Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 | 12:13 a.m.
The UNLV football team has now gone 35 days without a win, as a 38-13 home loss to Boise State on Saturday dropped the Rebels to 1-4 on the season.
It was the fourth consecutive defeat for UNLV, and it was not a pretty sight. Operating with backup quarterback Kenyon Oblad at the controls, the offense did not move the ball in the first half, racking up five 3-and-outs on the first six possessions as Boise took a 17-0 lead into the break.
The second half was more of the same, as the Rebels stuck with the passing game to the bitter end. Oblad finished the night completing 24-of-55 passes for 262 yards, with two late touchdowns and one interception in his first career start.
UNLV ended up with 331 yards of total offense, but 162 yards came in the fourth quarter as Boise State backed off in coverage. Even with that garbage-time boost, the Rebels averaged just 3.9 yards per play for the game.
After calling 60 pass plays in Oblad’s first career start (55 pass attempts plus five sacks), head coach Tony Sanchez said he should have relied more on the run game against a Boise State defense that came in ranked No. 13 in the nation in sacks.
“The run game, I think we should have probably committed to it a little bit more early on,” Sanchez said. “As it went on, we started to wear on them a little and started to gash them when we went back more to our gap schemes…but it was too late. We need to be able to come out and do that a little bit earlier.”
The ground game was not especially productive, as the Rebels managed just 69 yards on 31 carries. Junior Charles Williams had his least productive game of the season (11 carries, 58 yards), but sophomore Chad Magyar provided a spark with 45 yards on 10 carries in his first action of the season.
Defensively, the Rebels held up as well as could be expected against Boise’s powerful aerial attack. UNLV held the Broncos to 14 points through most of the first half and forced two turnovers (one fumble and one turnover on downs), but the Oblad-led offense could not take advantage.
Now UNLV is riding a month-long losing streak during a season that began with a bowl mandate, and the schedule does not let up in the coming weeks. UNLV will next head to Vanderbilt, then return home to face Fresno State and San Diego state. Unless the Rebels can figure out a way to win one of those three contests, a season of high expectations could be dead and wilted before Halloween.
UNLV has averaged just 15.3 points per game during the four-game losing streak. Sanchez hinted that the team could turn back to junior quarterback Armani Rogers against Vanderbilt, assuming he is back to 100% health.
Sanchez also alluded to more changes in the offensive scheme, which could mean an increased reliance on the running game.
“There’s things we can do definitely to get back on track,” he said. “I don’t think that’ll be that difficult. But we need to go back in and there’s some hard conversations we’re going to have to have in the staff room about some of the things that we’re going to do, and we are going to do some things a little bit differently. But we can do it. We have a lot of returning guys that have averaged almost 30 points per game for four years. Obviously we’re struggling right now.”
UNLV senior receiver Darren Woods caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore Randal Grimes had five receptions for 57 yards.
Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier connected on 19-of-30 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns.