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One good half not enough as UNLV falls to No. 5 Boise State, 48-21

Rebels hang with college football’s finest for 30 minutes, but Heisman hopeful Kellen Moore too much to handle


Sam Morris

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring is sacked by Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Boise State tops UNLV

KSNV coverage of UNLV's game effort against No. 5 Boise State, Nov. 5, 2011.

UNLV vs. Boise State

UNLV wide receivers Michael Johnson, right, and Phillip Payne celebrate Johnson's touchdown against Boise State during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

To defeat the machine that is fifth-ranked Boise State — one that is tough to throw off in all facets of the game — it would take the perfect performance from UNLV.

The Rebels played one of their best halves of the season in the first 30 minutes Saturday night against the beastly Broncos at Sam Boyd Stadium.

But the 48-21 final score was a stiff reminder that 30 strong minutes isn't nearly enough.

"It was a pretty good football game," UNLV second-year coach Bobby Hauck said calmly afterwards. "I was obviously more pleased with the first half than the second half. I thought our guys played pretty hard, pretty physical."

Clearly, local oddsmakers didn't figure the struggling Rebels (2-6 overall, 1-2 Mountain West) to be either tough or physical enough when they installed the hosts as a six-touchdown underdog heading in. Anyone who backed the visitors with their money was likely tearing up a ticket at halftime.

UNLV forced Boise State (8-0, 3-0) to go three-and-out on two of its first three offensive possessions, with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore to Gabe Linehan sandwiched in between.

The Rebels' defense held the Broncos — who entered ranking a respectable 38th in the FBS in rushing offense — to only 19 yards on the ground before halftime. Meanwhile, Caleb Herring put together two impressive scoring drives, capping one with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Michael Johnson.

UNLV out-gained Boise State in terms of total offense in the first half, 198-161, and trailed by only seven at 21-14.

But the second half offered a clearer look into the gap between the most powerful mid-major program in the nation and one that is still trying to establish an identity.

With star running back Doug Martin out with a leg injury, fellow senior D.J. Harper stepped in to rush for 109 yards off of 13 carries for Boise State, including a 36-yard dagger of a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Oh, and Moore was pretty good, too.

The senior set an NCAA record with his 46th career win, throwing for 219 yards and five touchdowns off of only 18 completions. UNLV in the first half recorded just the third sack against Moore all year, and was able to provide consistent pressure in the first half, but that wasn't nearly enough to rattle him.

"He's really accurate under duress, throwing off of one foot, throwing on the run," Hauck said. "He's as accurate as when he's standing in (the pocket), which is, I think, the most impressive thing other than the smarts.

"The screen hurt us, he really fits it in there nice. He just doesn't miss. He's a good player, he's an impressive guy."

He was able to operate with much more ease in the second half, also, because Boise State simply wore down UNLV's depth-challenged defensive front as the evening wore on.

The Rebels matched the Broncos hit for hit all night, quite literally. But they also paid a price for it.

While UNLV knocked out Martin and standout defensive tackle (and Las Vegas native) Billy Winn, Boise State came back with some big licks of its own that took Herring and senior safety Mike Clausen out of the game.

Herring was put on the turf for extended periods of time twice. The first was a right knee injury that looked scarier than it actually was in the third quarter. The knockout blow was a shot to the head that gave Sean Reilly a chance to play the rest of the night. The severity of Herring's injury was unknown after the game.

Herring went 12-of-17 for 114 yards and a score, and also added 40 yards with his feet.

The Rebels could use him a week from now, when they travel to Albuquerque for the most winnable game remaining on their 2011 schedule. The lowly Lobos suffered a 35-7 loss to San Diego State earlier in the day Saturday that dropped them to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in league play.

No matter who makes that trip for UNLV, Hauck hopes the physical play comes with them.

"I told them last night that I thought we were getting better and thought we had prepared well," he said. "I like our attitude, I like our fight. All signs that one day we can be a really competitive, hard-nosed football team."

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  1. I was there. UNLV has nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing. They played tough, but just got ground down. It should have been 14-14 at the half, absent the blocked punt.

  2. Hopefully this will create some momentum to take to Albuquerque and get a road win versus New Mexico.

    The game is at 8pm, MST so it will be late and there will be sparse attendance (est: 15,000) so the cold may be a slight factor but the crowd likely will not.

    Great effort versus BSU. The Program progresses! Go Rebs!

  3. Boise didn't cover the 6 TD spread. Good job on defense.

  4. Not a bad performance all things considered and also having players suspended. Definitely see some improving, and I hope that it continues because we often get in a slump after a good showing.

  5. Mike Leach is still for hire. Just saying what everyone's thinking.

  6. Hey goo goo ! Im not thinking that. Rebels played one very good half of ball against a powerhouse 42 point favorite. Nice job Rebels. Hauck is the guy. It's taking longer than we all would like but that's a good thing in the long runRemember ! Bobby is building a team and a mindset for the long term .

