYU: 127 yards. UNLV: -1 yard.
The Cougars' latest jaunt was capped by a 2-yard TD run by Brian Kariya on a possession that began way back in its own territory.
The successful BYU run game is helping make freshman quarterback Jake Heaps more comfortable, as he's 5-of-8 for 45 yards to this point.
After the Cougars' second score, Bobby Hauck had seen enough of Omar Clayton, who was hooked in favor of redshirt freshman Caleb Herring.
This is the fifth time this season in which Herring has replaced the senior incumbent. Could it be the last? Will Herring be given the reins in the season's final four games?
These are the talking points that matter now, as the Rebels appear well on their way to a 1-8 record today in Provo.
7:53, First Quarter, BYU leads 7-0
PROVO, Utah — It's a less-than-intimidating atmosphere today at LaVell Edwards Stadium, as BYU's 3-5 record has clearly taken a small bite out of attendance.
But UNLV still looked as if it had some jitters early on, especially on offense.
On the first play from scrimmage, UNLV senior quarterback Omar Clayton rolled right and tried to fire a pass downfield to Michael Johnson between two defenders. Instead, it floated and was intercepted by Brian Logan.
The Rebels were strong on their first defensive possession, forcing a three-and-out, including an incomplete pass on third down by Jake Heaps as he was pressured by Isaako Aaitui.
UNLV couldn't capitalize on the good fortune, as its next possession netted -6 yards on two run plays and Clayton was off again on third down. Brendon Lamers' meager punt gave BYU field position in UNLV territory, and a handful of plays later, good-looking freshman back Joshua Quezada scored up the right side from 13 yards out.
The Rebels again went 3-and-out on their next possession, as the offense is again starting brutally slow on the road.
PROVO, Utah — A 'Quest for Perfection' this is not.
That's been the motto for the high-powered BYU teams of recent years, but now, with the likes of Max Hall, Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta and Harvey Unga all departed, it's become a 'Quest for Six Wins.'
The Cougars enter today's home date with UNLV at 3-5 overall and 2-2 in Mountain West play. The 3-5 is more significant, though, as they will need to win three of their final four games to become the league's fifth bowl-eligible team. The season finale comes against Utah, so it's safe to assume that winning these next three — vs. UNLV, at Colorado State and vs. New Mexico — is a must.
For UNLV, at 1-7 overall and 1-3 in the league, it's a case of a banged up, young team looking for some signs of life heading into 2011.
Going out on a bit of a limb, one guy who could potentially provide that spark is junior receiver Phillip Payne.
In his first action back from a two-game suspension, the preseason All-Mountain West selection had only two catches for 26 yards in a 48-6 stomping at the hands of TCU.
It may be a reach, but he could have a personal vendetta of sorts when it comes to playing in Provo.
Two years ago, the Rebels led in the closing minutes, but the defense let them down late in a 42-35 loss.
Payne finished the game, but sat a week later with concussion-type symptoms and his wildly successful freshman season was de-railed. The injury stemmed from a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot from BYU's Andrew Rich that, somehow, went un-flagged.
Payne picking up his 2010 season where he left it off pre-suspension would be huge for a pass offense that ranks 97th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
It's a sunny, warm, comfortable day here at the foot of the mountains, and we are about 30 minutes from kick-off in a stadium that will be less than full.
As for a prediction, I'm going with BYU today by a count of 31-21, and my Pick to Click is, obviously, Payne.
Be back after the kick and, as always, join the in-game conversation by adding the #unlvfb tag to your BYU-UNLV tweets.