Published Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 | 3:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 | 7:06 p.m.
- Take Five: A closer look at UNLV vs. UNR (10-7-2011)
- UNLV Notebook: Following a tough week, Rebels ready to move on at UNR (10-5-2011)
- Hauck labels UNLV’s 41-16 loss to Southern Utah as ‘all-time bad’ (9-25-2011)
- BOX SCORE: Southern Utah 41, UNLV 16
- INSTANT ANALYSIS: The worst loss in UNLV football history (9-24-2011)
- 2011 UNLV Football Schedule/Results
- All UNLV Football Coverage
Final, UNR wins, 37-0
RENO — Mark it as another low point for the UNLV football program.
Not only were the Rebels shut out for the first time in the Bobby Hauck Era, but it came at the hands of their biggest rival and on a day where they had golden opportunities to do damage early.
UNLV forced five UNR turnovers in a 37-0 loss at Mackay Stadium on Saturday afternoon, including two in the first quarter, but didn't convert any of them into points. The Rebels' run offense sputtered until late in the third quarter, and sophomore quarterback Caleb Herring didn't complete his first pass until there was 4:17 left in the game.
UNR began blowing up midway through the second quarterback when senior quarterback Tyler Lantrip replaced freshman Cody Fajardo, and he ultimately ended the day with 370 yards through the air and three touchdown passes. Senior receiver Rishard Matthews had 10 catches for 221 yards as the UNR offense found a flow in the second half and blew the doors off of the Rebels' defense.
Herring had one completion, which set a school record for the fewest in a game. He made poor-looking throws much of the afternoon, held onto the ball too long several times and only targeted star senior receiver Phillip Payne twice.
UNLV drops to 1-4 on the season and will be back on the road next weekend at Wyoming. The Rebels are now 0-10 all-time on the road under Hauck.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels for full postgame coverage.
End of Third Quarter, UNR leads, 23-0
RENO — It's all but official now that it's just going to be another one of those days on the road for the UNLV football program.
The Rebels are about to drop to 1-4 this season and 0-10 all-time on the road under Bobby Hauck, as UNR's 23-0 lead through three quarters is about as lopsided as they come.
Caleb Herring still has yet to complete a pass (0-for-10), and while the run game has picked up a bit, it's not nearly enough to do any damage against a UNR defense that is clearly blood-thirsty today.
On the other side, UNLV's defense is wearing down against the run as the game gets into the closing stages. Stefphon Jefferson, starting in place of the injured Mike Ball, has 100 yards off of 17 carries, while UNR as a team has 209 yards the old-fashioned way.
The only two questions remaining now are how badly UNR coach Chris Ault wants to run it up on his biggest rival and whether UNLV will score a point at all before leaving Mackay Stadium.
Either way, this officially kills off just about any chance UNLV had left of getting some buzz back surrounding its football program before basketball season gets going. UNLV is showing that it still just can't get the job done on the road, and after this has to turn around immediately for a trip to face Wyoming next weekend.
Halftime, UNR leads, 20-0
RENO — UNLV's offensive struggles could only last for so long before the defense began to give a little more, and mid-way through the second half, the levee broke, apparently for good.
Senior Tyler Lantrip replaced freshman Cody Fajardo at quarterback for UNR, and on his first play, he found star receiver Rishard Matthews on a little 8-yard hitch route. Matthews spun off of a bad tackle and turned it into a 90-yard touchdown play.
In less than a full quarter of work, Lantrip is 8-of-13 for 205 yards and two TDs, while Matthews has seven catches for 146 yards.
The Wolf Pack have a commanding 20-0 halftime lead on the Rebels and are well on their way to claiming the Fremont Cannon for the seventh straight year.
UNLV's defense had a great first 20 minutes of the game, forcing three turnovers, but the offense has been a major disappointment. So far, the Rebels have zero net passing yards and only 48 on the ground. Sophomore Caleb Herring's slump is only getting worse, as he's 0-for-6 with a pick, and he's only targeted star senior receiver Phillip Payne once so far.
You have to believe that UNR is looking to keep it going on offense after a frustrating four-game run to start the season. Don't expect them to let off of the pedal anytime soon.
Meanwhile, it's going to be interesting to see what UNLV tries here on offense. Can the offensive line finally get some push off of the snap? Does Bobby Hauck bring junior backup quarterback Sean Reilly in for some work?
Either way, the fact is that UNLV had a chance to grab this game by the horns in the first quarter, and they're simply not a good enough team to let that opportunity go by and expect it to come around again.
End of First Quarter, UNR leads, 3-0
RENO — On the plus side, UNLV's defense is remaining stingy coming off of two strong performances. So far, the Rebels have forced two UNR fumbles, giving their offense two possessions starting in plus territory.
Unfortunately, the Rebels' offense hasn't been able to capitalize on those opportunities at all.
UNLV forced fumbles on UNR's first two possessions of the game. After the initial cough-up, the Rebels went three-and-out and had to punt. The Wolf Pack then fumbled the ball away inside its own 20, but three plays later, Caleb Herring was picked off throwing a fade route to Phillip Payne on the right side of the end zone. Isaiah Frey defended it beautifully and set up the game's first score.
UNR took the ball all the way to the UNLV 12, where former Rebels walk-on Allen Hardison banged through a 29-yard field goal.
So far, UNLV has zero yards of total offense across from UNR's 126. The Pack is being stymied, though, by a Rebels defense that is tackling well and not blowing assignments.
As for UNR first-time starting quarterback Cody Fajardo, it's been a decent start so far. He's eight-of-9 for 54 yards, with 22 yards on the ground.
UNLV's run game is what needs to improve immediately. UNR is loading up against it up front, and so far, the Rebels have zero net yards on seven attempts. Also, it might help if the UNLV offense is able to give the defense a bit of a breather, as that unit is carrying the water so far.
RENO — You might not find a better home atmosphere anywhere in the country in support of a 1-3 football team than here in Reno.
Why? Well, it's because these fans have waited since last November's shocker here at Mackay Stadium over then-No. 3 Boise State to see their team live on its home turf.
It's pretty much a fact that, despite its rough start and brutal opening schedule, UNR is pumped for this one and will show it early. On the other hand, it's anyone's guess which UNLV team will show up when these two kick off at 4:05 p.m.
Honestly, I'm done guessing. Each week, I've tried to guess which UNLV team would be on display, and in each of those four weeks, I've been wrong.
My prediction for today is a 38-20 UNR victory, giving them the Fremont Cannon for the seventh straight season.
Of course, that's far from a given. If UNLV is going to hang around and have a shot at this one, here are today's three keys for the Rebels.
1) UNLV has to run the ball, plain and simple. They got away from the run game far too often against Southern Utah, when it should have been their strength against an overmatched defensive front. Also, no matter who starts at quarterback for UNR, it can help keep a potentially dangerous offense off of the field.
2) The defense has been relatively stout in the Rebels' last two games, allowing only 84 rushing yards and 30 points. They've also forced six turnovers in those two outings combined. UNR's offense has looked both great and awful at different points this season. If UNLV can continue to rush the passer like it has of late, it will help an improving secondary greatly.
3) Frankly, they're going to need a little luck. They're going to need something to go wrong for UNR. Not sure what that is, but it almost has to happen. UNLV is 0-9 away from Sam Boyd Stadium under Bobby Hauck, and turning that trend around won't be easy. UNLV might have to be both luck and good to accomplish that.
I'll be checking in here periodically throughout the games with updates, and you can also connect with me on twitter at @ryanmgreene. Also, don't forget the #UNLV and #unlvmbb tags on your in-game tweets to join the conversation below.
Talk to you after kickoff.