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Hauck labels UNLV’s 41-16 loss to Southern Utah as ‘all-time bad’

Rebels stunned at home by FCS foe just a week after the 2011 season appeared to be saved


Sam Morris

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring walks off the field after losing to Southern Utah University 41-16 Saturday, September 24, 2011.

UNLV-SUU Football

UNLV fan Alex Salvo reacts as Southern Utah University runs an interception back for a touchdown during the second half Saturday, September 24, 2011. Southern Utah beat UNLV 41-16. Launch slideshow »

UNLV-SUU Pregame

Pregame activities before the UNLV vs. Southern Utah University game Saturday, September 24, 2011. Launch slideshow »

UNLV falls to Southern Utah, 41-16

KSNV coverage of UNLV football team's 41-16 loss to Southern Utah, Sept. 24, 2011.

UNLV cut Southern Utah a check in the neighborhood of $250,000 to come to Sam Boyd Stadium for what was supposed to be a comfortable spot on the Rebels' 2011 schedule.

All that Bobby Hauck's program got in return was … well … even the second-year coach had a tough time appropriately describing the Rebels' shocking 41-16 loss late Saturday night.

"Disappointing's probably not a strong enough word for that," he said while suppressing anger and frustration as best he could during a postgame press conference. "I think everyone in that locker room is probably at a personal low point right now. Everything we gained a week ago in terms of momentum or excitement about our season is gone.

"We served it up, they took it and it was bad."

The Rebels (1-3) did not just lose to a Football Championship Subdivision team for the first time since 1994. They were beaten. Thoroughly.

A week after UNLV was crisp in all facets of the game in a 40-20 upset of Hawaii that pumped fresh oxygen into a season that looked gloomy early, the Rebels couldn't have possibly been any more sloppy.

In the first half, it was the offense that failed to click.

One situation that stands out came midway through the first quarter, with UNLV already leading SUU 7-0. Facing a first-and-goal at the Thunderbirds' one-yard line after four run plays had netted 49 yards on the drive, sophomore quarterback Caleb Herring checked out of a called run play after noticing senior receiver Phillip Payne — a red zone specialist — with one-on-one coverage on the perimeter.

The problem was that Payne missed the audible, and after the snap, while trying to block a defensive back instead of heading for the back corner of the end zone on a route, was called for offensive pass interference. Three snaps later, Herring fumbled the ball away while being sacked, and a prime chance to step on SUU's throat early vanished, never to be seen again.

"That one's just gonna hang forever, (I'll) go to my grave with that one," Hauck said. "First-and-goal at the one and no points. Giving that option (to Herring) is bad coaching by me. We try to give our guys some leeway to try and be smart, and we out-smarted ourselves. That's bad by me."

After that, it just got worse for Herring, who admitted afterward that he was pressing constantly to make up for his mounting mistakes.

"I didn't need to press, and I did," he said. "And when I pressed, it just kept spiraling from there."

Herring was 23-of-41 for 223 yards on the night, with one touchdown pass in the closing minutes. But after turning the ball over just once in his first three career starts, Herring threw three interceptions Saturday night, with all of them being returned by SUU defenders for touchdowns. He also had the crucial lost fumble, accounting for four of UNLV's five turnovers on the night. Herring was replaced a couple of times by junior backup Sean Reilly, who couldn't spark the offense, either.

The toughest of Herring's turnovers to recover from was a pick-six that he threw on the first play of the second half, after UNLV, despite a brutal offensive first half, was tied with SUU at the break, 10-10, and still had a chance to salvage the evening.

In the first half, UNLV's defense had at least held its ground, forcing SUU's Brad Sorensen into 14 incompletions on 21 pass attempts and allowing only 76 total yards.

But as Herring and the offense fell apart and got away from the run game more and more, the defense followed suit.

On the night, a Thunderbird defense that was allowing 4.6 yards per carry to opponents coming in held UNLV to 108 yards on 38 attempts. UNLV out-gained SUU in terms of total offense, 402-256, but was just 7-of-21 on third downs and learned the hard way that it's simply not a good enough football team to turn the ball over five times and still win.

"I worry about everybody involved's mental state right now," Hauck continued. "This is all-time bad."

So, what's next?

Instead of heading up to Reno for an Oct. 8 showdown with the rival Wolf Pack at 2-2 and with aspirations of forming a special, unexpected run, Hauck made it sound like the next two weeks will be nothing short of brutal on his young team that just can't maintain momentum.

With as unpredictable as UNLV has been so far this season, it's anyone's guess as to which team will show up when the Rebels try to knock off UNR for the first time since 2004.

"We're back to square one, which is disappointing," he said. "We're going to go practice a bunch. Long and hard and physical. It's going to be a toughness check for everybody.

"We're going back to spring ball now. We're going to be physical; we're going to go back and we're going to play the survivors up in Reno."

This and that …

Payne finished with with 13 catches for 175 yards and the aforementioned late touchdown grab. Both marked new career highs, while the 13 catches were the second most in UNLV single-game history behind Randy Gatewood's NCAA-record 23 in a 1994 game against Idaho. Payne also now has 23 career TD receptions, putting him one behind the program's all-time record holder, Henry Bailey (24 from 1991-94) … First half interceptions by Tani Maka and Daniel Harper were UNLV's first two picks of the season … UNLV won't play against at Sam Boyd Stadium for 35 days. They return against Colorado State on Oct. 29.

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  1. I have been going to UNLV football games for the past 20 years and this is by far the worst loss in the program. WR Payne is a diva and put us in a very difficult situation on our first and goal. To go into the half at 10 to 10 was a gift. To come out of the half and get blown out at home is inexcusable. This team has zero heart and zero courage. The coaching staff has to evaluate who wants to play. I can accept losing games, if the players show heart and character. Tonight's performance was inexcusable. Take the next two weeks and see who want to represent this program and earn their scholarships.

  2. After watching this game I was ready to write off the football team for good, but after cooling off, I just feel bad for them. I am a Rebel fan, and that unfortunately includes our sorry fb team. So I will be at the next home game, and all the rest after that, complaining in the stands with everyone else.


    P.s. counting the days till bball season starts.

  3. Can we begin counting the days until the "Hauck era" is over?

  4. Hauck is right...there was alot of bad coaching going on especially on the offensive side of the ball. Pulling Herring second series with merely a 7-0 lead (achieved via fake FG nonetheless!) was arrogant & served no purpose whatsoever other than to destroy our tempo, fire up SUU, & make Herring press from then on. If getting Reilly snaps was so important why not do it last week too? No, instead we advertise to SUU "Yeah, we dont respect you enough or need to value a possession against you that we need to play our starters even if its the 1st qtr." That was a terrible "we dont have to play our best game" message to send your own team. So then Herring feels the need to do something.....like audible on 1st & goal from the one. Then after throwing a pick six religiously holding onto the ball too long after that...terrified of making another mistake. His weak mental state was produced by his own coaching staff. And does our O coordinator know that its legal to throw a pass between the hashes? And that Michael Johnson was good enough to torch BYU & every other defense in the middle of the field before they showed up? Not getting him the ball is inexcuseable. No way can we hang this on the Defense...they played well enough to win.

  5. I normally don't blame the kids for much because it's generally the staff's job to get the kids motivated and executing. However last night was clear that we have a horrible combination here at UNLV - a team full of quitters and a coaching staff with no clue what to do about it. UNLV had 10x the talent on the field yesterday than SUU and you only get run like that one way - quitting. I have seen a lot of losing in 20+ years of UNLV football losing. Last night was absolutely disgraceful. They should hang their heads.

  6. My only question is why Herring checked off on a run play on the 1 yard line. Their Defense hadn't been able to stop us. Was the stupidest thing I have ever seen to check off on a run with Cornett in the backfield. The Interceptions were just heart breakers. I feel sucker punched as a fan because the offense showed no heart. I have gone to my last UNLV game this season. They could win out the rest of the season I still won't go because I don't know if they will show heart.

