Notebook: Hauck explains agressive decisions in final minute


AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton (2) has his face mask grabbed by Utah linebacker Boo Anderson (45) in the 4th quarter of an NCAA college football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah defeated UNLV 38-10.

UNLV vs. Utah Football

Utah runningback Eddie Wide (36) gets past UNLV defenders for a touchdown in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Launch slideshow »

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.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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  1. good for coach - love the call would rather go down swinging than roll over

  2. Stupid call. You go down swinging by testing your offense not your addled special teams.

    As a fan I want 60 minutes of football. Not 59:58 of football and 0.02 of a circus freak show.

    A run, sweep, pass or even a sneak...... anything OFFENSIVE.

    Sorry Coach but we hired a new Coach not the doppelganger of Sanford.

  3. i feel it was a horrible call. omar or one of the backs deserved to try and punch it in one last time. would have been a great confidence boost, i think coach got caught up in the moment. That was a play sanford would have ran.

  4. We can't score from the one yard line, come on! Oh, Cox has a 1.9 yards per carry for the game! Give the damn ball to someone else! He is money! Running back coach is money! See you next year!

  5. I think people are over-scrutinizing the fake kick at the end.

  6. totally Doc

  7. Doc, over-scrutinizing???? We looked terrible on that play. Where is the value of a fake field goal at the end of a 38-10 game? Your offense doesn't benefit and your placing your kicker in harms way for little to no benefit. It's insanity at it's finest.

    Kickers get little praise but ask Utah how much it mattered to them when their Punter was injured.

    If special teams are Hauck's responsibility, he's over his head.

    I don't care if it's Hauck's first season. He took the job and he's a big boy.

    I want UNLV to succeed like no other and I want them to play smart. Fundamentals not tricks.

  8. After watching my second UNLV game this year,I am very enthused with the progress in the way of discipline.Our coach cursing..ha,I have never met a great one who doesn't.
    What I don't see is a team.
    The sideline or bench has to many closed mouths and crossed arms and players trying to steal glimpses of the crowd whenever possible.
    I rather see more players on the sidelines talking crap to the opposite team,causing an emotion. This is a coaches job.
    I still believe a bowl game is ours.