Published Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 | 1 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 | 4:37 p.m.
- Take Five: Getting to know Washington State (9-10-2011)
- UNLV hopes to build off of silver lining from loss at Wisconsin (9-9-2011)
- UNLV’s rebuilding project nothing in comparison to Washington State’s (9-6-2011)
- UNLV takes the good with the bad in 51-17 loss at No. 11 Wisconsin (9-2-2011)
- WRs Marcus Sullivan, Eric Johnson left home, immediate futures unclear (9-2-2011)
- Coolican: Why UNLV’s TV contract is a raw deal (9-2-2011)
- 2011 UNLV Football Schedule/Results
- All UNLV Football Coverage
End of Third Quarter, Washington State up 45-0
PULLMAN, Wash. — Marshall Lobbestael was just named the Player of the Game on the jumbotron at Martin Stadium, and he earned that honor in just three quarters.
He's done for the day, having gone 24-of-32 for 361 yards and five touchdown passes. He was hardly challenged by the UNLV pass rush all day, and picked them apart in return. His final contribution of note was a seven-yard touchdown pass to Marquess Wilson late in the third quarter, giving Wilson 102 receiving yards on the day. That made it a 45-0 contest, and Wazzu doesn't appear to be done yet.
At this point, the only area of interest remaining is to hear what Bobby Hauck has to say after this one. In his 15 games at UNLV, this is likely the least effective performance he's seen his team have.
Halftime, Washington State up 35-0
PULLMAN, Wash. — No silver linings today, folks.
Washington State just wrapped up an absolutely dominant first half at Martin Stadium and headed to the locker room with a 35-0 lead over UNLV, thoroughly dominating on both sides of the football.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Marshall Lobbenstael, starting in place of injured junior standout Jeff Tuel, is 18-of-21 for 274 yards and four TD strikes so far, as he's had all day to operate in the pocket against a punchless UNLV defense. The Rebels' secondary is looking lost more times than not, and the Washington State wideouts have had a field day against them in return.
WSU has 372 yards of total offense so far, and appears well on its way to its second victory of the season.
The Rebels, meanwhile, are squandering an opportunity to create some buzz back in Las Vegas as they have their first two home games of the season in the next two weeks. Instead, many back home now are probably wondering when basketball season starts (first practice is on Oct. 14, in case you're one of those wondering).
One point in this one I'll look back at as crucial came late in the first quarter, with UNLV trailing 14-0 and facing a fourth-and-three in Washington State territory. Instead of going for it and trying to draw some blood, UNLV decided to punt it, and not long after, WSU held a commanding 21-0 edge. For the most part, since then, the Rebels have lacked confidence on both sides of the ball.
On offense, numbers-wise, UNLV's lone bright spot is sophomore back Tim Cornett, who has 42 yards on eight carries. But the Rebels are just 2-of-8 on third downs, while WSU has only faced five of those, converting on four of them.
I'm not expecting this one to get any closer, and I'm also not expecting Bobby Hauck to be too positive after this one. This game, oddly enough, is quite similar to last year's 30-7 loss down the road at Idaho, when UNLV was run ragged in a road game it was expected to be competitive in.
End of First Quarter, Washington State up 14-0
PULLMAN, Wash. — It was definitely not the start UNLV had envisioned, as the defense is struggling mightily for the second straight week. Washington State has had no problems moving the ball up and down its home turf, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Cougars are moving in now on their third score, too, which might make the hole too big for UNLV to dig its way out of today.
Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael is 8-of-9 for 128 yards and a TD toss so far, as he's seen very little pressure from the UNLV defense. On the first play of WSU's current drive, James Dunlap sacked him for an eight-yard loss, but two plays later, Wazzu was working with a fresh set of downs. As the first quarter draws to a close, the Cougars are now at the UNLV 20-yard line and moving with continued ease.
The Rebels' defense looks lost for the most part. The first score of the game was a 48-yard jaunt by WSU running back Ricky Galvin, who ran away from three UNLV defenders in the final 25 yards of his journey.
On the other side of the ball, UNLV's offense just isn't doing enough damage. Caleb Herring has attempted only two passes, while the Rebels have come up short on third downs, going 1-of-3. On the last drive, Bradley Randle was dropped for a one-yard loss on third-and-one near midfield. UNLV wound up punting, and that could turn out to be a key missed opportunity for the Rebels.
So far, WSU has out-gained UNLV 205-41 in terms of total offense, and it's appearing at the moment that this one might only get uglier.
PULLMAN, Wash. — Welcome to the most important game of UNLV's 2011 football season.
Sounds a bit early to be saying that, doesn't it? But the outcome of today's 2 p.m. clash with Washington State at Martin Stadium could play a major role in how the next few weeks are viewed.
UNLV (0-1) comes in today as a 14-point underdog, but after showing some offensive pop last week at Wisconsin, they should be able to hang with the Cougars (1-0), who are without standout junior quarterback Jeff Tuel. Tuel suffered a collarbone injury in WSU's blowout of Idaho State last weekend, and coach Paul Wulff now turns to fifth-year senior Marshall Lobbestael behind center. Lobbestael has been inconsistent when previously given opportunities to run the show.
If UNLV comes out victorious, the Rebels will be 1-1 with back-to-back home games coming up against Hawaii (toss-up) and Southern Utah (very winnable), then they'll get a bye week before traveling to face rebuilding Nevada-Reno on Oct. 8. In other words, if they win today, the next month lays out quite favorably for the Rebels, with some nice spots on the horizon.
If UNLV doesn't win, the season is far from lost, but the Rebels at that point would likely be again playing to build towards 2012. A win, and they could have a legitimate chance at — gasp — five or six wins this seasons.
The key, though, is that UNLV has a chance. They got what they'd hoped to get out of last week's trip to Wisconsin — some positives to work with and no major injuries. Now, they have to capitalize on it.
If UNLV is going to do so, here are three things that they'll have to do well …
1) They have to test Wazzu's run defense. Idaho State didn't really try to last week, and the young UNLV offensive line should come in with plenty of confidence after a solid debut last Thursday at Wisconsin. Plus, it could help keep plenty of the pressure off of UNLV's struggling defense.
2) Caleb Herring's relatively mistake-free performance a week ago in Madison went sort of unnoticed, but that's not a bad thing. He performed well in the Rebels' opener and managed the game like a veteran. He has to keep doing that. Wazzu can score, and giving them extra possessions is far from a smart idea.
3) Jumping out early might be UNLV's best bet. Last season, in seven road games, they never held a lead. It would be interesting to see how this team does away from Sam Boyd Stadium while not playing from behind.
As for my prediction today, I'm thinking we'll see a wild one. I'm taking Washington State, but it will be a fun game to watch — er, listen to. I'll say the final today in Pullman is 38-34.
Stay tuned here for all of your updates as the game unfolds today, plus you can check in with me on Twitter at @ryanmgreene. Also, don't forget to add the #unlvfb and #unlv hashtag to your in-game tweets to show up below.
Talk to you again after kick-off.