Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 | 2:15 a.m.
- Box Score: TCU 48, UNLV 6
- TCU immediately forgets about UNLV, looks to next week’s clash with Utah
- Notebook: Hauck still anti-playoff, but quite impressed with TCU
- Instant analysis: One bright spot in tough loss to TCU
- Live Blog: No. 4 TCU’s BCS march continues as Horned Frogs throttle Rebels, 48-6
- All Sun UNLV Football Coverage
Ryan Greene and Case Keefer break down what there was to break down from No. 4 TCU's 48-6 romp over UNLV on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. How many wins to the Rebels have left this season? Does TCU take care of fellow unbeaten Utah next Saturday? The guys discuss that and much more.
With five games to go, it's safe to say that the Rebels will see nothing quite like what the Horned Frogs brought to town in what was essentially a warm-up for next weekend's season-defining game at No. 8 Utah.
"They were beating everybody in our league by (an average) score of about 40-2.5, so we knew going into the game that we'd have to have the ball bounce our way almost flawlessly to pull it off," UNLV first-year coach Bobby Hauck said. "And then that didn't happen.
"And that's probably because they didn't let it happen."
While the Utes' lead-in to next weekend's Mountain West Conference game of the year was a bit spottier, defeating Air Force on the road 28-23, TCU (9-0 overall, 5-0 Mountain West) made almost everything look easy.
Gary Patterson's club racked up 530 yards of total offense, with the only blemish on its final stat sheet being a pair of lost fumbles.
The effort was led by savvy senior quarterback Andy Dalton, who for the third consecutive year had his way with the UNLV defense. He completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 252 yards and two lengthy second-half touchdown tosses. He also ran for 30 yards and another score.
The TCU defense allowed UNLV (1-7, 1-3) to put together one nice drive midway through the second quarter, which included five of the Rebels' 12 first downs on the night and a nifty 10-yard touchdown pass from Omar Clayton to Michael Johnson, completed between a pair of TCU defenders over the middle.
After plugging that minor leak, TCU cruised. The defense which entered Saturday's action ranked second out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs has now outscored its five MWC opponents by a combined score of 189-16.
"TCU has one of the best defenses in the nation. They don't give up much, and you have to accept the fact that a four-yard run is a good play," said Hauck, whose team ran for 69 yards on 24 carries. "We had some of those things going, but we were not able to sustain it."
Instead of the numbers being the most impressive part of the Horned Frogs' night, it may have been the fact that in what could have been a sloppy look-ahead performance, they hardly slipped at all.
"I wouldn't expect a team that's trying to win a national championship to overlook anybody," Clayton said. "I don't know how many teams win national championships or get ranked fourth doing things like that. They're a good team, and they came to play."
While TCU has plenty to look forward to, UNLV will have to simply try to soldier on and squeeze some lemonade out of a season that, on paper, has looked like quite the lemon.
Hauck said that he is still seeing signs that things are turning, and one continuing theme is that the Rebels have yet to throw in the towel toward the end of a blowout defeat, which has been the case at times in recent years.
He noted that he felt his team was plenty physical with TCU and did not back down. Agreeing with that sentiment outside of the visitor's locker room was Patterson, who also was irked by the touchdown drive that the Rebels strung together.
"We're becoming a physical football team," Hauck said. "TCU is a tough, hard-nosed team. They're coached that way. I would hope that they think that we're the same way. Coming out of the game, I thought we were better in terms of not being out-hit by a physical football team. That's where it starts.
"Despite the score tonight, we did some things right."
But moral victories for now, as it appears, will go largely unappreciated by the fan base. Many opted to stay home on a chilly, windy night. The announced paid attendance of 16,745, in reality, meant about half that many people in the stadium.
The Rebels will likely play in front of more fans next weekend down the road from where the epic TCU-Utah tussle will take place. They'll face struggling BYU (3-5, 2-2) in an 11 a.m. tilt in Provo, with the Cougars, coming off of a bye week, needing a win to keep its postseason hopes alive.
UNLV will enter that game just like it has the past several: Depth-challenged mostly due to injury, young and still learning on the fly.
"We'll never enter a season without our goal being to win the Mountain West championship, but, you know, you have to be a realist and have other goals as well," Hauck added. "So our goal is to win the game that week and play our best game of the year, and we need to try to do that."