    The team and Payne need to stop worrying about the stupid TD record and just play for wins. Big difference being up 14-0 or 10-10. That team we played would have folded and had more pressure on them if we were up 14-0. This young team needs to understand this. Aren't they suppose to be college students also. Time to make them go to tougher classes so they can think about what they are doing on the field.

    We have never lost to a FCS team till now. This team should not be proud they are setting all the worst records for this school. They are also hurting all the talks about us getting new facilities. The worse UNLV plays the less support they will get for facilities. These players need to wake up, they are not only effecting themselves but future UNLV players.

  7. Ya Herring didn't need any type of pass on 1st and Goal from the one. Get the points. SUU had reason to be fired up, playing a MWC team, so I don't see the Rebels quite that bad . . . But I did notice they didn't have much fire in them. If I was Hauck, I'd get the team to be vicious, that's what this sport is about. Betcha UNLV plays quite well in Reno.

  8. Doesn't matter how they play I just put up my season tickets on stub hub hope someone is willing to buy them.

  9. It's not the players ability. We have already proved that against Hawaii. It's all mental toughness. And for some you can't teach that but for most you can. But you have to do it the military/police academy way. You just spend every waking hour beating them for there mistakes until they pull together as a team and the top helps pull the bottom. It will show them real team work, that quiting only brings pain, that you can't do it yourself, and ultimately weed out the ones who are so weak (mentally) that they tear the fabric of the team. So bobby, please just study the military, and even call metro to find out their tactic for solving mental toughness issues. But you gotta start by humbling yourself to a point of recognizing you need help too. Our team is that screwed up.

  10. After this game I really got to wondering whether or not Phillip Payne is really worth it. Sure he almost has the TD record, but it seems like for every TD he catches he gets at least 2-3 dumb penalties and drops 2-3 catch-able balls. This offense should focus more on running the ball with the 3 good RB's they have and get away from the air-out style that Sanford left here.

  11. This is Coach Hauck's second year - the year in which most new coaches begin to turn things around if they are going to. This is a loss for which no logical explanation can be given. I have to conclude that the Hawaii game was a fluke.

  12. Brought family to the game after giving up season tickets 3-4 years ago. 6 p.m. kick off and pre-game family activities were real nice and inviting. My kids LOVED running around on the field after the game. My boy was hoping to meet some of the players on the field after the game but I know that is not easy right after the game. More of that family-friendly environment might help.

    As for the game, it looked like a combination of bad coaching (what's with the QB switching in first quarter?) and then the players throwing the game in the second half. UNLV let SUU score 7 seconds into the second half! Why was Payne the only receiver thrown to in the second half? It was real bad. UNLV stunk on all phases of game except maybe punting. Even on the first and only real UNLV TD, the SUU defender fell and our TE made spectacular catch.

  13. You don't have to pay me $250k to kick you in the groin, just ask and I'd done it for free.

    I hope that one hurts. I hope it hurts so bad that they come out and clear their minds for UNR and play aggressive.

    If that game isn't respectable, I don't know what else to say.

  14. I am a fan of UNLV since I live here, but I am not from here and went to a FBS/BCS university which I root for religiously. With that being said, the coaching staff and players at UNLV should be ashamed of their performance. I watched the game on the MTN, which is nationally televised. The players stopped playing they gave up late in the 3rd quarter. Watching Hauck on the sideline he did not seem to know what to do or who to put in the game. I am sure he is a good coach, but his players' attitudes and lack of heart are destroying the team. Look what they did against Hawaii when their spirits were up.
    All that being said besides the loss what makes me upset is the 200,000.00 we gave SUU to come here and destroy UNLV. I would almost be happy if Hauch and his coaching staff paid some money back to the school which we all know needs the cash. I would also like to see the players doing community service to also help pay back the money we just threw away. It is a very sad day for UNLV football and embarrassing. I am glad I am not an alumni of the school otherwise I would be pissed. I was actually laughing watching last night.

