Notebook: Payne breaks out in losing effort

Junior receiver catches eight passes for career-high 170 yards

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.

Phillip Payne hadn't been necessarily invisible in 2010 entering the Rebels' fifth game on Saturday night against No. 25 Nevada-Reno.

But for the first time as a junior, the preseason All-Mountain West receiver was a force to be reckoned with.

In UNLV's 44-26 loss at Sam Boyd Stadium to rival UNR, Payne had a season-high eight catches and a career-high 170 yards.

It was the second year in a row in which Payne went over 100 yards receiving against the Wolf Pack.

"Just watching the film, I knew how they'd play me," Payne said of the generous one-on-one coverage he saw for much of the night.

Payne leads the Rebels this season in both receptions (23) and receiving yards (389), but opportunities to make big plays in Bobby Hauck's balanced offense compared to the shotgun spread of the past haven't been too plentiful.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that the Rebels have had a tough time setting up the passing game with the run, and when running pass plays, UNLV quarterbacks haven't consistently had time to sit and wait for routes to develop.

In his first two seasons, Payne caught 14 touchdowns in 20 games, as he branched out gradually after starting as simply a red zone specialist.

In multiple trips into the red zone in the second half, UNLV only ran one play for Payne, as he drew a pass interference flag while running his signature fade route to the corner.

Still, more numbers figure to come to Payne in the coming weeks, as he and senior quarterback Omar Clayton again appear to be clicking much like they did in 2008 and 2009.

Only one stat, though, will keep Payne happy.

"The game plan was to win by any means necessary, but we didn't follow through," he said. "In the New Mexico game (last weekend, when Payne only caught four passes for 39 yards), I had no problem being a second receiver to Michael Johnson, because we came out with a win."

Chandler stays hot

UNLV junior cornerback Will Chandler continues to make the new coaching staff look good for giving him an opportunity atop the depth chart.

Picking off a second quarter pass, Chandler recorded his sixth takeaway of the season.

It was his fourth interception, which ties him with Texas Tech's Jarvis Phillips, Virginia Tech's Jayron Hosley, Oregon's Chris Harris and Alabama's Robert Lester for the most picks in the nation this season.

Statistical Odyssey

Some more numbers of note from UNLV's loss on Saturday night...

• After the two teams split the time of possession right down the middle in the game's first 30 minutes, UNR dominated the second half by holding the ball for 17:36.

• After totaling only 80 yards on 33 carries as a team (2.4 yards per carry), the Rebels now rank 98th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs in rushing offense.

• In his bid to become a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, UNR senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick was solid all-around, rushing for 97 yards and a score on 13 carries, while completing 13 of 17 pass attempts for 124 yards, one TD and one interception.

• UNLV senior quarterback Omar Clayton was 14-of-23 through the air for 214 yards, one touchdown and his first interception of the year in five games played. He also ran for a team-high 48 yards and another score.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy