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Rebels football:

Series of mistakes doom UNLV in 23-21 loss to Oregon State

Late pass interference call the capper on a sloppy night at Sam Boyd Stadium


Justin M. Bowen

UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton breaks free from Gabe Miller as the Rebels take on the Beavers of Oregon State Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. Oregon State won the game 23-21.

Oregon State vs UNLV

Despite a fourth-quarter rally, UNLV fell short at home against Oregon State 23-21.

UNLV vs. Oregon State

Malo Taumua (left) and Preston Brooks of UNLV drop after Oregon State kicked in the go-ahead field goal Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. Oregon St. won the game 23-21. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Oregon State Postgame

Ryan Greene and Rob Miech break down UNLV's last-second 23-21 defeat at the hands of Oregon State, which was similar to several games the Rebels let slip from their grasp just a year ago. The guys look at what went wrong, and whether you can expect Mike Sanford's club to still have its edge next Saturday when Hawaii comes to town ... and beyond.

Next game

  • Opponent: Hawaii
  • Date: Sept. 19, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
  • TV: The Mtn., Cox ch. 334
  • Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM

If the UNLV football team wants to prove that it truly is a different group than the 2008 club that let one fourth quarter collapse snowball into several, here's its golden opportunity.

In actuality, the 23-21 defeat the Rebels suffered at the hands of Oregon State on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium may have been more devastating than anything last year's 5-7 squad endured.

"There's no excuses," senior defensive end/linebacker Jason Beauchamp said. "We lost the game, and the sad thing is that we know how capable we were of beating that team. We know how far we've come. All I can say is they got away with one tonight, and I think they know that they got away with one.

"Not taking anything away from them, they're a good team, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit."

The Rebels actually shot themselves pretty extensively over the course of the night.

But none of the miscues, turnovers or penalties will prove to be more memorable than a pass interference call in the closing minutes against sophomore cornerback Deante' Purvis.

All night, Oregon State had done what it wanted offensively, with much of its production involving the vaunted Rodgers brothers — sophomore tailback Jacquizz and junior receiver James. The duo combined for 295 yards of offense and two touchdowns off of 45 touches.

But the UNLV defense had finally found a way to stop bending, first stuffing quarterback Sean Canfield on a fourth-and-inches sneak near midfield late in the fourth quarter. That led to the second of two touchdown drives orchestrated by Rebels sophomore backup quarterback Mike Clausen, who replaced junior Omar Clayton.

Clayton sprained his knee following a tough hit from behind earlier in the second half.

After Clausen's spectacular 10-yard fade toss to fellow sophomore Phillip Payne along the right edge of the end zone, the defensive momentum continued to build, with the Rebels holding a slim 21-20 edge.

Oregon State all of a sudden looked frazzled, and was drawing penalty flags as if yellow laundry was going out of fashion, with multiple fouls called for illegal substitutions. On top of that, Beauchamp, who sucked it up to play a good amount of snaps on a still-sore right ankle, blasted Jacquizz Rodgers for a one-yard loss and Canfield for a 10-yard sack on back-to-back plays.

That set up a third-and-26 for the Beavers from their own 15-yard line.

On a blind-side blitz, Rebels nickel back Terrence Lee drilled Canfield as he lofted a pass down the right sideline.

But on a pass that fluttered for awhile before falling to the turf — and may or may not have been catchable, depending on who you ask — interference was called against Purvis, keeping the drive alive rather than forcing Oregon State to go for it on a potential fourth-and-26 deep in its own territory.

"I just made a bad play, wasn't thinking right right there, I didn't get my head around," said Purvis, who gathered himself and faced the media afterwards. "I don't want to criticize the referees. It was just a bad play."

Five Canfield completions later against a scrambling Rebels defense, and OSU's Justin Kahut calmly nailed a 33-yard field goal with seven ticks to play, sealing the Rebels' fate in a fashion several opponents did just one year ago.

"I don't know if it makes it easier," Rebels coach Mike Sanford said when asked if 2008's string of heartbreakers makes this year's team more prepared to bounce back. "In some ways, it might even make it tougher, because we expected to win that game. And we didn't."

Added Clausen: "I don't want to say it's a re-occuring story, but it does feel like last yea. In the end, both sides kind of messed everything up, mistakes here and there, we didn't play to our full potential. I guess you can call it a moral victory if you want to call it that, but we're not really accepting of those right now, because we know we're better than we played tonight."

Avoiding things such as pass interference calls won't be all the Rebels need to correct in preparation for the visiting Warriors, who trounced Washington State earlier in the day up in Pullman, 38-20.

That one incident simply stood out like a sore thumb.

It cast a shadow over a Rodelin Anthony first-half fumble on an attempted hurdle over a trio of Beavers defenders, squelching a promising drive.

It covered up an uncharacteristic Omar Clayton interception in the first quarter.