  15. @nolocal, this year is no different from the rest. Rinse and repeat at UNLV. The administration has zero clue. They keep making the wrong hires, and here we are still stuck on stupid hoping that things improve in 3-5 years if we can just give the new, inexperienced coach enough time. When the admin finally awakes from their coma and realizes they need to invest in a proven coach that has experience turning around losing D1 programs, that is when things might start to improve with UNLV football.

  16. LOL get lost Hauk. Resign and save UNLV anymore humiliation. Donate whats left on your k to charity.

  17. What a mess!! Players quit for 2 reasons 1) THEY HAVE ZERO HEART: 2) they are usually in rebellion to a coaching staff. When you are an FBS. school & you lose to an FCS school that is like a varsity team getting waxed by its freshman team, simply inexcusible. Someone please wake me when Rebel hoops arrives....

  18. Life time UNLV fan. I have a different take on this. It's just another loss, another bump on the road up the mountain towards a great football program. Another lesson to learn from. Already forgot about it, hope they do too. Sure, they should have won, but consider this. Their opponent was better than 99% of the non FBS schools out there, they have a very good QB, and UNLV's D kept them in check. UNLV beat themselves in other words, and that can be corrected. These types of things happen (better team loses) Sometimes it goes the other way (as in UNLV beating HI) and some times it's your team chokes. That's the nature of football. Coaches know they had a lot to do with this loss. UNLV didn't try to dominate via the run by expanding the defense (throwing a few long bombs down field 40 yrs -int like a kick) so that the linebackers don't key on the short stuff and then running the ball down their throat when they loosen up on D to prevent the long pass. That was not present, all short passes and running for the most part. That's the coaches fault. Had UNLV not tossed any Int's, ran the ball the way they can with a few passes in between, forced SU to earn their points, then they could have won. Bottom line, SU is better than most think (1) and UNLV isn't as bad as everyone now feels. I hope they forget about this game, learn from it, and go up to UNR and put up a good fight (and win) back the cannon. With good coaching, it will happen.

  19. Good one Mickey A. This was a heart break. But this is where the team needs to show some courage.They have talent.I really think Caleb is not the one.He had good game against Hawaii but Hawaii had bad game and Caleb may poor decision.It was good to get Sean some time.He is really a better thrower.Caleb is not a leader & not sure if Sean is.They need QB leader.The team needs to give all & leave it on the field.We have talent,but are mentally weak.Hauch is good,he can turn this.Don't give up,ever keep fighting.

  20. Insight, Don't text and drive; too many syntax errors.

    I am astounded by this quote, "We're back to square one, which is disappointing," he said. "We're going to go practice a bunch. Long and hard and physical. It's going to be a toughness check for everybody."

    Unbelievable; we are heading into game five and are back to square one??!!

    What is clearly obvious is that this team, even Hauck's cherished recruits, haven't bought into what he is selling.

    Comparing Boise to SUU is not only insane and so delusional that it makes me think our society and fanbase is so used to losing we will excuse anything by elevating our opponents to mythical status.

    The only thing missing from the sad misguided praise for SUU is putting their QB on the Heisman watch.

    I for one was so embarrassed that I will be bringing a change of clothes to the next game. That way I won't be seen after the fact wearing "Rebel Red" just in case we repeat (actually three-peat) our miserable performance.

  21. Hauck needs to go...we never, ever should have given him that damn extension this year. That will go down as another one of our stupid mistakes that we can't seem to stop making.

  22. How can we still blame the coaches? A hall of fame coach didn't work, a top coordinator didn't work, and now a coach from one of the top FCS schools isn't working.

    Maybe it's time to find something else to blame... like maybe the atmosphere surrounding the program, the lack of community support, the neutral field we play all home games on, and the complete lack of interest from the student body. All of these things contribute to confidence, something the football team hasn't consistently had.. forever?

  23. SUU had everything to gain and prove Saturday as many of their players were looked over by FBS schools like UNLV. Hauck support your local talent like you did in Montana. Remember when you recruited kids from 9 and 7 player high school programs in Montana and took them to national prominence? A month ago everybody was estatic because we got a second string runningback from Texas to committ??? Are you kidding me...? If you look at the roster of most FBS schools they are over 70% in state athletes. Even the programs that are not as successful still recruit their own in state athletes and when they do have a big win it makes it that much more meaningful to the athletes, the university, and the state. As was discussed earlier in the season, maybe we should switch to a less competitive conference or even move down to the FCS. But maybe, just maybe, instead of cutting salaries, closing academic departments, and shutting down student programs at UNLV we should stop spending tuition and tax payer dollars to recruit and educate out of state athletes who don't know or care about Nevada. I wouldn't mind losing so much if there was more support for in state athletes. There are home grown athletes right now who grew up playing popwarner football here in Vegas who would give anything to play for UNLV. They would play with pride and bring honor to our state in victory or defeat. This would garner the community support the program desperately needs as well. UNLV's roster has about 20% in state athletes and many of them walked on to the program or were juco transfers. SUU has over 52% of their roster from Utah which makes their win on Saturday that much more satisfying.

  24. Defending the home turf for prides' sake is something that is inbred in all kids and athletes. UNLV will someday have an on campus stadium and will someday get it's top prospects to stay home and defend their hometown's honor. Such is not the case right now, our team is mostly from SoCal but then again most of the people who live here are Socal transplants as well. These are tough times for our football program but as they shown vs WI and HI, they can ball when they 'act right' and when the intensity is there. Mistakes make this team go sideways. Time to change the attitude towards mistakes to one of "shake it off and forget about it" vs dwelling on the negative so that the rest of the game goes down hill.

  25. Well said, UNLV-123.

    It's only ever the coach's fault. One day we'll realize that there's a lot more to it.

    Hopefully soon...

  26. Hey forget about last week.There is talent on that team.I like Hauch but not sure about him now.I want to see fire and warrior marine spirit. For God's sake GO AND FIGHT. TAKE SOME PRIDE IN YOURSELF TEAM YOU CAN WIN.....FORGET ABOUT THIS EMBARASSING GAME. Are the coaches saying things like this....???

  27. Mike Leach to UNLV

  28. I'm finally seeing folks wake up to the fact that Hauck was and is out of his league. You need to find a coach that players want to bleed and sweat for. This is obviously not the case with this coach (as I've said since DAY 1 of his hiring).

    Two words for the brilliant minds at UNLV. MIKE LEACH!!!!!

    For those football supporters - you just wait - if this goes on for another year, you may be in jeopardy of losing your program. The school will shut...it...down.


  29. I just watched that video....was Hauch about to cry in that press conference? It sure looked that way.

    Boy, if that's how he's going to motivate his players, UNLV is in trouble...he just sounds like he's given up. Which I suppose isn't a bad thing for UNLV to move on....

  30. UNLV-123 and Snyderm,

    You're right, I hold four season tickets in the Club level, how foolish of me. I should have known that showing up, game after game, and rooting for my Rebels was extremely counterproductive.

    Feel free to blame me for all of the Rebels woes.

    How absurd can you be. Hauck threw a team that was 5-7 (narrowly) under the bus for "his" recruits. There is an insane amount of bad blood on that team.

    Hauck has done nothing for the upperclassmen except burn down what momentum they had.

    I do not feel sorry for him or his staff. They made the bed of uncertainty they sleep in.

    To blame being blown out, on a stadium, is preposterous. Hauck is the coach (for now) and it is his job to get everybody on the same page. Those of you blaming facilities or transplants don't have a clue what playing with heart is all about.

    No wonder the program is in shambles. The fools in charge prefer window dressing to substance.

  31. Heretic, it's good to see that post. We need more fans of this program to DEMAND more. It's the 'give it time' and blame it on everything but the coach attitude from the fans/press that have taken this program to where we are today. Nowhere.