  7. No one wants to hire leach because of his attitude. He's a media and administration nightmare for teams, and holds the largest Big 12 fine. I also think UNLV can't afford Leach. His last paycheck was over $12 mil for 5 years. There are tons of red flags with Leach, and about 5 teams passing him up for other options.

  8. Come on I am with Goo Goo Dolls. Hauck needs to go. He wrote this game off before it even started. Yes they had a slim chance to beat Boise St. granted but how can a team be fired up when the coach thinks his team has no shot. Your glimmer of hope is to beat an UNBEATEN team, that is what your putting your hat on. Are you UNLV fans that low! Come on, my god your coach has never beaten a team on the road before. His greatest chance is to beat an UNBEATEN team, congrats UNLV you have become a bottom feeder!
    I was at the game as well. How can the home team arrive to the stadium with a little over an hour before kickoff. Don't talk about low attendance number when there was maybe 100 UNLV fans at the game last night. I have never seen a home stadium taken over by the visiting team like I saw last night. That was just sad.

  9. Very proud of the rebels. They are starting to show signs of life and competition. Anyone that is fooled to think that we would turn around a program that was a bottom feeder in 2,3,or 4 years shows what their IQ levels really are.

    The system is almost in place. Each week there is improvement.

    I just hope Herring is ok and ready for UNM next week. Is there any updates on his possible concussion. The offense seems to click better with a mobile qb than with Reilly. I am very excited to see how the rest of the season turns out and how next season will be since we are actually starting the season next year with two home games.

    Hauck is the right coach for this job. Everyone on here should be glad he is even sticking around considering the mess and state of the program he inherited.

    As far as leach or getting a new coach these posters are way off base. Even Vegas only had us winning 2.5 games this year. So do you really think that your smarter then the vegas odds makers and perhaps thinking this team should be further along in their development? If so then please go back to school and reeducate yourself on patience and loyalty. GO REBELS.

  10. Hey GoBruins! Have you been to a game when bYu or Wisconsin is town ? Their crowds are even bigger.

    Coach Hauck claarly didn't "write off the game" last night before it started. If he did, UNLV would have been down by the point spread at half time. Hauck won't even admit the game was a moral victory last night when it clearly was. What more do you want?

    UNLV played great last night. Minus a few bone head false start penalties, the UNLV team that lost last night was not the UNLV team that lost to Southern Utah earlier this season. Check back with your "let's hire a coach we can't afford " at the end of next season if the team still has a losing record.

  11. Next year will be better

  12. "Next year will be better". And then it isn't.

    UNLV had better win next week. I would expect that to happen. What I also expect to happen is after that win there will be a great deal of "see, Hauck's got this program on the right track" kind of chatter.

    Just like long term investors like myself, only time will tell...but I can see the writing on the wall and do believe that Hauck is not the guy to turn this around. I'll just keeping beating the drum.

  13. No I have never been to any other game. I am not a UNLV fan. I can't get behind a team that is content with a horrible season. (well horrible seasons) So what happens next week if Hauck does what he does best & get beaten by an unbeaten team. Will you come back with "well at least we got a 1st down." Yes you came out strong because Boise St did not show up to the game to the 2nd half. They were more concerned with TCU next week. Your head coach can not win on the road. Your head coach hardly can win at home. There is a reason the odds makers have you guys winning 2.5 games. It is because UNLV football is horrible. You got beat by a FCS school, congrats!

  14. GoBruins: If UNLV loses against New Mexico next week, then I won't be a happy fan. Just like I wasn't when no offense showed up against UNR, just like I wasn't when we paid Southern Utah to march in and beat us out of no where. The difference is though, is that New Mexico is a team that UNLV should compete with and beat while Boise State isn't a team that anyone expects UNLV to beat. Whether or not Boise State was looking ahead TCU next week is doubtful. They play in the MWC. They need to demolish everybody in the MWC to get the best possible position in the BCS. The fact that UNLV managed to get any points up on them let alone 21 points is amazing.

    You're missing the point with Coach Hauck. This is year 2 of rebuilding a horrible team. He didn't inherit Standford. Building college football programs doesn't happen overnight.

  15. Hey go bruins, are you a ucla grad? Perhaps they they didn't teach what "unbeaten" means. It means not beaten, as in undefeated or no losses. UNM is win-less, as in never won. I assume that's what you mean.
    Sure BSU came out a little flat, but there is no way yet looked past UNLV. They are too well coached. A team like that does not get that type of success by looking past teams. They take care of business time and time again, year after year against lesser opponents. They've had a target in their back since beating OU. So wrong again.

  16. I've stopped paying much attention to what GoBruins has to say because he only shows up when he's got something negative to say. For example, after the Wyoming game, he made some comment about how horrible we are and blah blah blah and even went on to talk about how Colorado State was going to beat us because they have a good pass rush or something like that. Then we beat CSU and surprise, surprise... not a peep from good old GoBruins.

    I don't think anyone on here is suggesting that we are a better team then we are. We are a bad team and it shows. I'll admit that my confidence in Hauck's ability to finally turn this program around has diminished more than a bit, especially after the Southern Utah debacle, but I also feel that in 95% of all cases, a coach deserves AT LEAST 3 years to get all his stuff in place. I didn't expect more than 2 or 3 wins this season... I do next season. I will agree with GoBruins that I think giving him an extension was ridiculous and unnecessary at the time.

    Next year the schedule will be much more realistic based on where we are at with Minnesota and Washington St. coming here and games at Utah St. (WAC) and Louisiana Tech (WAC). Yes, Washington St. killed us this year, but there's no Wisconsin's or West Virginia's on there like there has been the past few years. This schedule was made based on the progress Sanford was showing when we had a few 5-win seasons. The expectation was that we would have progressed to a level where we could compete better at that level had we taken another step in the right direction under Sanford. Unfortunately, that did not happen and instead we were stuck with yet another regime change and a brutal schedule.

    I'm not suggesting Hauck get a free pass, but I think you have to give him next year to show some progress, and I mean wins, not "moral victories." I do agree with GooGooDolls that Mike Leach may have been a better hire, but he does come with baggage and may have been out of our price range. Who knows, if we suck it up next year and he's still out of work, maybe his pricetag drops.

  17. Watching that game last night, you could see UNLV has the talent to play with anyone. A few bounces didn't go their way after some hard hits and a couple Moore passes that should have been intercepted that would have made the game closer. The difference is BSU doesn't panic and knows to play each play of the game with that intensity. UNLV doesn't. Its hard to create a winning attitude.


  19. I think the radio crew brought up a great point on the post game show, when Coach took over this team, there were only a handful of juniors and seniors. Sanford was robbing the future to try and stay relevant in the present with his year to year patchwork. Hopefully when Coach Hauck gets more of his recruiting classes in here we will see a more consistent 60 minute effort. The games I've seen in person and on TV, when things go way south (Wisconsin, Washington State, Southern Utah, UNR) the team quits.

  20. Oh I am sorry guys that I am not able to make it here after each game, for I do live a busy life.. So for that I am sorry. I am actually from NY. Where the fans are die hard for the sports teams (not a Yankme fan though) Where we expect the best or time to get a new coach. It's been almost 2 years without a road win. Time for something to change guys. I would like to cheer for UNLV I really would. Maybe what needs to change is to play easier teams. If things don't change time to get a new coach wake up the talent is almost there. Yet your new love in coach hauck is overrated. If you look at what he did at his last job you will see a track pattern... Do your research!

  21. It was fun to watch the Rebels play aggressive and compete with a good team in the first half. Hopefully another sign of good things to come.

    Anyone else notice how slow the Rebels come out of the locker room for the second half though? They have gone 3 and out in their first possession of the 2nd half in all but 2 games (1 first down and then a punt against SUU and a long TD pass against Hawaii). They have also given up 3 TD and 2 FG on opponents first 2nd half drives. Maybe they need to change the halftime routine or something?

  22. The Rebels played a great first half except for the last minute.

    They had the ball in decent field position with at least one time out....... then Bobby Hauck just let the clock and valuable time expire.

    UNLV-123, I know you think I don't like UNLV and you couldn't be more incorrect. They are my school. I am from here and a lifetime member of the Alumni association.

    I don't like Hauck. The last minute of the half clearly shows why. We had momentum, style and whatever else you call it. We were taking the game to BSU.

    His lack of coaching judgement is why I am down on him. Do you really think his judgement is going to improve or is the team just going to get better and bypass his poor game handling skills.

    The men on the football team deserve tons of credit for all of their hard work. I truly believe Hauck let them down.

  23. I think GoBruins should do some research himself. Hauck takes over one of the worst programs in the country and people really think it's supposed to be a whole different team or something. He took over a team that was even worse than the year before. I'm from Missoula, so I've had my dose of Bobby Hauck. Although he was given the keys to the cadillac here in Montana, the man won a ton of football games. Yeah, I know, it's the FCS, and I don't care; coaching is coaching. There are a few real reasons that UNLV isn't good. 1. Lack of talent (how many great athlets want to play in Vegas? 2. No tradition & poor support (yeah, I know they don't win enough)3. Offensive coordinator needs to be replaced (the montana players always had good things to say about phenicie, but none of the fans saw it that way. Look, it's not Hauck that's out of his league, it's the program. The Southern Utah game should tell you that. Realistically, UNLV wouldn't win the Big Sky conference(Griz conference). Hauck basicaally rubbed a lot of people the wrong way with his attitude and demeanor here in Montana, but you can't argue with success. His teams here were always disciplined, but alot of Griz fans (including myself) weren't content with the coordinators. If UNLV can get some talent, support, & a great O coordinator, things will change.