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UNLV’s road woes continue in 28-point loss at Air Force

QB Herring only completes six passes for 41 yards as Rebels drop 15th straight road contest


Mark Reis / The Colorado Springs Gazette

Air Force wide receiver Dontae Strickland, left, rushes against UNLV defenders Tajh Hasson and Daniel Harper during the fourth quarter of their game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011.

UNLV vs. Air Force, 2011

Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson Jr. (7) controls the ball against UNLV in the first half of an NCAA college football game at Falcon Stadium in Air Force Academy, Colo., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Air Force tops UNLV

KSNV coverage of Air Force's victory over UNLV, Nov. 19, 2011.

After watching his team drop its 15th consecutive road game with another lopsided loss, 45-17, at Air Force, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck summed up the state of Rebels football in one simple sentence.

"Right now it's a matter of we're not good enough to win, and we need to do better," Hauck said.

The Rebels (2-8, 1-4) actually hung with the Falcons (6-5, 2-4) for much of the first half, trailing only 14-10 after a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Caleb Herring capped an impressive 16-play, 80-yard drive midway through the second quarter.

But then it was just a case of too much Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson and running back Asher Clark and way too little Rebel defense the rest of the way.

Jefferson, listed as questionable most of the week after suffering a concussion in a Nov. 12 loss to Wyoming, completed 7 of 12 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 81 yards and another TD in just three quarters of action while Clark gained a career-high 169 yards on just 15 carries, including a 67-yard touchdown run around right end just before halftime that increased Air Force's lead to 21-10.

Clark's TD started a 31-0 scoring run by Air Force, which led 45-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter and substituted freely in the final quarter.

Air Force finished with 522 yards in total offense, including 394 yards rushing, while UNLV had just 259 total yards.

"It was a pretty good game early on but they seemed to have answers to everything we did and we just weren't able to hold up to their pressure," Hauck said.

The Rebels, despite losing starting tailback Dionza Bradford in the first quarter to an arm injury, ran the ball effectively, finishing with 227 rushing yards, including 104 yards by on 19 carries by sophomore Tim Cornett and 82 yards and a touchdown by third-stringer Bradley Randall. But quarterback Caleb Herring, who sat out last week's 21-14 loss while recovering from a concussion, struggled badly again, completing just 6 of 14 passes for 41 yards and an interception. Herring was only 2 of 6 for 5 yards in the first half, and misfired badly on several throws.

"Our guys ran hard and we played the run game decently up front but we continue to struggle with the throwing game," Hauck said. "We know we're not going to outrush them so we have to throw and we just couldn't do that."

Meanwhile, Jefferson, who was officially cleared to play prior to kickoff, was sharp both throwing and running the ball. The Falcons scored on six of the eight drives that he quarterbacked — he would have been a perfect 8-for-8 if not for two missed field goals by Parker Herrington — en route to his 27th career win as a starter. That ranks him No. 3 in Mountain West history behind only former TCU star Andy Dalton (42) and BYU's Max Hall (32).

"TJ was able to go through most of the workouts this week and we got complete clearance for him before the game," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. "We seem to have guys that just have a way to rejuvenate the team and it was good to get some of those guys back for tonight's game."

The Falcons need to win at Colorado State (3-7, 1-4) next weekend to become bowl eligible.

UNLV, meanwhile, returns home to host San Diego State on Nov. 26. The Rebels get one more shot — make that one more very long shot — to snap their road losing streak this season when they travel to conference champion TCU (9-2, 6-0) for their season finale on Dec. 3.

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  1. A couple of observations as I watch my $500 season win total ov 2.5 bet come to the brink of disaster:
    a)running game above average
    b)passing game just horrible:dropped passes Johnson. No response to a loose ball Payne. Poor route lack of desire Vidal lead to an interception.
    c)play calling unbearable 4th and 1 off tackle stuffed
    As far as I can tell the offensive line has potential and the running backs run hard and there are plenty of running backs you can recruit in the future as we do run a lot. We just have horrible quarterback play not one of these guys is a leader they look like baby faced high school kids. The recievers are not involved including the tight ends I can't blame them, their number isn't getting called often enough to keep their attention. If Tebow was quarterbacking and we were getting wins it would be different but we just don't or can't throw the ball.
    I think Coach Hauck biggest mistake was turning Cluasen into a defensive back. If your going to come marching into town like George Patton 'my way or the highway attitude' you better be able to back it up.
    I hope your future isn't tied to any of these qb's on the current roster you'll never last. This kid Nick Sherry? better be the one.
    Get some play makers and qb I've been a fan since 89' this is bad football!

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  3. The QB play is a disaster, the defense still can't tackle, still too many mental breakdowns & loss of focus on both sides of the ball. You cannot play effectively if you are not locked in mentally, football is just as much mental as it is physical. Athletes who take this game seriously understand the mental aspect. I've seen better focus from my son's DYFL middle school team.

    I'm not sold Hauck has the leadership necessary to build/turn a horrid program around. Most are saying give him another year but the wheels have come off the ride again. If you cannot become bowl eligible in 3 years within a weak conference you need to be FIRED!! Livengood needs to pull his unconditional support of Hauck off the table & tell him "No bowl game next year, No job". Wyoming goes bowling with a freshman QB & all we get here is excuses???

  4. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  5. Hey Fink, you cared enough to read the article. If you don't like sports that is fine, then just do not read nor comment on the sports articles. As you put it "go get a life"

    As for Hauck I will say it again. This tool of a coach needs to go. You can not have a great passing qb or even a good one at that if you do not give him the chance to pass the ball. If you want to turn this into a running school then at least get power running backs.

    Why did Hauck get an contract extension? When are people going to wake up & realize that he is bringing this program even further down. This crappy coach needs to go & coach table tennis or something. He gives up easier then Kim Kardashian does on her relationships.

  6. Herring may not be big enough to play that position. He's taken some big shots and it's showing in his hesitation and execution. When he has to run he doesn't run with conviction or daring. In the pocket he isn't comfortable and throws before he has a chance to really see the options. I think he's a good kid and competitor, but the hits he's taken have made him too jumpy. The position demands confidence.

  7. I too have a "over 2.5 win ticket for UNLV" and am extremely disappointed. Keep in mind though that Wyoming got blown out last year by UNLV and also lost to New Mexico...now, this year (their coach's third year) they are going to a bowl.

    Hauck has to be given at least 3 years before judgements are made. Let's remember as well that this program has been a disaster for years. Hauck didn't bring it down to this level.

    No one could have stepped into his role and turned this into a bowl team in year two. I wish we were more competitive in these losses but he HAS to be given 3-4 years.

  8. He does NOT have to be given 3 years. Are you out of your mind? This so called coach gives up on his team, has no heart, can't win on the road, (barley can win at home) & is a horrible leader. This conference is a very weak football conference. Not to mention that the Rebel's lost to what is very possibly the worse football program in Division 1, as well as to a FCS school. Why do we need to have him around one more year of this? Let's get him out of here & start fresh with someone new. If he was winning a couple of games & there was signs of life, at that point then keep him & roll the dice. But not to be able to cover a 2.5 total win game bet is just horrible. Let's get a coach who wants to win so that we can take pride in the football program. How great would it be to go to Sam Boyd stadium & actually have a chance of game where UNLV can win as well as not have it so that the other team has more fans then for UNLV?

  9. I have already said this, but I was COMPLETELY done with Hauck when, during the Boise game, we had the ball, decent field position and just less than a minute to go before the half, with a timeout in the quiver, and he elects to just let the clock run down. We came out after the half flatter bad twenty dollar tire.

    I has unbelievably just gotten worse.

  10. Hauck inherited a team that was 5-7 & simply needed a defense & some confidence. He has drove this team into the dirt, dismantled the senior playmaking leadership, the defense hasn't improved, & the offense has gotten worse. Why should he stay? Fans can stomach a team that fights hard, never quits, shows signs of life & loses competitive games but this is unacceptable. It is realistic to go bowling in 2 years, high standards have to be set or coaches will settle for what we have here & all we will ever get are excuses!!

  11. you guys could have amos alonzo stagg, vince lombardi or john madden, it wouldnt change a thing. until you get the horses to play the game this is the best you'll be able to do.

  12. The December 3 game at TCU could set the record for the worst beatdown in school history.

  13. I agree with GoBruins, when commenting about the 2nd to last place finish, in the MWC preseason poll, for the 2011 UNLV football team, he says, "For starters, SU football has done a hell of a job turning there program around. The problem doing it here is that no one wants to give the coach the 4-5 years that it will take to do so. Also is the very key fact that they are playing teams right now, that they have no business playing, when you only beat 2 schools last year it is time to look over who you are playing and take it down a notch to get some wins under the belt, then go play some big schools.. Maybe I am wrong?!?" 7/27/11

    While it has been another frustrating year watching Rebel football - getting worked by WSU, donating a game to SUU (3 pick sixes plus two fumbles: five drives terminated), losing to UNM ( 1st play an 80 yd td pass, and a fumble while driving down the field, with around two minutes left). I do see some improvement in the midst of unsettling setbacks. As it stands, the Rebels' running game bodes well for the future (four freshmen and one senior starting on the O-line), and I thought 3rd string QB Barnhill was effective/competent running the pistol. But the current level of talent and experience we have on defense and at QB, will not allow for: a) any mistakes on offense or b) reliably safeguard any potential lead in the score and c) our QBs don't appear to have the ability to accurately throw the ball, or read opposing defenses.

