AP Photo/Brad Horn
Published Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 | 12:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 | 4:35 p.m.
Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer, back safely from Wyoming, discuss what went wrong for the Rebels in a 30-27 loss to Wyoming, then take a look at how it translates forward for Mike Sanford's 2-2 club. Plus, Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal chimes in to offer some insight on UNR, who UNLV faces up in Reno this weekend in a must-win for both sides.
- The Mtn. vexes fans who’d like to watch UNLV
- Take Five: Getting to know UNR
- Against UNR, John Robinson set the standard at UNLV
- Notebook: Wolfe takes on added duties; Clayton questionable
- Mondays with Mike: Rebels running a tight ship in preparation for UNR
- UNLV looks to bring Fremont Cannon back from Reno
- Kaepernick too much as UNR pounds Rebels, 49-27 (9-28-08)
- 2009 UNLV Season Stats
Final, UNR wins 63-28
RENO — UNR was trying to get Mike Ball five more yards, so that he could be the third Wolf Pack ball carrier to eclipse 100 yards on the day.
Instead, the redshirt freshman ripped off an 89-yard touchdown run to put UNR up 56-28 late in the fourth quarter. That was indicative of the entire day for the UNLV defense, who gave up 773 yards of total offense despite forcing three first-half turnovers.
Ball finished with 184 yards and five touchdowns on 15 carries, while Luke Lippincott had 19 carries for 170 yards and a score behind him. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick finished with 208 yards passing, 173 yards rushing and two total touchdowns in a flat-out embarrassing loss for UNLV, who now drops to 2-3 on the season and has to go home to face BYU and Utah in the next two weeks.
It also turns up the heat on fifth-year coach Mike Sanford's seat, as a once-promising season now appears to be spiraling out of control.
UNLV used three first-half fumbles by UNR to tie the game up at the half, 21-21. But in the second half, it was just more of the same, as the Rebels never forced the Wolf Pack to punt on the afternoon. Instead, UNR averaged 10.6 points per snap.
It gave the Fremont Cannon to the Wolf Pack for the fifth consecutive year.
Sophomore quarterback Mike Clausen got the start for the Rebels in place of the injured Omar Clayton and completed 26 of his 50 pass attempts for 276 yards and a touchdown. Phillip Payne led all receivers with 10 carries for 112 yards.
For full postgame coverage, including stories, video, photos, stats and The Rebel Room: Postgame podcast, stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com/rebels.
6:59, fourth quarter, UNR leads 49-28
RENO — The flood gates are officially opened up, folks.
UNR now has 649 yards of total offense on 69 plays, with some trickery coming in on the latest Wolf Pack score.
Running the Wildcat formation, running back Luke Lippincott faked out the entire UNLV defense, throwing a six-yard pass to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, putting UNR up by three touchdowns with just under seven minutes to play.
At this point, 700 yards of total offense isn't unheard of if UNLV can't eat up some clock. You know that's what Chris Ault wants.
11:21, fourth quarter, UNR leads 42-28
RENO — UNLV couldn't make lightning strike twice on a fourth-down pass play in UNR territory, and UNR again made UNLV's defense look a step behind on every play.
Colin Kaepernick orchestrated yet another scoring drive for the Wolf Pack, who now has 569 yards of total offense. The last drive was finished off by a Kaepernick touchdown pass to Virgil Green on a play fake that the entire Rebels defensive unit bit on.
While UNR has lost four fumbles today, UNLV has yet to register a third-down stop today on UNR.
Kaepernick is 15-of-18 with his arm for 208 yards and a score, while adding another 173 — yes, 173 — with his legs. It's almost a carbon-copy of his showing against UNLV in 2008 if you take away the unsightly two fumbles.
:50, third quarter, UNR leads 35-28
RENO — What a coming-out party this has turned into for UNR redshirt freshman Mike Ball.
On 11 carries, he now has 90 yards and four touchdown runs. However, plenty of the credit for his most recent score — a four-yard TD to put UNR back up on UNLV, 35-28 — goes to Luke Lippincott.
The UNR senior caught a screen pass from Colin Kaepernick a play earlier on a third-and-10 play near midfield and went 40 yards to set up another go-ahed score for the Wolf Pack.
The third-and-10 was caused by UNR's 11th penalty of the day, called on a false start.
But despite the flags and four lost fumbles, UNLV's defense simply cannot figure out how to stop Kaepernick. The Wolf Pack still has yet to punt today.
4:20, third quarter, game tied 28-28
RENO — A review of a fourth-and-six pass from Mike Clausen to Ryan Wolfe — originally called short of the first-down marker — kept a UNLV drive alive, as the Rebels have tied it up again in Reno, 28-28.
Wolfe stretched the ball across the marker before going out of bounds, and a few plays later, C.J. Cox shot through a seam in the middle for a 23-yard touchdown run.
UNR now has four lost fumbles, and three of them have turned into UNLV touchdowns.
