Smashed again: BYU rolls reeling Rebels, 59-21

Cougars total 613 yards of total offense, drops UNLV to 2-4


The Rebels suffered their second straight lopsided loss, this one by No. 18 BYU. The Cougars piled up 611 yards of total offense on their way to a 59-21 victory.

Game Preview: BYU vs UNLV

After a horrific loss to UNR, the Rebels try to bounce back this Saturday against BYU. Listen as players and coaches preview the game.

October 8: BYU-UNLV Preview

Ryan Greene of the Las Vegas Sun joins the show to preview the upcoming UNLV-BYU showdown.

The Rebel Room

Here come the Cougars

Ryan Greene and Rob Miech discuss UNLV and BYU's upcoming Saturday night clash at Sam Boyd Stadium, which pits a red-hot Cougars offense against a Rebels defense -- and head coach, for that matter -- that is truly against the ropes.

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Final, BYU wins 59-21

With a season and maybe a coach's job on the brink, UNLV tried to get off the mat repeatedly against BYU on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, only to find itself losing by submission, 59-21.

The Cougars followed up UNR's 773-yard performance against the UNLV defense by rattling off 613 yards. BYU improves to 4-1 on the season, while UNLV is now 2-4, with three straight defeats.

BYU senior quarterback Max Hall was 21-of-27 for 320 yards and two TD passes, while Harvey Unga ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns.

UNLV threw three interceptions and was never able to truly make it a game after falling behind early, 17-0.

The Rebels will now welcome Utah to Sam Boyd Stadium next week, while the heat under fifth-year coach Mike Sanford's seat now appears to be at an all-time high.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, analysis, stats, photos, video and The Rebel Room: Postgame podcast, stay tuned to

13:17, fourth quarter, BYU leads 52-21

Omar Clayton threw his second touchdown pass of the day, this time hitting Rodelin Anthony for a four-yard score.

But, like every other UNLV touchdown or opportunity to grab momentum, BYU salted all over it.

O'Neill Chambers ran the ensuing kickoff back to the UNLV 3-yard line, and one play later, backup quarterback Riley Nelson scored on a draw play, going untouched.

Max Hall appears done for the night, along with the rest of BYU's first-team offense. He finished up 21-of-27 for 320 yards and two touchdown passes. It was the first time this season in which Hall did not throw a pick.

2:20, third quarter, BYU leads 45-14

BYU apparently is in no rush to let off of the gas pedal.

In the Cougars' most recent offensive display, they went 53 yards in two plays to do the deed.

First, JJ Di Luigi ripped off a 38-yard gain on the ground against a defense comprised of second-stringers. Then, Hall threw him a screen pass, which he easily took in for a 15-yard score.

BYU now has 559 yards of total offense inside of three full quarters, and is averaging 9.8 yards per play. The final numbers in both categories could end up looking eerily similar to those of last week in Reno.

4:41, third quarter, BYU leads 38-14

An interception thrown on a gimmick play by Mike Clausen set up yet another BYU touchdown, this time with freshman Jo Jo Pili doing the honors from a yard out, to put BYU up 38-14 late in the third quarter.

A deep toss to Brett Thompson from Max Hall set the Cougars up inside the UNLV 20-yard line, as the Rebels' defense has yet to put much pressure of any kind on the prolific Cougars' senior gunslinger.

The play by Clausen was a head-scratcher.

Omar Clayton appeared to be finding a rhythm after the 75-yard touchdown toss to Mike Johnson, but then Sanford sent Clausen in along with two tight ends to set up what appeared to be a Clausen sneak. Clausen took one step forward, then dropped back and threw it deep to Ryan Wolfe in double coverage.

UNLV went three-and-out after the BYU score. The blowout might go to another level now.

10:20, third quarter, BYU leads 31-14

BYU's opening drive in the second half stalled out in UNLV territory, and the Rebels showed how serious they are on keeping this one a game.

Right away, they did.

Omar Clayton threw a beautiful ball over the middle for speedster Michael Johnson, who sprinted away from two BYU defenders en route to a 75-yard score, pulling the Rebels to within 10 points early in the third quarter.

Johnson now has 3 catches for 97 yards on the night, while the TD pass was Clayton's seventh this season.

But it was just more of the same, as each chance UNLV has to grab momentum goes right by the wayside thanks to a porous defense.

Just moments after Clayton's throw, a four-play, 69-yard drive was capped by a 35-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall to standout tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta caught the ball streaking down the right sideline, then faked safety Chris Jones to the inside and went in with relative ease.

