Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009 | 2:03 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Rob Miech dissect UNLV's fourth consecutive loss, this time a 35-15 defeat at the hands of Utah. The guys look at why the defense wasn't to blame for this one, and what's on the horizon for two programs apparently headed in different directions for the rest of the 2009 season.
- Opponent: New Mexico
- Date: Oct. 24, 5 p.m.
- Where: Albuquerque, N.M.
- TV: The Mtn. (Cox ch. 334)
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
Cain, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior from Houston in his first season of Division-I football, threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and none of his 24 passes were picked off by Rebels defenders.
Wide, a 5-10, 195-pound junior out of Cimarron-Memorial High in Las Vegas, became the seventh player to run for triple figures in yardage against UNLV.
He had 111 yards on 17 carries, and his 37-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for the 24th-ranked Utes and finished the game’s scoring.
“It was just a little trick play,” Wide said of the score that polished off the Rebels. “The O-line and the receivers did their jobs blocking, and we sprung free.”
Utah (5-1, 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference) is 13-2 all-time against UNLV (2-5, 0-3) and fell just shy of the 40 points it has averaged against the Rebels in the series.
“You never want to underestimate a team by how it played in previous weeks,” Wide said. “We kept our normal routine … We just came out to play our game. We don’t stray to any other situations.”
Wide ran for triple digits in yardage for the third consecutive game, but he lost his only fumble to UNLV. Four other Utes lost the ball, and the Rebels recovered one of those.
“I could have done a lot better,” he said. “UNLV did a great job coming out ready to play. We just have to come back and work on our mistakes.”
The Utes capitalized on a big UNLV error when super free safety Robert Johnson, a senior from Los Angeles, picked up defensive tackle Christian Cox’s interception fumble and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.
That happened with 71 seconds remaining in the first half and sent UNLV into the locker room with a 28-6 deficit.
“I had to do what I had to do,” Johnson said.
Cain said Johnson is a great player and he didn’t know where the Utes would be without him, but all three are equally important to Utah’s future.
For a team that has struggled on the road, beating UNLV might have given Utah a boost heading into the final weeks of the season.
The Utes didn’t overwhelm in a 24-14 win at San Jose State, lost at Oregon (31-24) and squeaked out a 24-17 victory at Colorado State.
“It helped us out a little bit,” Wide said dryly when asked about those road woes and how the game at UNLV came at the right time.
“We didn’t call it troubles,” Cain said. “I mean, we just have to play a complete game, and we still have to get that down.”
Utah gets Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico at home in Rice-Eccles Stadium the next three weekends, and the Utes play San Diego State on their own field on Nov. 14.
The Utes have won their past 13 games at home.
Honing their road game will be critical because of what’s left on the highway – games at TCU (Nov.14) and at BYU (Nov. 28).
After Saturday’s games, the Utes, Horned Frogs (6-0, 2-0) and Cougars (6-1, 3-0) are the only undefeated teams in the Mountain West.
Last season, Utah beat TCU (13-10) and BYU (48-24) at Rice-Eccles.
“I’m not going to worry about that right now,” Cain said of Utah comparing to TCU and BYU. “We’re just going to worry about Air Force, our next game. That’s all we’re worried about right now.”