The crowd again is silenced, and UNLV's defense has been given another shot to help take this game over. They're at least getting penetration against Colin Kaepernick this half. Now they have to finish against him.
11:43, third quarter, UNR leads 28-21
RENO — UNLV gave itself another chance to ruin UNR's offensive confidence, forcing a third-and-long for seemingly the first time today.
But one play after Colin Kaepernick converted it with a 15-yard pass to Tray Session, Mike Ball shot right through the middle untouched for a 32-yard touchdown run, putting UNR back up, 28-21.
Ball now has 85 yards on eight carries with three scores on the day.
Halftime, game tied 21-21
RENO — Not too long ago in this game, it looked like it was getting out of hand.
Funny what three fumbles lost can do on a team leading 21-7.
UNR coughed the ball up on three consecutive possessions, and UNLV turned two of them into touchdowns. The latter of those scores was Channing Trotter's second short-yardage TD run of the game, tying things up, 21-21, at the break at Mackay Stadium.
The Wolf Pack still ran the ball for 210 yards on 27 carries, but the fumbles cut short potential scoring drives near midfield.
Mike Clausen, starting in place of the injured Omar Clayton, has been steady in the face of constant defensive pressure, going 13-of-27 for 173 yards and a touchdown toss. He's also run the ball 11 times for 17 yards.
As for Colin Kaepernick, the dual-threat weapon has 184 yards of total offense for the Wolf Pack, but has killed off any momentum that UNR had early on. The crowd has been neutralized for now, which is huge for UNLV. If the Rebels defense can get another stop to open the second half, the momentum will be completely there for the taking.
A few more numbers to crunch at the half ...
— Phillip Payne came up with three huge grabs on the Rebels' final scoring drive of the half, and leads all receivers today with five grabs for 67 yards. Meanwhile, Ryan Wolfe has one catch for 16 yards.
— Luke Lippincott is taking full advantage of his second life as the Wolf Pack starting tailback, with 10 carries for 67 yards and a score. However, that fumble was massive.
— UNR has shot itself in the foot with penalties, with eight for 79 yards in the first half. In reality, they've had about 11 flags, but a few of them offset by other infractions.
— So much for my pregame theory that Channing Trotter would be a major tool for UNLV to use in keeping Kaepernick off the field. He has three carries for two yards ... and two TDs. Granted, abandoning him has a lot to do with the fact that UNLV has been playing from behind almost right from go.
— Average yards per play: UNLV 4.9, UNR 8.2.
I'm still thinking UNR has a slight edge since the Wolf Pack gets the ball to start the half and can re-take control of this one. But at this point, nothing would surprise me. UNLV's defense is breathing new life, but now has to force a punt. That will start by getting some kind of penetration up front.
Now it's too bad this one isn't televised.
3:08, second quarter, UNR leads 21-14
RENO — Apparently, UNR is in no rush to put a foot on UNLV's throat, as Colin Kaepernick fumbled for the second time, and after UNLV failed to capitalize on the turnover, Luke Lippincott gave the Wolf Pack its third turnover of the game.
UNLV takes over at its own 37 late in the first half with an opportunity to tie it up going into the half.
This time, it was Chris Jones forcing the fumble and Mike Grant on the recovery. The previous two muffs were caused by Travis Dixon.
UNLV is now in UNR territory after a big third-and-six pass by Mike Cluasen to Phillip Payne.
7:27, second quarter, UNR leads 21-14
RENO — Following an ugly three-and-out, UNR made its first offensive mistake of the day.
A 29-yard gain by Colin Kaepernick was ruined when UNLV safety Travis Dixon wrestled the ball from his grip near the UNLV sideline. Chris Jones fell on it, and three plays later, the Rebels capitalized on their first fumble recovery of the 2009 season.
Kaepernick was plagued earlier this season by turnovers, and it's his second fumble lost in four games.
UNLV drew a pass interference call on a fade toss to Phillip Payne on the first play of the drive, which started at its own 47. Two snaps later, Mike Clausen floated a pass down the middle for Jerriman Robinson, who went up high for the grab and stumbled into the end zone. He was given a 15-yard flag for excessive celebration, but Ben Jaekle put the ensuing kickoff into the end zone.
Another stop would be big for the Rebels, who at least now have some momentum.
10:25, second quarter, UNR leads 21-7
RENO — If UNLV wants a chance in what is now officially a shootout, the defense will need to get a stop at some point.
Colin Kaepernick again led the UNR offense down the field with ease against an overmatched UNLV defensive front, as Mike Ball's second touchdown run of the day capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive that covered about four minutes.
It was the same old story, as huge gains on first down via the ground kept the Rebels defense on its heels the entire way.
UNR already has 225 yards of total offense, while Kaepernick has rushed for 67 on six carries. He's also 6-of-7 for 79 yards with the arm.
Redshirt freshman back Mike Ball is making a name for himself. His first two collegiate TD runs are accompanied by 34 yards on seven carries.
14:28, second quarter, UNR leads 14-7
RENO — UNLV showed that it won't go down without a fight — at least on the offensive side of the ball.