At 31-14, BYU appears to have firm control of this one, no matter how many big plays UNLV rips off.

Halftime, BYU leads 24-7

UNLV forced its first punt in two weeks and Deante' Purvis returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown — the first time a Rebels kick returner had done so in 10 years.

Those were pretty much all the highlights there were for UNLV in the first half tonight against BYU, as the Rebels trail 24-7 at the half.

Here are the main numbers of note through one half...

— Harvey Unga has done most of the damage for the BYU offense, as the Cougars are fully exploiting UNLV's faulty run defense. So far, the junior has three touchdown runs and 115 yards on 16 carries.

— Max Hall hasn't had to do much, and has been pretty much a piece of backdrop scenery for the Cougars. So far, the senior QB is 13-of-18 for a quiet 174 yards. No scoring tosses, but also no interceptions.

— Omar Clayton's up-and-down season continues. After throwing four picks in nine starts last year, he threw two in the first half tonight, giving him seven in less than five full games played this season. He is 11-of-17 for 95 yards.

— Some props to UNLV senior receiver Ryan Wolfe, who had six catches for 43 yards in the first half, moving him into second place on the Mountain West Conference's all-time chart for receptions.

— BYU is 5-of-7 on third downs, meaning that in the last six quarters, UNLV's defense has allowed opponents to go 12-of-14 on third downs. Eek, again.

BYU will take the ball out of the break, and this is where we see what kind of control Mike Sanford has over this team. Facing a huge deficit and a potential 2-4 record on the season, does this team play for him? We shall see.

11:12, second quarter, BYU leads 24-7

So much for capitalizing on the momentum.

UNLV linebacker David Blair tried to tackle Harvey Unga up high and paid a dear price, as Unga wiggled away and shot 52 yards downfield for his third touchdown run of the game. It completely wiped out any momentum UNLV had from Purvis's 94-yard kickoff return for a score.

Unga, in a little over a quarter of play tonight, has 109 yards on 11 carries.

13:05, second quarter, BYU leads 24-7

Another BYU drive, another Harvey Unga touchdown run, another collective sigh from the UNLV faithful who held out hope that the Rebels would make this one a game.

Harvey Unga's second touchdown run of the night almost had those in red headed for the gates early, but UNLV sophomore Deante' Purvis breathed some life into the Sam Boyd Stadium stands, running the ensuing kickoff back 94 yards for the Rebels' first score of the night.

He shot up the right sideline, juked kicker Mitch Payne out of his shoes and then showed incredible open-field speed in finishing it off.

Not sure what the fans were more pumped about — The 17-7 score, or the fact that the Rebels' first kickoff return for a score in 10 years gave them free food at Raising Cane's ...

However the kick return is only as valuable for UNLV as the defense makes it. They need a stop in the worst of ways.

3:36, first quarter, BYU leads 10-0

BYU was able to take full advantage of Omar Clayton's mistake, and even overcame a foible of its own.

After a holding call on the first play of the drive gave the Cougars a first-and-20 to deal with, it took the Max Hall-led offense two plays to score. The capper was a 33-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga, who has killed UNLV in his first two career outings against the Rebels.

He shot up the middle, bounced outside to the right and streaked in with relative ease, avoiding a Deante' Purvis tackle attempt late.

Here's where it gets interesting, folks. Do the Rebels still believe after a disastrous first quarter? Does this get ugly beyond reproach? Still something to watch for here.

4:45, first quarter, BYU leads 3-0

UNLV took an interesting approach on the game's opening drive, playing musical quarterbacks between Omar Clayton — who started — and Mike Clausen.

Either way, it stalled out at the BYU 38-yard line, and a punt set the Cougars up at their own.

Now, granted, UNLV allowed BYU to convert its first two third-down opportunities of the game, but showed some surprising stinginess against the run and held the Cougars to a 28-yard Mitch Payne field goal, after a run attempt on third-and-nine only netted about four yards.

Still, UNLV's weaknesses over the middle against the pass on third downs were exposed early by Max Hall. Expect BYU to still accumulate lots of offensive yardage.

The Cougars won't need many more to score again, though.

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Omar Clayton attempted to throw the ball away after being chased towards the UNLV sideline. His throw didn't flutter far enough out of bounds, as BYU's Jordan Pendleton made a phenomenal one-handed grab to set the Cougars up at the Rebels' 36-yard line.

Pregame, part deux

UNLV won the coin toss and elected to receive, which can be read several ways. First off, this is the second time the Rebels have taken the ball at home this season after winning the flip. Is it a lack of confidence in the defense to set the tone? Is it the want to send an offensive statement early? We shall see.


