Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009 | 2:30 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer, back safely from Wyoming, discuss what went wrong for the Rebels in a 30-27 loss to Wyoming, then take a look at how it translates forward for Mike Sanford's 2-2 club. Plus, Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal chimes in to offer some insight on UNR, who UNLV faces up in Reno this weekend in a must-win for both sides.
- Opponent: UNR
- Date: Oct. 3, 1 p.m. Vegas time
- Where: Reno
- TV: None
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
- Line: UNR by 3.5
What others are saying
Read what other writers are saying about UNLV's upcoming game against UNR:
- Reno Gazette-Journal: Groth 'not thinking' about Ault's job status
- Nevada Sagebrush: Wolf Pack seniors look to stay undefeated
- Nevada Sagebrush: Ault’s everlasting bond with UNLV
- Nevada Sagebrush: Police promise extra game security
- San Jose Mercury News: Nevada likely without starting RB Taua vs. UNLV
- Reno Gazette-Journal: Wolf Pack Football: The Sunday Review
- Reno Gazette-Journal: Nevada stuck in neutral with third loss
- Nevada Sagebrush: Records don’t matter: Rivarly week is here
- Nevada Sagebrush: UNR-Nevada Southern rivalry has legacy of hijinks
Being relied upon is nothing new for Ryan Wolfe.
The UNLV senior receiver is now both the program's all-time leading pass catcher and the leading active receiver in the entire country. He's the guy who Rebels quarterbacks can turn to on sticky third-down situations, time and time again, and know that he'll make something happen.
Now, he's been selected this week along with junior linebacker Starr Fuimaono to be the 'voice of the team' as part of coach Mike Sanford's attempt to narrow his squad's focus with a must-have game coming up Saturday at UNR.
In front of the media, they're the ones speaking for the 2-2 Rebels who now must atone for a disappointing 30-27 loss at Wyoming last weekend.
"If the head guy says that I'm the man, then I've gotta be the man," said Wolfe, who leads the team in both receptions (31) and receiving yards (384) this season. "With more limited distractions this week, me and Starr are mature enough to be able to handle that. We'll handle the burden and let the rest of the guys get after it."
Judging by both the current four-game skid against the Rebels' rivals up north and the game tape from last week in Laramie, there's plenty for them to get after.
That's especially true for seniors like Wolfe, who both see the 2009 season as not only their last chance to reach postseason play, but also to claim the Fremont Cannon.
"Every time they wheel the Cannon out in blue," Wolfe said of his most vivid memory of the rivalry. "It's a pretty intense atmosphere there, because their hostility and intensity is aimed at us. The confinement of everything. It's just gonna be us, 50-something players, however many coaches, however many fans make the trip, it's us against the world when we go up there."
The Rebels are fortunate in sort of a twisted sense heading into this week's contest, as they've already had to bounce back from a brutally tough loss this season, coming off of a 23-21 last-second loss to Oregon State to down Hawaii the following week, 34-33.
Plus, even though UNLV's coaches and players claim they're strictly focused on this week's game, it's tough to ignore the gorilla in the middle of the schedule, which has them playing BYU and Utah at Sam Boyd Stadium on back-to-back Saturdays immediately after.
Still, they claim the Wolf Pack is all that's on their minds.
"I think with the intensity of this game, this rivalry, it forces you to shift your attention somewhere else," Wolfe said. "And that works to our advantage."
Who'll start at QB? It's up in the air
Junior quarterback Omar Clayton, who is 85-of-129 for 983 yards, with six TDs and five interceptions this season, was held out of Tuesday's practice with a sore right throwing shoulder.
UNLV coach Mike Sanford said nothing is structurally wrong with the shoulder, and that was confirmed with additional X-rays early this week. He said that Clayton was held out of practice strictly because of soreness from the injury which was sustained during a second-half touchdown drive on Saturday.
"I'd say I'm even more optimistic today than I was yesterday," Sanford said of Clayton's status. "There was a chance there was something broken in there.
"He'll practice (Wednesday). He'll practice Thursday. I would say it would be a game-time decision on him."
If he can't go, the reins would be given to sophomore Mike Clausen, who has appeared in all four games and is 10-of-14 for 95 yards and two scores.
Other injury notes
Senior safety Marquel Martin, who did not make the trip to Laramie, is good to go after recovering from a concussion suffered against Hawaii. He has eight tackles and one for loss in three games.
As for junior defensive end Daniel Mareko, who is sporting a cast on his right arm which goes up to the shoulder, he has a broken forearm and will be out until late October at the earliest.
It's still a day-to-day situation with senior receiver Rodelin Anthony, who also suffered a concussion against the Warriors.
His 6-foot-5 frame was sorely missed in the red zone last weekend, as he is tied for the team lead with three touchdown catches in three games played.
Some minds are elsewhere
An earthquake which rocked American Samoa earlier in the day on Tuesday had a couple of Rebels concerned.
Mareko and junior defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui both hail from Pago Pago and were unable to reach family members in the wake of the disaster as of Tuesday evening.
The powerful quake spawned tsunami waves, killing at least 82 people and leaving several missing.