The defense got a good breather as UNLV chewed up more than five minutes of game-clock on an 82-yard touchdown drive, caped by a two-yard scoring run by Channing Trotter — his fifth of the season.
A late hit by UNR's Nate Agaiava on a third-down run by Mike Clausen helped continue the drive towards the end of the first quarter, then a pass interference call on Isaiah Frey in the end zone put the ball at the two-yard line.
On the drive, Clausen looked comfortable in the pocket, completing four of five pass attempts, including a big second-and-17 pass to Ryan Wolfe for a gain of 16.
But, the score is only worth what the defense can put on top of it, as Colin Kaepernick & Co. take over at their own 20. The crowd has at least been silenced some, which helps the Rebels for the time being.
4:41, first quarter, UNR leads 14-0
RENO — Well, this one could be spinning out of control really fast.
Seemingly without effort, Colin Kaepernick orchestrated a 74-yard drive to put UNR up 14-0. The jaunt took 4:35 on just nine plays, and Mike Ball's first collegiate touchdown came on a 10-yard run.
Mackay Stadium is loud, and UNLV looks flustered across the board. The thing is, you know UNR is looking to run this one up, so don't expect the Wolf Pack to let up any time soon. Chris Ault's team needs confidence after an 0-3 start, and he'll take all he can from Mike Sanford.
The UNLV defense is simply getting no push at the line of scrimmage. On a broken play to start the drive, Colin Kaepernick easily glided for seven yards. A few snaps later, he was under pressure from Jason Beauchamp and wound up flicking the ball downfield to Luke Lippincott for a wide-open sliding catch. The Rebels' D just isn't instilling any fear, whatsoever. Bad sign early in a rivalry game.
10:44, first quarter, UNR leads 7-0
RENO — Apparently, Omar Clayton's shoulder was more sore than we were all led to believe.
Sophomore Mike Clausen got the starting nod, and completed a pair of passes to start things off before UNLV's drive stalled out in its own territory. Making matters worse was UNR's Albert Rosette giving the Wolf Pack its first blocked punt since 2004, and the Pack started right at midfield.
A 35-yard gain on the first play was negated by a personal foul call, but it didn't slow UNR down at all, as Colin Kaepernick led the offense into the end zone within six plays. Luke Lippincott polished off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run right up the middle.
It's loud, and UNLV is frazzled early on. The defensive line was having trouble communicating, as guys weren't even in the down position at times as plays started on that drive. The offense needs to hit back fast, or this could get out of control in a big way.
RENO — Welcome to Reno, everyone. I'll be your eyes and, well, eyes today, as it's well-known by this point in the week that today's game won't be televised. Is it a shame? Yes. But on the bright side, if you're a UNLV fan, that won't be the case at any point this season.
It's a beautiful day up here, with temperatures in the low 70s and a decent breeze blowing in.
As for the 'circus atmosphere' around this one, it's been tough to detect so far. We took a little ride around campus, and things here seem pretty tamed. Then again, after witnessing the student tailgates at Sam Boyd Stadium a year ago, I'm sure it's crazy somewhere around here.
First, a couple of pregame notes ...
— Senior receiver Rodelin Anthony, who did not make the trip to Wyoming last week after suffering a concussion late in the Hawaii game, did board the team's flight yesterday to Reno. However, he will not play today, meaning you can expect to hear Jerriman Robinson and Michael Johnson on your radio call a little more than usual.
— It appears as if junior quarterback Omar Clayton is warming up as if he will start today's game. It's been pretty much assumed all week, especially after it turned out his shoulder injury was nothing major. But now it appears to be confirmed.
— I'm directionally challenged when it comes to away games, but this one could get interesting if either team needs to make crucial kicks towards the end zone with a raucous student section. On top of distracting noisemakers the fans have back there today, the wind is blowing directly in a kicker's face who attempts to score through those goal posts.
I'm still sticking with my prediction of UNR by a touchdown in this one. Just nothing has changed my opinion this week on that one.
One thing to keep an eye on today, I think, is how much Mike Sanford and Todd Berry utilize junior running back Channing Trotter.
He's put up good numbers in four games, with 295 yards and four touchdowns to his credit while picking up five yards per carry.
He hasn't been heavily relied upon since the opener, when he picked up 103 yards and three scores against Sacramento State, but last week at Wyoming was devastating against the Cowboys' defense, picking up a handful of lengthy runs in tough fashion.
If UNLV wants to change the trend of getting worked by dual-threat quarterbacks, Trotter could be vital today, as the Rebels face maybe the best QB they'll see all season in Colin Kaepernick.
How do you contain him? Run the ball and work the clock, keeping him off the field. Just my two cents.
After all, lets be honest — UNLV needs this one more than UNR.
The Wolf Pack can go to 0-4 and still easily make a bowl game thanks to the lesser strength of their conference slate in the WAC. UNLV, on the other hand, still has the likes of BYU, Utah, TCU and Air Force left.
Talk to you all closer to kickoff.