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July 27, 2017

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

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Instant analysis: One positive out of another UNLV loss to UNR

UNLV vs. UNR Football

UNLV fan Alex Salvo reacts to a penalty late in Saturday's game against UNR. UNR won the game 44-26 to run their win streak over UNLV to six. Launch slideshow »

KSNV Channel 3 sports UNLV-UNR

KSNV Channel 3 coverage of No. 25 UNR's 44-26 victory over UNLV on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

No. 25 UNR vs. UNLV

UNR ran its win streak against UNLV to six with a 44-26 victory on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Rebel Room

UNR POSTGAME: Make it six for the Pack

Ryan Greene, Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss everything that was UNR's sixth consecutive victory over UNLV in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon, including Chris Ault's random postgame tirade. Will things get better anytime soon for the Rebels? The guys discuss, starting with what to expect next week when the Rebels travel east to face West Virginia.

Here is one piece of good news out of the UNLV football team’s 44-26 loss Saturday to UNR.

Yes, the Rebels were defeated by the Wolf Pack for a series record sixth straight year, and yet there is still some light at the end of the tunnel for Rebel faithful.

During the break between the first and second quarters, when the game was tied at seven and 21-point betting underdog UNLV was still threatening to pull off the upset, the Rebels’ basketball team was introduced to the crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium.

It was a friendly reminder that rooting for the football team is simply an appetizer in preparation for the basketball season.

The basketball team’s 15 players stood near the UNLV sideline around the 20-yard line and were greeted by plenty of enthusiastic cheers from the home crowd. They were promoting the Oct. 15 First Look, the Rebels’ version of Midnight Madness and first official practice.

Let’s not forget that UNLV is a basketball school. It has never been, and likely will never become, a football power. We could discuss the reasons for the football shortcomings until we are blue in face, but when it is said and done, they will always play second fiddle to the basketball team.

So, if you’re feeling down about the Fremont Cannon remaining Wolf Pack blue for another season, remember this: UNLV has beat UNR in basketball four straight years and holds a 52-19 record in the all-time.

And, in Las Vegas, that’s what matters most.

But since we are still in football season, and this instant analysis is supposed to be breaking down Saturday’s game, here is a look at yet another loss to UNR.

• Rebs get their best player involved : Junior wide receiver Phillip Payne showed his big-play ability, catching eight passes for a career-best 170 yards. It was the fourth time in his career that he cleared the 100-yard receiving plateau, including last year against UNR. The preseason all-Mountain West Conference selection entered with 15 catches for 219 yards in four games — not bad considering he hasn’t been a focal point of the offense. His performance Saturday should have included a touchdown. You have to wonder why coaches didn’t call for a fade pass to the 6-foot-3 Payne more often. On two separate trips inside Reno’s 10-yard line is the second half, Payne’s number wasn’t called and the Rebels settled field goals.

• Run defense is still a work in progress — and that’s putting it nicely: UNR rushed for five touchdowns, including a long 72-yard run by Vai Taua in the third quarter. Taua rushed for 188 yards and 19 carries for three touchdowns to highlight a 379-yard rushing effort by the Wolf Pack, which averaged 7.7 yards per carry. At least the effort was better than last year when UNR rushed for 559 yards in a 63-28 win.

• UNLV fights until the end : Only the players can speak about how it feels to lose the most important game of the season — for six straight years. It has to be miserable being on the field late in the fourth quarter and glancing at the scoreboard to see a three-touchdown deficit. But give the Rebels credit. They fought until the final whistle in showing a desire that is required to accomplish great things. Even with a 1-4 record, the general consensus is first-year coach Bobby Hauck will turn the program around. His impact has already been seen. Last year, the Rebels quit late in surrendering 28 fourth-quarter points in being embarrassed.

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