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unlv football:

Rebels slam door on Hornets with huge second half, 38-3

Defense, offense feed off one another as UNLV gets tune-up for Oregon State


Justin M. Bowen

UNLV running back Channing Trotter celebrates after scoring his third touchdown as the Rebels took on Sacramento State on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels won easily 38-3.

Sacramento State vs UNLV

UNLV wins its season-opener 38-3 over Sacramento State Saturday night, thanks to Channing Trotter's three touchdowns.

UNLV vs. Sacramento State

UNLV cheerleaders and players sing the UNLV fight song after defeating Sacramento State 38-3 Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Sacramento State Postgame

Ryan Greene and Rob Miech break down UNLV's season-opening 38-3 victory over Sacramento State, paced by a solid defensive showing and three Channing Trotter rushing touchdowns. Plus, the guys take a look at what the win against the Hornets does for the Rebels as they prepare to welcome Oregon State to Sam Boyd Stadium next Saturday night.

Next game

  • Opponent: Oregon State
  • Date: Sept. 12, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
  • TV: CBS College Sports
  • Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM

Everything looked friendly as UNLV and Sacramento State met at midfield for a massive group handshake session before Saturday night's contest at Sam Boyd Stadium.

But despite the gesture, the Rebels had one goal in mind, and they needed to be reminded of that at halftime while leading Sacramento State just 10-3 following a sluggish second quarter.

"It really took some digging deep down inside, going back to the times in Ely and the hard times in the summer," junior linebacker Ronnie Paulo said. "That we came here to serve a purpose, and that purpose was to ram it down their throat."

Stuff it way down is what UNLV did during a rampage of a second half, starting the 2009 season with a 38-3 victory.

"I think one of the things we want to develop is a killer instinct," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "When we have somebody down, we've got to put the throttle on them and put them away, which I felt like we didn't do in the second quarter, but in the second half, we did. That's a real positive thing."

The second half performance against an overmatched FCS foe may have been enough to convert at least a few halftime skeptics into postgame believers.

The snowball effect began after junior Starr Fuimaono — in his first game back since suffering a torn ACL in last season's second week at Utah — sacked Hornets quarterback Jason Smith to stymie Sacramento State's second possession of the third quarter.

UNLV responded with a nine-play, 59-yard drive. It was capped with the second of three one-yard Channing Trotter touchdown runs.

The Hornets then went three-and-out, and Trotter's third score came just minutes later on the Rebels' next turn with the ball.

Sprinkle in a Malo Taumua interception and a 55-yard touchdown strike from Omar Clayton to Rodelin Anthony, and the blowout was in full effect with plenty of game clock to spare.

"It was definitely a big emphasis," Clayton said of the need to pull away convincingly after halftime. "Because 10-3 is still a one-possession game. All it takes is one big play and something as simple as a corner slipping, then it's a touchdown and a tie game.

"It's always great to win games, of course, but anytime you can score a lot of points and get the (backups) in, it's always great. Those guys put in just as much work as we do."

Clayton was one of many who deserved to watch the closing minutes from the sidelines. He was 13-of-17 on the night, throwing for 213 yards and one score with no turnovers.

On top of his three scores, Trotter made his first career start at tailback count, racking up 102 yards on 16 carries, while Ryan Wolfe led all receivers with five catches for 67 yards.

With the exception of two 15-yard penalties on sophomore wideout Phillip Payne — on the same second quarter drive — the Rebels played a relatively mistake-free brand of ball, committing no turnovers and drawing no more yellow laundry from the refs.

However, the room for error will be even tighter next Saturday night, as UNLV welcomes Oregon State to town for an 8 p.m. meeting. The penalties will have to stay at a minimum and the scoreless stretches cannot be nearly as long.

The Beavers, who went 9-4 in 2008 and took care of Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl, 3-0, dispatched Portland State with ease earlier in the day to start its season in Corvallis, 34-7.

"Definitely have to step it up," Clayton said. "Those mistakes we made aren't going to be possible. We can't win games if we do those things, especially having lags in the second quarter like we did. I don't think there was anything that happened tonight that isn't fixable, and I think we recognized the things we need to fix and will be able to do that."

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  1. Now go beat Orgeon State, and give our conference some respect.

  2. Sac State? Honestly...keep the hubris in check

  3. Cal State Sacramento has a football team? Who knew?

  4. Good win. Starr is a difference maker...

  5. Overall UNLV played a great game and there are a lot of positives to take from this game. For any of you who thinks that the Rebels do not have a legitimate shot of beating OSU next week, you have absolutley no football IQ at all and do not understand X's & O's. You might say big deal, they beat Sac. St. by 35 so what, well OSU beat Portland St. by 27 where is the hate for them beating a weaker cupcake then Sac. St.? UNLV could easily win next week and it will not be a fluke if they do, if they lose it will not be by much I will call my shot now.

  6. Now that the cupcake part of the schedule is behind us, we can look forward to a real test next weekend and beyond. UNLV always seems to schedule a weak opponent just to get all the fans hyped up because they won big over some no-name school. It's only a matter of time before everyone shows pity to the Rebels ... the Little Engine That Couldn't.

  7. @BetOnBlack

    OSU will play USC, UCLA, Cal, Oregon etc. UNLV is probably still trying to get Texas Pan America to field a football team. It will not be a fluke if they beat OSU next week. Nor will it be a fluke when they end another 3 win season with a loss to San Diego State.

  8. Oregon State will be tough to win

    They aren't a Sacramento State

  9. Who cares!!! Reno played Notre Dame!!!!!! Even though UNR got their rear ends kicked, they played Notre Dame!!!!!! When will UNLV play Notre Dame????

  10. "...and that purpose was to ram it down their throat."


  11. @test12

    Definitely don't remember the last three win season. Probably has been a decade since UNLV went THREE and something. Last year was a five win season...

  12. I can't believe how many haters there are. No wait and see approach or 'I'm skeptical but I hope they turn the corner'....Not even any research or thought behind comments, just blind hate. WTF?

  13. Would love to see UNLV & UNR go far, but they won't be in a good bowl game since their conference is not BCS worthy.

  14. The wolfpack (UNR) was destroyed by Notre Dame this week-end. 35 to 0.

    Funny stuff - the radio station was blasting trash talk about the game - calling the Norte Dame mascot feminine, etc. Then the pack was slaughtered...

  15. @ Vegasvampire-- When will UNLV play Notre Dame?

    Who cares?

    Notre Dame hasn't been Notre Dame in quite some time. They have yet to live up to the hype they have garnered this pre-season. Well they did embarrass UNR. But I submit that UNR embarrassed themselves!

    That no show of a game makes me hate UNR that much more. Definitely does us no favors when we neuter the wolfpack, GO Rebels!

  16. I guarantee you all of the trash talkers on this board couldn't catch a shovel pass for 1 yard or take a hit from a 4th string defender on the Rebel defense. I know none of you has ever played organized sports, you are the equivelant to softball guy or pick up basketball guy at the local YMCA, you're a buch of short fat, Theragesic wearing, white boys who think you know everyting about sports but you are as soft as limp (you know what). I am a USC fan 1st, coming from SoCal but I will support the Rebels as long as I live in Vegas since it is the only game in town and I want to see the program succeed. Usually other failures in life want everything else around them to fail as well so they don't feel so bad about their miserable lives!!

  17. My take on the game was more a look at what was going on off the ball. Rebels appeared to be at times confussed on special team alignment's.Also man coverage.
    My concern with Oregon will be especially ,our secondary and who will get bizee in the box.I saw a group of safeties that almost ran from a collision and another group (that perhaps because of the depth placement were overplaying)Trotter was excellent. His avg.Was ok .
    The game isn't about our D holding, more like Our offense scoring.

  18. I want to see our D Ends get off the ball harder. I want to see our players at safety bring the big hits. I want to see our speed guys use their speed, and play with heart. I want to see our big recruit Bradley Randle take a screen for a homerun like i saw in his highlight tape
    I see Mike Grant with a key interception for our win against OSU. The DB's will be the key to our success against the run. Our D Line gets great penetration and RBs may have success running past them as a result of too much great penetration in the backfield. I love our LBs and our Blitz'n packages will be the game changer. Clayton is Amazing along with our secret weapons use of the Tight Ends this year. Our WR have great hands. I worry about speed on offense. I want to see that homerun threat like Percy Harvin was for the Gators. RB Bradley Randle looks like he can be that speed guy for Offense that can add to a dynamic spread that can Beat every team we play. I only worry about TCU because It seems as though they have that mean man tenacity. Again, if there is a Safety that steps up to look like the second coming of Ronnie Lott, we can beat em all. If Starr was moved to Safety then we could reverse his number to 42 and look for the best season possible. After all we have Ryan Wolfe.