It also put a temporary glaze over a poorly-executed fourth-and-one run, four penalties totaling 41 yards and, well, several other small things.

"We should have had at least two touchdowns in the first half," said Sanford, whose team trailed 6-0 following a sloppy first half. "Or at least a field goal and a touchdown, or whatever. I don't point to (the interference call). I think in general, we've just got to make plays at the right time and we cannot make mistakes.

"I think turnovers were a key. We have been a team that doesn't turn the ball over. We had some opportunities to get turnovers, and we didn't."

Of course, while the defeat visibly affected the Rebels afterwards, with several players exiting the locker rooms and heading to the team buses with traces of tears still on their faces, there's a reality for the team to face on Sunday.

There are still 10 games to go, and a 1-1 record isn't the end of the world at this point.

But if this one lingers longer than it should, Sanford and his staff have already seen what that snowball effect can produce.

"I'm expecting to watch the tape, get over our mistakes, look over our mistakes, and put this one away and get ready for Hawaii," senior defensive end Malo Taumua said. "If there's a guy hanging his head tomorrow or doubting themselves, I'm gonna say that's just one, lets put it away and get ready for next week."

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  1. Thought the Rebels played well and showed alot heart. Clauson was huge. Despite the two turnovers they gave themselves a chance to win, and probably should of won. Should could of...Those Rodgers kids are tough, and over all UNLV did a decent job containing them. I can see why they gave USC such havic. Not really happy about the PI call. Wasn't at the game, didn't look very catchable on TV. Next game is a must win, or else they will fall in tail spin, and would be the same old Rebels. It would be a shame, this team has talent. I would like to see Stanford succeed, program has much better talent. I don't see a lot of differnce between Pac 10 and MWC quality of player.

  2. The Rebels played GREAT and looked sharp! The routes were crisp and precise. They picked apart OSU's backfield with sharp timing routes all night. This article makes it sound like this game is some sort of disappointment, IT WAS NOT!!!

    That pass interference call was TERRIBLE. The pass was uncatchable and short and the receiver initiated the contact with a late effort to come back to the ball. That would still be a PI if the pass were catchable, but again, it wasn't. Worst call I've seen in a long time. The db has nothing to be ashamed of.

    This reaction by Sanford and the players to not blame the official is classy and important. I hope they bounce back and the Rebels showed a LOT of promise. OSU is a really good team that won the Sun Bowl last year and had a good team from a conference that went 5-0 in bowls last year.

    Go Rebels! Don't listen to the media. You all played great in every fact of the game and have a very bright year ahead of you!!!

  3. Oregon State is who we thought they were! They're who we thought they were! And, we let em off the hook! Their shirts are ugly too.

    That aside, I'm proud of my team. If this program was a consistent winner, I'd be all over them for a horrible loss that didn't have to be this way. But, as we try to climb out of the Mountain West basement, I appreciate the overall performance. I realize that I'm setting the bar low but I think it takes games like this to build upon. Hopefully we are finally going in the right direction. Let's GO REBELS!

  4. Good game guys. I was very surprised how good your team was - and us Beavers are indeed feeling lucky to get out of there with a win. I won't go so far to say we think we got out played, but it was a good game... Our defense is much weaker than we were hoping....

  5. PS - that fourth down spot your ref's gave us was complete BS and you all know it... :o)

  6. Enjoy your PAC-10 bailout call Ausie

  7. Ausie95, it was a great battle of a game. I'm gonna say though, my seat was exactly lined up even with the line of scrimmage on that 4th down play. Your QB got stuffed initially and then it was a dogpile. As far as I could tell he actually did not get the first down that you're claiming, but then bodies buried him and it was hard to see anything after that. So who knows, but the initial stop was there.

    I will also say (since we're on the subject) no BS call was more damaging than that bailout PI they gave OSU late in the 4th. :) There were other reasons why UNLV blew it, but on THAT play the QB gets hit resulting in a "duck" that is 17 yards underthrown, landing in the middle of nowhere on what otherwise was supposed to be a fly pattern by OSU's receiver. So much for "catchable." Had the OSU receiver been wide open there was still no way he could stop and run all the way back to catch something that landed in the middle of nowhere like that. Oh well, refs are human... but very suspect call with about as drastic results as you can have.

    All in all UNLV had their opportunities and didn't take advantage. It was a fun night. I thought the OSU fans were great, and hopefully we meet again in the LV Bowl for a rematch. I think UNLV feels this was a game they should've won and will bounce back next week with a strong game against Hawaii.

  8. Aussie,

    That pass interference call was the worst I have ever seen in my life. We outplayed your precious Pac 10 team. Enjoy your gift.