When UNLV ended its 3-game home stand to start the 2009 season, the Rebels were 2-1, fresh off of a thrilling 34-33 victory over Hawaii and heading on the road to face Wyoming — a very beatable opponent.

Flash forward three weeks, Wyoming is now 4-2 and turning into a serious sleeper in the MWC, and UNLV is still licking its wounds after two rough road losses. The most recent being a 63-28 embarrassment at UNR.

We've covered that over and over ... and over ... on this site over the past week, and now the 2-3 Rebels have no choice but to push forward.

That effort begins with another two-game home stretch, welcoming conference heavyweights BYU and Utah to town.

First up tonight is 4-1 BYU, who looks to kick the UNLV defense while its down. As everyone knows by now, the Rebels surrendered 773 yards of total offense and 559 rushing yards to the Wolf Pack last week.

Between senior quarterback Max Hall, junior tailback Harvey Unga and a slew of other weapons, a repeat performance by the UNLV defense could lead to an interesting upcoming week within the program, as the heat is now turned way up under Mike Sanford's seat.

Want one other little bit of salt for that wound?

Well, remember how UNLV's 30-27 loss at Wyoming tied the Rebels for the longest road losing streak in conference games in the nation at 20? Well, now that honor belongs solely to UNLV, as Duke snapped its skid earlier today with a 49-28 victory at North Carolina State.


So far, judging by how easy it was to get into the Sam Boyd parking lot tonight, it's not going to be an insane atmosphere. And after another trip around the concourse, it's definitely going to be a pro-BYU crowd. But, then again, that was to be expected.

Final note: Junior linebacker Starr Fuimaono, who hurt his ankle last weekend, is not dressed for warmups, so it looks like he'll be a no-go.

As for predictions, I'm saying 45-28, BYU. My colleague, Rob Miech, is going 62-9 in favor of the Cougars.

Again, eek.

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  1. im sorry ryan.... this title must be wrong. it is portraying that unlv has a defense


  3. Wow, it's pretty obvious that we miss Starr. His replacement has blown two tackles that were ran for touchdowns.

    Clayton's terrible, time for a change at quarterback after the half.

  4. "three touchdown runs and 115 yards on 16 carries."

    Most of those yards came on the two blown tackle touchdown runs by David Blair. Where was the rest of the defense after he missed those tackles? BYU is running right at Blair, I would too seeing the way he tackles, or lack thereof. Not that I'm sticking up for UNLV's defense but they do seem to be doing alright stopping the run outside of those two bad plays.

  5. Hopefully one of these days Sanford pulls a Donnie Moore and gets rid of himself.

    Sanford is a disgrace to coaches across the land.

  6. Sanford should have called a cab & snuck out at halftime.

  7. The offense is helping the defense in being lousy tonight.

    BYU isn't great but we're sure making them look that way.

    Well, nice guys finish last, especially in your case Sanford. I'd be expecting a call from Jerry shortly after this one.

  8. WOW! It's like watching men playing boys. I have lost track of the missed tackles. It looks like all coaching to me.

  9. Looking at the half hearted D-Line pressure, I would say that the defense has given up.

  10. Of course they've given up-it's the 4th quarter.

    Odds on Sanford being gone by Wednesday?

  11. More like odds someone on Maryland Parkway grows a set and makes a decision. . .

  12. Hey Mike! Congrats on your 40th!

  13. The coaching obviously has a lot to do with the outcome of a game or a season but let's get real, the players on both sides of the ball have played like absolute trash. And they're getting what they deserve, to be trashed, again.

  14. Who didn't see this coming. Sanford, do the right thing and walk away. I'm betting on the Utes next week, how sad is that?

  15. If UNLV does not get rid of Sanford and his defense coach, and also the stooge AD that made that lousy comment, my money contributions will definitely go elsewhere.

    I will also contact as many donors as possible and ask them to do the same.

  16. Goodbye Stinkford.

  17. The season is over, this team is finished, get Sanford out of here Monday morning. It is not just a lack of technique anymore it is psychological now and by keeping Sanford here it is only going to screw up their heads even worse then they already are. 6 games into his 5th season and they are still getting blown out by 38, that should not happen to any team in any conference under a 5th year (HC).
    UNLV is a bad football team on both sides of the ball. The offense is so predictable, I can tell you where the ball is going before it is snapped. If I can see that you know the other teams D-coordinator is licking his chops. It is so obvios when they are running & where they are going to pass the ball.
    (Oh they still cannot tackle for sh*t) - I could fix that in one week of practices with these defensive players. These coaches are a bunch of pusses, I think they are afraid of these players because you would not come to my sideline after missing tackles like that without paying a heavy price!!

    (It's time for hell week boys)....

  18. cam,
    the players job is to make plays.... the coaches job is to put the players in position to make plays. UNLV defense is not in position to make plays. they are out schemed week in and week out.... i still want an answer on why we are in a 5 front defense. thats why the defense has given up.... they know that it doesnt matter how good they play because the coaches do not have them in the right spot

  19. Coaches? Head, Defense or otherwise. There are no football coaches at UNLV. They all flew away handing on every excuse that came out of their mouth.


  20. The team has quit playing and the fans are done.

  21. You got that right. Did you see the exodus of UNLV fans? Really sad. The team's moral is so low that it is going to be almost impossible to regain control of any future game.

    SHAME ON UNLV for prolonging the firing of Sanford. SHAME ON UNLV for hiring KolSTOOGEoskie.

  22. Therrell is the worst D-coordinator I have ever seen at any level. The rebels never adjust to anything they stay in the same crappy out of position defense from start to finish. They need to give him his severance package of a 20" Stetson, a bail of straw to chew on, favorite Eddie Rabbit cd, best of series of Dukes of Hazard, & a lifetime memebership to Skeeter's pick & pull back in the Ozarks where he came from, this guy is horrible.

    I was listening to Sanford's post game and the reason we lost is because we are so banged up and that really hurt us tonight. Fuimaono might be our leading tackler but he is as fragile as an egg shell. Once again outcoached, outplayed, outsmarted, outclassed, & the rebels are out of gas!!!

  23. dude, koloskie isn't the issue bro.....he's been at UNLV since Tark's days here....he's not the guy to make tough decisions. A previous article has you and others like you ripping Koloskie...whatever, he's just a fan/employee that really has no power....but the guy is a UNLV fan, its not just a job to him, I respect that. I'm not looking to him for any huge decisions...the first huge decision he makes, would be the first, and I don't see it happening.

  24. The rebels got smashed, now the fans are out getting smashed!!

  25. It is time for Mike Bradeson to be named Interim Head Coach. Bradeson has the most experience, longest tenure at UNLV and deserves his shot at leading the program for the remainder of the season.

    From 2000-2004 when Mike Bradeson was the Defensive Coordinator against UNR:

    2000 - UNR scored only 7 points against UNLV.
    2001 - UNR scored only 12 points against UNLV.
    2002 - UNR socred only 17 points against UNLV.
    2003 - UNR scored only 12 points against UNLV.
    2004 - UNR scored only 13 points against UNLV.

    With Mike Bradeson in charge, UNR only averaged 12 points per game against UNLV from 2000-2004.

    From 2000-2004 when Mike Bradeson was the Defensive Coordinator against BYU:

    2000 - BYU scored only 10 points against UNLV.
    2001 - BYU scored 35 points against UNLV.
    2002 - BYU scored only 3 points against UNLV.
    2003 - BYU scored 27 points against UNLV.
    2004 - BYU scored only 20 points against UNLV.

    With Mike Bradeson in charge, BYU only averaged 19 points per game against UNLV from 2000-2004.

    Give Mike Bradeson a chance. He deserves it. He has put in his time at UNLV. He will be a great interim Head Coach and lead UNLV Football to a bowl game. Make the change NOW!

  26. It was incredibly DUMB of Koloskie to side with Sanford and make the "it's about more than wins and losses" comment.

    It was also incredibly DUMB of Koloskie to pose as the fourth stooge.

    I don't want an AD who does incredibly DUMB things.

  27. WERE SCREWED!!! We have Mickey Rooney running the athletics department and our defense is coached by Ernest!!
    (Tell me Therrell doesn't sound like Ernest)...

  28. Ok when is enough going to be enough please stop us fans from the bleeding.Think of this what real d1 college football coach will want this job..mike sanford need to do what's right and step down if he really cared about unlv and what's best for the program he would do that!!

  29. sanford doea not give a crap about UNLV or the players. He cares only about the money he is making, the house he is living in, the so called status of being the coach, etc. He needs to realize that he has become the laughing stock of thousands of persons to include coaches from all over the U.S.

    Both he and KoloSTOOGEskie need to pack up and go ruin another school, that is, if they can find another job. Who is left that would like to hire these two jokers. Only UNLV.