Published Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 | 6:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 | 11:10 p.m.
Final, TCU wins 49-6
Both TCU and Utah — undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 — were able to avoid any slip-ups this weekend and will meet next weekend in what is the biggest game on this year's Mountain West Conference schedule.
For UNLV, it's just another loss in a frustrating season.
The No. 4 Horned Frogs stormed through the Rebels for the most part on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, rolling to a 48-6 win, improving to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in league play. Bobby Hauck's club dropped to 1-7 and 1-3, respectively.
TCU senior quarterback made it three straight impressive showings against UNLV, going 16-of-23 for 252 yards and two long second half TD passes. He also scored on a one-yard TD run late in the first half, and was able to rest for much of the fourth quarter.
UNLV's lone bright spot came on a TD drive capped by a 10-yard strike in the second quarter from Omar Clayton to Michael Johnson. On that jaunt down the field, the Rebels picked up five first downs, but were never able to do much else.
Meanwhile, in his return to the lineup off of a two-game suspension, UNLV star junior receiver was held to just two catches for 26 yards.
The Rebels head back on the road next weekend to take on BYU in an 11 a.m. clash.
For full postgame coverage, including stories, analysis, stats, photos and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
14:55, Fourth Quarter, TCU leads 42-6
Whatever fleeting hopes UNLV had of mounting a second half comeback disappeared just three plays out of the half.
That was when Andy Dalton found Josh Boyce for a 54-yard score, pushing the Horned Frogs' lead on the Rebels up to 29 points at 35-6. Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, No. 4 TCU's first-team offense probably saw its final play, as Dalton hit Jeremy Kerley for a beautiful 24-yard touchdown strike.
It currently stands as a 42-6 TCU advantage.
Dalton on the night is 16-of-23 for 252 yards and two TDs, while Kerley has now scored twice.
Meanwhile, tonight's announced attendance at Sam Boyd Stadium was 16,745, which is, of course, the paid attendance. The real attendance is more likely around 8,000, as TCU has hardly felt away from home at any point.
Halftime, TCU leads 28-6
Well, UNLV made it interesting for a little bit, at least.
TCU took advantage of a late botched punt attempt by UNLV and motored down the field for its fourth touchdown of the game, making it a 28-6 contest at the half.
Andy Dalton's one-yard TD plunge made him the fourth different Horned Frog to score so far.
Here are some numbers of note from the first half ...
— Dalton, who has been efficient against UNLV in his entire career, is 10-of-13 for 130 yards through the air and has another 27 yards on the ground.
— TCU's leading rusher, as expected, is sophomore Ed Wesley, who has nine carries for 50 yards and a TD.
— UNLV has 123 total offensive yards on 36 plays, while TCU's 39 plays have netted 254 total yards. TCU has 17 first downs, while UNLV has 10.
— Omar Clayton is 8-of-19 for 65 yards, one TD pass and two picks.
— Tim Cornett is UNLV's leading rusher tonight with 25 yards on nine carries.
— Michael Johnson has four catches and 49 yards for the Rebels, including a 10-yard TD catch.
— Junior Phillip Payne, in his return from a two-game suspension, has only been thrown to a few times and has no catches through one half. He wasn't targeted once in the Rebels' lone trip into the red zone.
7:37, 2nd Quarter, TCU leads 21-6
After falling behind 21-0 against the No. 4 team in the nation, UNLV showed that it had no intentions of quitting just yet.
Omar Clayton led a nice scoring drive which included five first down conversions and a big 15-yard personal foul penalty to help move things along.
Michael Johnson caught three passes on the drive for 26 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown grab down the middle between two defenders.
The other highlight of the drive was a 17-yard run by Deante' Purvis in which he broke two tackles and carried multiple defenders for extra hashmarks.
However, TCU now has the ball deep in UNLV territory after just a few plays, as the Rebels can't quite figure out how to slow down the Horned Frogs' multi-faceted attack.
