Published Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 | 2:46 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 | 7:02 p.m.
- Take 5: UNLV trying to duplicate effort of 2002 Rebels against Colorado State
- This could be the week the Rebels break through on the road
- Rebels capture winning feeling with dominating victory against New Mexico
- Take 5: Getting ready for Saturday’s must-win game against New Mexico
- Mountain Best: League has a few tricks and treats left heading into November
- Rebels trying to ignore poor record and finish strong, starting with New Mexico
- All UNLV Football Coverage
COLORADO STATE 33, UNLV 11
UNLV gave this game away in the first half with four turnovers that sunk any chances of ending their road losing streak, which is now at 21 games.
Tim Cornett again broke the 100-yard barrier on the ground but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome Freshman quarterback Nick Sherry's worst game of his career, which ended early when he left in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury. Sherry committed three turnovers — two interceptions and one fumble — that led to 14 points, and he never looked good in the pocket.
Basically from the start the Rebels were outplayed, which is a big problem considering they're probably a better team than a CSU squad that ranks near the bottom of the league in almost every statistical category and didn't even play particularly well at Hughes Stadium on Saturday night.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from tonight's game.
COLORADO STATE 27, UNLV 8
13:09 remaining in the third quarter
The Rebels won't get shutout, this much we know. UNLV marched down and eventually scored on fourth-and-goal at the 1 on a pass to Max Johnson.
Tim Cornett has more than 100 yards for the eighth time this season and 11th in his career. That rings hollow on a frigid night like this.
COLORADO STATE 27, UNLV 0
4:47 remaining in the third quarter
At this point you have to wonder if UNLV is even going to score, and considering Colorado State has one of country's worst rush defenses that says a lot about the Rebels' performance.
Colorado State kicked a short field goal after a long drive to go up nearly four touchdowns. This was supposed to the game UNLV could end its 20-game road losing streak. At the very least it was supposed to be close.
The fact that it's not is blamed on terrible execution — four turnovers in the first half — and questionable play-calling that saw Nick Sherry complete just 6-of-17 passes in the first half.
It doesn't get much worse than this.
COLORADO STATE 24, UNLV 0
Remember how good UNLV looked against New Mexico last week? That's how bad this score is right now.
Don't confuse me, the Rebels aren't playing horribly. But because of their mistakes you'd never know that.
The defense has given up just one long drive, a long field goal and a touchdown when the ball started at UNLV's 19.
The offense, on the other hand, is in love with the pass and hasn't come up with enough plays to counteract Nick Sherry's three turnovers. Those giveaways led to 21 points — two on returns and the one on a short field. Bradley Randle also fumbled, though the defense held after that.
The play-calling has just been bizarre considering the conditions (under 30 degrees and occasional snow) and a quarterback from California who's not used to playing games in this type of weather. That's not an excuse, it's a reason to keep feeding the ball to Tim Cornett, who at halftime was averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
This is probably beyond comeback territory for UNLV, which is amazing. Colorado State isn't good, and the Rams haven't even played all that well. The Rebels have given this one away and the Rams are happy to take it.
COLORADO STATE 21, UNLV 0
8:00 remaining in the second quarter
Two plays, 19 yards. That's Colorado State's first scoring "drive" since the other two scores came from the defense.
The Rebels are digging themselves a hole so deep a may be a new low. This isn't like the other road games this year, when UNLV was clearly outmatched. The Rebels probably have the better players on the field, but their most important player — Nick Sherry — has accounted for three turnovers. Two led directly to scores. The other may as well have.
UNLV's defense hasn't been that bad. The offense, too, looks OK when they give the ball to Tim Cornett. None of that matters because of the turnovers. No doubt the cold is a factor on the freshman quarterback from California.
It's not going to warm up as the game wears on. It will only get colder and UNLV will need a nearly perfect second half, or at the very least several bad CSU mistakes, to even make it a game.
COLORADO STATE 14, UNLV 0
14:50 remaining in the second quarter
Bad teams can't afford to turn the ball over. Both teams today fall into that category today, but it's Colorado State making UNLV pay so far.
The teams have combined for four turnovers, and CSU has taken two of the Rebels' giveaways back for touchdowns. The latest was a Bradley Randle fumble that Shaq Bell picked up and returned about 25 yards for a score.
UNLV's best plan for success is to keep giving the ball to Tim Cornett and, despite the fumble, Randle. Sherry has looked shaky thus far and the running back duo has proved it can wear down opponents.
COLORADO STATE 7, UNLV 0
4:30 remaining in the first quarter
UNLV has started this game by being far too tricky for its own good, and right now it has them in a 7-0 hole.
Despite freezing temperatures the Rebels threw the ball on their first four plays. Only one was successful, and after that they finally fed Tim Cornett on the ground. Instead of sticking with that, which was working, they called for a reverse that lost eight yards. And on the next play Nick Sherry made a terrible throw on a screen that was easily picked off by defenisve end Shaquil Barrett and returned 49 yards for a touchdown.
UNLV had an interception of its own to stop a Rams drive inside the 10, otherwise it could be even worse right now.
Colorado State's defense is awful against the run and the Rebels are clearly better at running downhill than throwing, so it's curious that they are trying so hard to throw it.UNLV's woeful road losing streak may end today in Fort Collins
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The last time UNLV football won on the road, Barack Obama was the president. OK, so that one doesn’t really work, but the Rebels did have a different coach (Mike Sanford), a different athletic director (interim Jerry Koloskie) and an entirely different roster than they do today at 4 at Colorado State, where UNLV has a great chance to snap its 20-game road losing streak. The game is on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
The streak dates back to an October 2009 game at New Mexico. Since then, UNLV has lost 20 straight by an average score of 43-11. Only one was within single digits (last year at New Mexico) and in only two games have the Rebels scored at least three touchdowns, including a 58-31 loss earlier this year at Louisiana Tech.
The reason the streak may end today has less to do with how UNLV played last week against New Mexico (really well) than how Colorado State has played this season (really badly). The Rams have two victories this season, against Colorado and Hawaii. Those two teams have a combined two victories, and it’s likely to stay the way the rest of the year. Colorado State is starting freshman Conner Smith at quarterback today; he's the third player to start at the position for first-year coach Jim McElwain this season.
CSU ranks in the bottom half, and often the bottom two, in the conference for nearly every statistical category, including rushing offense and rushing defense. That defense is going to be a serious problem for the Rams both because of UNLV’s success on the ground and the expected game-time conditions: 36 degrees and snowing. The sloppier it gets, the more the Rebels are likely to keep it on the ground, especially if they have success with that early in the game.
And the one thing the Rams have going for them — a decent passing game against a terrible secondary — may be nullified by the conditions and the fact that Smith is at quarterback. He was really good against San Diego State, bad against Hawaii and put up really bizarre numbers (13-for-23, 326 yards) against Wyoming. On a normal day, the Rams would have to like their chances against this UNLV secondary, but today is not a normal day.
The Rebels are hoping that applies to them, too. Normal means getting blown out today. It would be a nice change of pace to actually win one of these.
Bern’s take: UNLV opened as a three-point favorite, but as of this afternoon the game was bet down to a pick. Obviously, bettors aren’t buying that things will be different today, but I am. It has less to do with the Rebels than it does the Rams, whom I don’t think are any good. UNLV’s march through this final four-game stretch continues and the streak ends. UNLV 25, Colorado State 17.