unlv football:

Take 5: Rebels will have their hands full stopping Wyoming QB Brett Smith


Associated Press

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith celebrates his touchdown catch on a trick play during an NCAA college football game against UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo.

Forget the UNLV football team's 2-9 record.

At the friendly confines of Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels are a better team. Both of the Rebels’ wins have come at home, and more importantly, they’ve had a second-half lead in five of their six home contests.

Home game No. 7 is at 1 p.m. Saturday against Wyoming (3-7 overall, 2-4 Mountain West) in another game in which the Rebels expect to be competitive. Despite quarterback Nick Sherry being listed as doubtful on the UNLV injury report, Wyoming is just a 1-point betting favorite.

“All of the games we’ve had at Sam Boyd this year have been great football games and highly, highly competitive,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “Most of them (came) down to the last play, win or lose. I would expect this game to be no different.”

Here are few items to prepare you for Saturday’s game:

Rebels will have hands full with Wyoming’s QB: For UNLV to beat Wyoming, the Rebels’ game plan is simple: Stop Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith. Smith has passed for four touchdowns in each of the past two weeks, leading Wyoming to victories against Colorado State and New Mexico. For the season, he’s thrown for 2,165 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions in completing 61 percent of his passes. That could spell disaster for a UNLV secondary that frequently has had periods of bad play this season. “Brett is productive. Everything runs through him, whether it is running it or throwing it,” Hauck said. “... We have to account for him on every play.”

Herring likely under center for Rebels: Even though redshirt freshman Nick Sherry has attempted virtually all of the UNLV football team’s passes, junior backup Caleb Herring still has stayed sharp. Herring, who passed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns last year as the starter, has taken plenty of snaps in practice each week as part of the team’s preparations. Sherry left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a back injury and is listed on the team’s injury report as doubtful for the Wyoming game. Herring, who now is part of the wide receiver rotation and has 16 catches for 125 yards, has attempted just five passes this year — one coming on a fake field goal. Come Saturday, he’ll be counted on to lead UNLV to victory. “We wont change our plan too much,” Hauck said. “We don’t want to throw in a new offense at this time of the season. We’ll do what we do. It won’t affect anybody except who is playing quarterback.”

Senior Day for the Rebs: UNLV’s 15 seniors will be honored before kickoff, including three starters: offensive linemen Doug Zismann and Yusef Rogers, and linebacker John Lotulelei (the team’s leading tackler with 9.8 takedowns per game). Most of the senior class was recruited by former coach Mike Sanford. And although UNLV has a 6-30 record in Hauck’s three years, he often has raved about the dedication of the senior class. “There is a lot of investment. When you invest, it is hard to give in,” Hauck said.

Run, Tim, run: At the beginning of fall practices, junior running back Tim Cornett told reporters his goal was to have a 1,600-yard rushing season. With two games left, Cornett stands 456 yards shy of his goal and would need two monster games to close the season. Yet, with Sherry out at quarterback, anything is possible. Regardless of whether he reaches the milestone, Cornett still has had one of the top rushing seasons in school history. His 102 yards last week at Colorado State gave him 100-plus yards in eight of the Rebels’ 11 games. He’s just the third UNLV player to clear the century mark 11 times, joining Mike Thomas (17 in 1973-75) and Dominique Dorsey (11 from 2001-04).

Rebels often score plenty against Cowboys: UNLV has scored more than 40 points nine times since joining the Mountain West Conference in 1999. Five of those offensive outbursts have come against Wyoming, including in 2010 when UNLV posted a 42-16 home victory against the Cowboys. Cornett, then a true freshman, had three touchdowns. Digging deeper inside the numbers, UNLV has a two-game home winning streak against Wyoming and is 6-4 all-time in the series in Las Vegas.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. Good Luck Rebel's This will not be an easy game to win Wyoming is dangerous Right now

  2. dont be surprised if wyoming wins this game

  3. This was just one of Hauck's many muck ups! A star JC transfer who just warmed the bench and was never given a chance! Man up Hauck and turn in your resignation!

    UNLV: A veteran quarterback who will compete for time as a senior this fall ... The first junior-college signal caller signed by UNLV since Jarrod Jackson in 2005 ... One of 13 UNLV football players named to the 2011 Academic All-Mountain West team.

  4. Sean Reilly.
    2011: Signed with UNLV as a midyear JC transfer and went on to earn his first letter as a Rebel by playing in seven games at quarterback, including starting two ... Started at Wyoming in Game Six and completed 7-of-16 attempts for 79 yards and one interception ... Started again the following week, completing 2-of-3 attempts for 27 yards vs. Colorado State ... Relieved Caleb Herring the following week vs. Boise State and threw a touchdown against the Broncos, finding Phillip Payne for a 13-yard score ... Made his UNLV debut in Game Three and completed his lone pass attempt against Hawai'i ... Also came off the bench one week later vs. Southern Utah and completed 5-of-6 attempts for 48 yards.