    I've seen the accurate critique that Hauck doesn't allow the QBs to throw the ball very much, thus hampering the QB's ability learn to complete passes; but, when the passes are inconsistently delivered or dropped by receivers, it seems that stifled drives or quick 3 and out possessions would prove more detrimental to a woeful defense, than an opportunity grind out yards and time with our ground game. That being said, teams will continue to be successful against UNLV, because competent defenses have and will stop our running game without a modicum of a UNLV passing game, and with a UNLV defense that lacks brains and brawn.

    And for the shrill choir, harping for Hauck's ouster, GET OUT YOUR DAMNED CHECK BOOKS AND WRITE YOUR TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DONATIONS, TO GET A GOOD, STABLE PROGRAM STARTED. If you seriously want a topflight football program, it takes money. 2009 to 2010, UNLV football generated $5.526 million, while spending $6.878 million. Quit expecting UNLV to pump more money into this program, when they are cutting educational spending on staff, classes, and student services. For those of you billionaires and millionairs wanting Hauck's scalp, PONY UP, PLEASE! Peace, out.

  14. jdsmith,
    You said the qb's didn't throw the ball accurately, but actually Barnhill completed 7 of 10 passes with one drop. In the book that is 70% which is highly accurate with no picks or sacks. WOW is what i'd say, not inaccurate. Throw it 25 times and complete 10 with a pick and then say that, until then he is the most accurate passer we have and the best running qb we have. Have a little more creative passing game I think we can win with that kid.Reminds me of the airforce qb.

  15. redandblue,

    Good point, 70% is a good percentage. Barnhill passed for 54 yds, and threw 1 pass for 1 completion of 15 yards in one of our two scoring drives. I thought he did a competent job running the pistol; although, he was pulled in favor of Reilly, because, according to the UNLV radio commentators, Reilly could throw further. I thought it would have been interesting to see Barnhill run the offense a little bit against Air Force, when Herring was obviously hobbled by injury. Anyway, it will great when the billionaires and millionaires fully fund Rebel Football so we can become a real program. I hear Joe Pa is available. Peace, out.

  16. As a Griz fan and a Rebel fan, I have read, with great interest, most of the comments posted this season. I have to say that I'm happily surprised by the passion shared by everyone regarding the Rebs Football team. I must also say, that I'm equally surprised at the unreal expectations that many of you have for a team that, year in and year out, has been bad for some time. One of the things I have read time and again this season in these post, are people commenting on Hauck and his staff needing a full 3-4 years before you can truly evaluate him and his staff. I believe this to be true. Hauck and his staff inherited a very young and not very talented team. They also faced, this season and last, arguably one of the toughest schedules in the nation. These are facts.

  17. Here are some other facts:

    1) Hauck inherited a very deep and talented team at Montana. But, this team was fairly rouge and he had to get them under control, which he did very well. Then he recruited and built championship caliber teams every year.
    2) Hauck is a very bright and gifted student of the game. He's a coaches son and brother to a NFL standout player. He knows football, he knows talent, he knows recruiting and he knows how to win.
    3) Hauck will not sugar coat things to the press or to his players. He's tough and he knows how to get the most out of his players, even the young semi-talented players he currently has.
    4) Hauck has 7 players in the NFL from Montana that he recruited and coached. Those players all came from 1-AA Montana.
    5) Hauck and his staff & players (and I think this is the most important point that I would like to make) need your support more than anything. They need you to show up to games no matter their record. They need you keep your eyes & ears open for potential kids they can recruit. They need you to go up to current players and give them a pat on the back after the games and tell them they played well. These kids are well coached and playing their asses off and deserve to hear positive things because right now they are up against it and that's not fun. And, get to actually know your coaches. Give them a personal hello and ask how you might be able to help. It's pretty easy to sit at our computers, anonymously, and criticize. It takes a real fan, and one who really wants to help turn things around, that will step forward in person and give support.

    Bobby Hauck is a great guy and a great coach as are the men on his staff. I encourage all of you to get to know them this off season and help rather than rip them if you truly want to see the team have success. Coach Hauck will have success at UNLV. It will take another year or two but he will have success. And you can take personal pride in that if you choose to be a real support to your team! I hope that you do.

    (FYI - I did not go to either Montana nor to UNLV. I did play 3 years of high school and 4 years of college football. I was on 2 college championship teams. I have chaired a national athletic advisory board. I have been closely associated with many college and professional coaches and players, both current and former. So, I not just a casual uninformed observer but I am one who hopes that the Rebels will start kicking some butt soon and with a great support base behind them!)

    Good luck to you all and Go Rebels! I'll be watching from afar and also, as often as I can, from the stands and sidelines of UNLV games!!

  18. Griz,
    How can you say that UNLV faced, this season and last, arguably one of the toughest schedules in the nation. These are facts.
    - How do you come to that conclusion?