  9. Ryan ,Hoped you two <you and Rob> get a bit more reportive then surface coverage be investigative you 2 are going with the popular crap. D.PURVIS wieghing his ability to what he brings,to the game learning how to tackle he needs to do Until then he needs to grab some pine.Clausen is and has been the better Q.B.
    (the nut) The drives by OSU. all occured when #9 and #5 for the REBELS were @ safety.The sport labeled"team" is always show casing the stars, however without the supporting cast a star is either made or never to shine.Every drive is direct to the lack of support by #5 &#9, cannot engage ,fear of collision.Watch the Film.
    PLEASE someone watch.(#9) should of got 15 for a poor and illegal tackle on sideline. '
    Comparing last year team to this year .Is retarded. These are two different teams with the same COACHES.Ever since excel spread sheet was developed for stats. reporting and facts suck, and alot of the time thier is no correlation, stats are for the fans,when refrenced to traveling betweenyears,record on the road etc..
    Coaches need to step away from thier structured ways and start coaching.
    The goalline defense by UNLV. was TERRIBLE.Mentioned that they worked on it once in ELY,was that the last time?
    R E B E L S On THE R I S E
    Hawaii 10 to 28 U.N.L.V

  10. At least their ugly shirts matched. Why can't we get that kind of coordination?

    ...Oh that's right, we're way too drunk for that.

  11. Our sportswriters are so down on UNLV all the time. I know why, we've been so bad for so long but go read how glowing and nonsensically sycophantic the Oregon sportswriters are at the www.oregonian.com website.

    It would be nice if the coverage pointed out more of the things the Rebels did right last night because there were a lot of positives!

  12. Moni.....What game were you watching. The first half when OS was scoreless is when #9 and #5 were in the game. They were in again in the 3rd qtr, first series and out the remainder of the game. HELLO....You should watch the film.

  13. cjones not true and by the last name YOU MUST BE a relative... he should go back to QB,I thought he is better then Clayton his lst year at HS,
    any way not not true , I am not lying ,just pointing out a big ? of why? The rotation.. began in the first quarter,jones..
    Last year the desire was for strength in secondary at safety they recruited it ,they got it. Now don't utilize it...Grant would of tackeled without 2 Personal penalties..and is effective at returns. cjones look at the stats for the defense.

  14. This week reminded me a lot of last weeks game with the adjustment to our run defense coming far too late. The bad thing is when we blew wide open tackles on their "half" back. Some of the offensive play calling made me scratch my head, but all in all, it was a good game. The defense does need to learn how to close out a game, we would have been bowl eligible last year if we closed a few of those games that were lost on the last drives.

  15. Firemen for OREGON. Go OSU! A win is a win!

  16. Our sport's writers tell it like it is. UNLV can't tackle for beans. Two guys to keep your eyes on this week against Hawaii, #29 Deante Purvis and #9 Travis Dixon. Both were benched in the 3rd quarter because of their pooring tackling performance and to mention the two facemask penaties against Purvis. Coach puts him back in the 4th quarter only to cause a senseless pass interference penalty which cost the Rebels the game. Travis Dixon thinks he's Superman by flying through the air tackling while the runners blow past his outreached arms. Give me a break. Hawaii is fast. Very fast! UNLV won't know what them this week.

  17. Purvis is 26.

    Hawaii may be fast but they are nowhere near as fast as Oregon State. It will be another close game. I just hope we can have the mental strength to win this one.

  18. @DRDU

    J. Rogers from OSU is widely considered one of the fasted players in the country. Purvis caught him from behind and brought him down during his 47 yard run in the second half. Otherwise Rogers scores on that play. See film. This is just one example of why I don't think UNLV will be intimidated by Hawaii's "speed".

    I agree Travis Dixon, Chris Jones and Purvis missed several key tackles. However, Dixon has since been replaced by Marquel Martin on the depth chart. I expected the same for Jones with his poor performance as well as De Giacomo having obvious starter qualities. As for Purvis, the penalties were crucial mistakes (but rookie ones) that Sanford justifiably feels can be cleaned up. Not to mention, speed rules....as evidenced against the Rogers brothers. So I don't see a change there even with Grant nipping at his heels.

  19. I remember Purvis catching Rodgers from behind. He does have some speed, but his ability to wrap up is lacking. Grant knows how to lower the boom. He had some great hits on Saturday night and I know he will do the same throughout the season.

    I think Purvis will firgure it out, and the only way he does so is by playing, but not to the detriment to the team. He should have a lot of reps this weekend with a passing team like Hawaii. We will be in nickle situations for a lot of the game.

  20. I think he will figure it out as well but I would have preferred the steady hand of Grant in that last drive, although I'm being a Monday morning quarterback.

  21. The ORE ST game is over UNLV fans....time to move on and look forward to Hawaii game.
    The D-Line for UNLV better have more gap penetration on Hawaii to win this game. UNLV lacked penetration to the quarter back on the defense which allowed the ORE ST team to control the game. And, UNLV better hope to play better on D as Hawaii's O-LINE is big!