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December 7, 2021

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UNLV offense and defense lag in 41-0 loss to TCU

Rebels must win final three games to be eligible for a bowl game


AP Photo/Mike Stone

TCU linebacker Kris Gardner (33) reaches for the ball fumbled by UNLV wide receiver Ryan Wolfe, center, on a punt return as center Clint Gresham (54), left, wide receiver Jimmy Young (88), safety Malcolm Williams (15), defensive end Wayne Daniels (96), cornerback Jason Teague (27) and linebacker Tank Carder (43) converge on the play in the second half Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU defeated UNLV 41-0.


TCU wide receiver Antoine Hicks (13) breaks the tackle-attempt by UNLV cornerback Alex De Giacomo on the way to a touchdown in the first half against UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, in Fort Worth, Texas. Launch slideshow »

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Next game

  • Opponent: Colorado State
  • Date: Nov. 7, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
  • TV: The Mtn. (Cox Ch. 334)
  • Radio: ESPN 1100 AM
  • All-time series:CSU leads, 4-12-1
  • The line: CSU by 1.5

In UNLV’s five previous losses this season, it was easy to place the bulk of the blame on either the offense or the defense.

TCU’s crushing 41-0 victory against the Rebels Saturday in Fort Worth was different. Both units turned in equally inept performances.

“We just didn’t do the things you need to do to win a game,” UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. “We didn’t tackle well enough, and we didn’t block well enough.”

The Rebels offense managed only seven first downs and 160 total yards of offense en route to being shut out for the first time this season.

Quarterbacks Omar Clayton and Mike Clausen combined to go 9-for-23 for 41 yards and an interception. They never got the Rebels inside of the TCU 30-yard line.

The defense, meanwhile, gave up 578 yards of offense to No. 8 TCU, including a number of big plays.

The first came near the end of the first quarter when TCU quarterback Andy Dalton threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Hicks.

Five minutes later, TCU’s Ed Wesley sprinted down the field for a 59-yard touchdown. The Horned Frogs went into the locker room with a 20-0 lead.

“I think TCU is obviously an excellent football team, and they are deserving of their rankings,” Sanford said.

At the beginning of the third quarter, Sanford said he expected his team to fight back.

But the Rebels appeared to have no fight left. Dalton, who had three touchdowns and 178 yards on 12-for-20 passing, threw for two more touchdowns before TCU coach Gary Patterson substituted in his backups.

Even the Horned Frogs’ second string had no problems moving the ball on UNLV. They scored one final touchdown with less than two minutes remaining to make their victory look even more dominating.

When UNLV got the ball back, it was content to just run the time out and accept the shutout.

“This is by far the best defense we’ve faced all season,” Sanford said. “We were obviously not productive on offense, and we’ve got to be able to score points and move the ball.”

Aside from one 40-yard rush from Clausen in the second half, the Rebels averaged less than three yards per carry. Channing Trotter had 12 yards on six yards.

UNLV’s special teams also struggled. Ryan Wolfe muffed a punt deep in UNLV territory that TCU recovered and turned into an easy touchdown.

The offensive woes forced Kyle Watson to punt a career-high 11 times.

TCU improved to 8-0 and is four wins from a possible BCS bowl game appearance.

UNLV needs to win its remaining three games just to be eligible for a bowl game. The Rebels play Colorado State and San Diego State at home and travel to Air Force.

“We competed today,” Sanford said. “We just didn’t do the things that you need to do to win football games.”

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