    The HOF coach, btw, was successful here. I would call taking a 1-22 team and turning into an 8-5 team that beats an SEC team in a bowl game, gets ranked in the top-25 and beats Reno 5 straight times pretty successful...relatively speaking for UNLV anyways. Oh yeah, he did that in two-years. Imagine that!

    The problem at UNLV is at the top. Continually hiring unproven assistants, yet expecting a different result. Continually allowing failing coaches to malinger too long. Continually giving failing coaches extensions when they don't deserve them. The problem at UNLV, is actually pretty simple to figure out. Insanity.

    This admin (Livengood,esp) needs to make a decision and either completely sell out for the right coach, or just be up front with the fans/boosters and admit they really don't care about the football program enough to make that kind of effort.

  32. Heretic, I didn't realize you had club seats.. well.. in that case the Rebels have all the support they could ever need! You blame Hauck for taking a 5-7 team and throwing it under the bus? If Sanford's team was so good then he might not have been fired (See Mike Sanford's first 2 years as coach).

    JahReb, you're right we had a good year under John Robinson, mainly due to 1 good year from 1 good recruit that came because of the HOF coach, someone very few coaches available to UNLV would be able to bring in. However, old John's overall record as UNLV was 28-42. Woops.

    I realize you guys think we should just bring in Nick Saban and a whole class of 5 star recruits, because duh, then we would win! But, hey, the reality is the Rebels have about a 30% win rate since they moved up to D1, we have very few choices for coaches because of financial restrictions (see Rebel football needs more support), and no one with any sort of college aspirations wants to come play here.

    I'm not defending Hauck, he may suck (it's hard to tell after 1.25 seasons), but I'm just trying to get the point across that there are a lot more problems surrounding the program than just the coach.

  33. UNLV-123, "I'm not defending Hauck".... you're joking right??

    Reread your earlier posts. You blame everybody but Hauck.

    I don't care if the tooth-fairy is the coach, his primary job is to get EVERYBODY on board. Clearly this hasn't happened.

    Keep blaming sub-par recruiting and whatever else you can think of but when a coach comes in and deliberately alienates his upperclassmen this is the result. We were ranked third in the nation last year for allowing Freshman to start. It feel like I am watching a remake of "the damned united", except Hauck has just managed to last longer.

    As for the Club seats, your post was so dismissive to fans and the like, I thought I would clarify my status so you would get past you completely fallacious argument that humanity is to blame.

  34. Heretic.. It's hard to argue the existence of the sun with someone who has lived their entire life underground.

    You seem to be so focused on the coach that you refuse to consider anything else, which is fine, because it's your opinion. I just want to expand the focus to include all of the program's problems, not to exclude the coach altogether from blame. As things are now, I don't think any coach could be successful.

    You mentioned that Hauck alienated the upper classmen when he came in. Did you consider the program alienated them by firing the head coach who recruited them? Did you consider they might not have all been receptive to what a new coaching staff had to say? Did you also consider that Hauck's coaching style involves position battles, meaning the veterans could lose their starting jobs? I'm not saying that Hauck handled it perfectly, because honestly neither of us know the full details, but it's important to take everything into account before you threaten someone's livelihood.

    I know it will never happen, but if the entire Rebel community got behind the team and the head coach for 3 years, that would be the kind of thing that could help turn the program around.

  35. UNLV-123, I am behind Hauck more than you will ever know. When he first arrived I drank so much of the Kool-aid I was drunk and giddy with excitement.

    I sobered up.

    Getting behind a coach is one thing; allowing for every excuse that comes down the pike in another.

    He doesn't seem to be swimming in his depth. Two of the three losses were just mind-numbing.

    You tell me to take everything into account before I threaten his livelihood...... hmmm. Do you understand how tenuous professional coaching is as a career? He is a big boy... He knows.

    One final note: " It's hard to argue the existence of the sun with someone who has lived their entire life underground" I am not sure what your point is but rest assured, your argument doesn't make you the brightest bulb in the box, just the one who is capable of making the most excuses in the history of sports fandom.

  36. Just think Winning would cure all this. It would be nice to put a real hard fought game against RENO.You may even win.