  19. UNLVbcs,I also have heard great things of Randle, can't wait for him to be unleashed.
    Saftey,don't you know we got that Big hitter they just got to put him in him in long enough to get those hits.He could play Outside LB easily.
    In fact we have two safeties that can do it, they just need to ,I quess polish the apple and get it to the Coach ,faster?

  20. Who is that safety you are speaking of?
    As for Randle, I have never in my life seen a combo of Speed, Power, Hands, Blocking and the most vicious stiff arm. I love watching top RBs on youtube and Randle was even more impressive than Bryce Brown to me who went to Tennessee. I could not believe we got Randle at UNLV. Now i would love to see what he's got live. Maybe against OSU. Quizz vs Randle.

    I really like how mean Mafi plays. Put him at saftey LOL.

  21. My reference to the saftey position is #22 De Giacomo,ELCO,transfer "Hardest Hitter Award " Last Year.From the hype and he is all we need in a strong saftey. The Ely reports showed him as one of the best hitters at camp.Now #13 Martin he will be in or near every play, first 2 steps are real quick.Just don't know why he isn't starting.
    Also these 2 players are NOT QB's converted to play safetey,as the two who are infront of them. You can take the player out of the QB, but you can't take the QB out of the player.think about it.

  22. Martin & De Giacomo are the hardest hitting DB's on the Rebels. I still am not sold on Dixon & Jones, I don't think they are the best 2 we have at that position. I would like to see Grant start over Pointer from here on out he is way better in coverage, what is Sanford thinking? Pointer gets beat way too often for big plays & he drops int's that are right in his hands all us fans have already seen his act. I don't want to hear about his elbow injury anymore, what does that have to do with his hands? I promise you Pointer is going to cost us a game or two this year because he cannot cover good receivers. That is when we will see Grant start full time.

    My take on Randle is outside his one 90 yd. TD run he had in Ely he did absolutely nothing in camp. He was getting stopped behind the line for negative yards way too often. Is he a great talent, YES, will he take time to flourish, YES, will he eventually play, YES, we just don't know when. Besides Trotter earned the job, give him the ball 20-25x a game and he could be real scary with his speed & power. He is going to be the surprise on the offense this year, I say at least 1200 yds., I'm calling my shot now.

  23. hey this is good stuff, i was unaware you could leave comments at LVSun online.

    I think Trotter can go for over a grand this year too.

    Randle scored 3 times against 1st team D yesterday. They had him run Rogers plays and he was able use his intinctual running style. It seems like if he is allowed to be free magic happens.
    Randle on Screens and Shuv passes can be deadly.

    @betonblack Randle did well at camp. That 90 yard run was just the only one in the paper because of how he out ran the defense.

    Wait til you see Mike Grant at corner. Fearless! That's all i have to say.

  24. I hope Sanford puts Randle in the game this weekend there are many ways we can use his abilities and still use Trotter the whole game. If we can get Randle matched up one on one against a LB he could take one to the house.

  25. On 9/8 Moni mentions secret weapons use of Tight Ends. I thought that new kid from California #41 did an outstanding job of blocking with only 2 weeks in camp. Time to check out his hands and speed by throwing to him.

  26. I have a feeling we will absolutley smash OSU and make a big statement. I like OSU except for when they are playing our Rebels. Quizz is actually my favorite running back. I always root for the underdog and he is that. We however are the underdog in this case.

    On National TV Rebels will keep running yard low and play with great heart.

    Randle is wearing Quizz's #1 jersey in practice and ran 4TDs one practice and did even better yesterday but only scored 2 times on the 1st team D. Our Defense stuffed the screen play which is great that they recognized it so well.

    I think we should hope to see Randle as well. He is a monster at practice these days and moreover the Beavers do not have any film on Randle. He can be a secret weapon like the tight end. Yes to TE/LB 41 Jordan Barrett. Another Beast for the Rebels.

  27. What is Sanford thinking? Why not the best to play?