As for the missed extra point, freshman kicker Nolan Kohorst missed the attempt from 31 yards out after a UNLV penalty on the original conversion. He took an earful from Bobby Hauck after returning to the sideline.
13:57, 2nd Quarter, TCU leads 21-0
On a traditional one-yard plunge up the middle on the first play of the second quarter, Ed Wesley pushed TCU's lead on UNLV to 14-0.
A minute later, the Horned Frogs tallied another seven points.
Safety Colin Jones picked off an Omar Clayton pass and rumbled 30 yards untouched for a score, crushing any momentum UNLV's offense thought it had after showing signs of life on previous drives.
In one quarter, UNLV managed two first downs and 27 total yards on 12 plays, which sounds meager, but was OK compared to what many expected from the Rebels tonight. As for TCU, it has 133 yards on 21 plays.
Andy Dalton hasn't seen any pressure yet in the pocket, as he is 6-of-8 for 69 yards tonight. Wesley has 23 yards and a score on four carries.
As for UNLV junior receiver Phillip Payne, back from a two-game suspension, he's only been targeted a couple of times, with no catches to his credit so far.
9:31, 1st Quarter, TCU leads 7-0
In what could quickly become a recurring theme, UNLV went three-and-out after taking the ball first to start the game, opening the gates for No. 4 TCU to strike first.
And that's just what they did.
The Horned Frogs needed 10 plays to go 65 yards, including seven run plays, taking a 7-0 lead on the Rebels.
The drive was capped by a five-yard TD run on a reverse play by senior receiver Jeremy Kerley. Four different TCU players had carries on the opening drive.
In an odd note, UNLV began the game with a shake-up on the offensive line, as starting center Andrew Mack was taken to the hospital before kick-off with appendicitis. He was replaced by senior guard John Gianninoto, who moved in a spot. Sophomore Yusef Rodgers came in at tackle, earning his first career start.
The atmosphere continues to take hits here at Sam Boyd Stadium, and tonight, it appears that very few have an interest in catching a glimpse of the No. 4 team in all of the land.
TCU (8-0 overall, 4-0 Mountain West) tonight brings its national championship aspirations to Las Vegas, where the stands are still empty with about 90 minutes to go until kick-off.
To boot, all of the buzz in the tailgating lot appears to be sucked out with new alcohol restrictions being enforced since the scene that was the pregame party for UNLV's Oct. 2 battle with Nevada-Reno.
Anyways, those brave enough to come out may leave in sheer awe of the Horned Frogs, who will by far be the toughest foe the Rebels (1-6, 1-2) have seen all year in a loaded schedule.
TCU is still hovering right around being a five-touchdown favorite. The line bumped down to 34.5 late in the afternoon, as many bettors may be counting on Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson to lift his first units early if his team gets up big, as a season-defining game at Utah looms next Saturday.
While the starters for both sides are on the field, here are three things to watch for ...
1) Wesley, Wesley, Wesley
TCU standout sophomore running back Ed Wesley is just now hitting his stride, and expect big numbers against one of the nation's most generous defenses against the run. Last weekend, in a 38-7 romp over Air Force, it was the first time he'd hit 20 carries in a game all season. The Irving, Texas, native responded with 209 yards and two scores on 28 totes. That's 7.5 yards per carry ... I'll save you the math.
2) That said ...
Don't expect TCU's star senior quarterback Andy Dalton to have to use his arm too much tonight. Not only has UNLV struggled mightily against the run in every game, the conditions are cool and windy tonight. Maybe taking the 34.5 points wouldn't be such a bad idea, since this game might go pretty fast ...
3) What can Cornett do?
We already know that UNLV true freshman running back Tim Cornett is good. And fast. And tough. He's yanked the starting gig away from the other three veterans ahead of him and Bobby Hauck is riding him of late. He almost cracked the 100-yard barrier in the loss at Colorado State two weeks ago. What can he do against the nation's No. 2 overall defense.
As for a prediction tonight, I'm going with TCU in a blowout, 42-6.
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