AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 | 8:30 p.m.
SALT LAKE CITY — UNLV’s final possession at the end of the game had Utah fans booing and UNLV fans puzzled.
With less than a minute remaining and the Rebels trailing 38-10, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck appeared determined to score another touchdown. He ran a hurry-up offense and sprinted onto the field to use the Rebels two remaining timeouts.
With two seconds remaining and the ball on the one-yard line, Hauck called for a fake field goal. The holder flipped the ball to freshman kicker Nolan Kohorst, who was blasted in the backfield by a host Utah defenders.
“Why not try something,” Hauck said after the game. “Nothing else was working.”
With 37 seconds left and the ball at the 28-yard line, senior quarterback Omar Clayton completed a 23-yard pass to junior tight end Anthony Vidal and Hauck called timeout.
Clayton proceeded to throw incomplete passes the next two plays, before scrambling to the one-yard line with two seconds to play when Hauck took the final timeout.
Hauck said the aggressive play calling when the game was out of reach was a message to his team.
“We sign up to play for 60 minutes, so we’re going to play for 60 minutes,” Hauck said. “We weren’t in position to take a knee. If we were in the position to take a knee, we would have taken a knee.”
Clayton takes control of quarterback job
Hauck did not announce his starting quarterback before the game, but ended up going with senior Omar Clayton.
It was probably the right choice, as Clayton moved the offense efficiently at times. He went 18-for-37 for 217 yards through the air and picked up 39 rushing yards.
That’s superior to junior Mike Clausen’s starting performance against Wisconsin. Clausen went 4-for-10 for 23 yards and a touchdown in the first game.
Clayton said he had no feel for whether he would keep the job.
“I’m not really worried about that,” Clayton said. “I think that’s coach Hauck and coach Phenicie’s job. My job is to play. My job is to practice and play football and lead this team. That’s what I’m going to do whether I’m starting or not.”
UNLV contingent sparse
Utah claims Rice-Eccles Stadium has the best home field advantage in the Mountain West Conference.
It would be hard to argue against that Saturday. The stadium, which hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, was packed with 45,102 fans and was loud throughout the game.
With nearly everyone wearing red, it was hard to determine how many Rebels fans made the trip. But it appeared that there weren’t many, a section at the most.
The spread report
The series of events at the end of the game had one group of people on the edge of their seats — Las Vegas sports bettors.
UNLV went off most boards in town as a 22-point underdog. If the Rebels had scored a touchdown, they would have covered the spread.
UNLV covered as a 20.5-point underdog last week against Wisconsin, so it is now 1-1 against the spread this season.