Southern Utah 41 … at UNLV 16
Posted Sep 24, 2011

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Southern Utah at UNLV

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - Southern Utah at UNLV

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Sept. 24 Southern Utah 41 … at UNLV 16
CFN Analysis: What the heck was that?! A week after destroying Hawaii, the Rebels couldn't have been worse with Caleb Herring getting picked off three times for scores, eight penalties, and with a second half collapse of epic proportions. The one positive was Phillip Payne, who caught 13 passes for 175 yards and a score, but this was a major setback for a team that now is in huge trouble with road trips to Nevada and Wyoming ahead and Boise State coming up soon. The defense wasn't bad against the Thunderbirds, but the offense couldn't stop screwing up. Is Herring the main man going forward? Sean Reilly completed 5-of-6 passes for 48 yards and Mike Clausen completed his only throw for a 23-yard score.

(AP) LAS VEGAS -- Austin Minefee ran for two touchdowns while his teammates had three interceptions for scores, lifting Southern Utah to a stunning 41-16 victory over UNLV on Saturday night.

Nick Witzmann, Blake Fenn, and Erron Vonner each had interception returns for touchdowns as the Thunderbirds (3-1) outscored UNLV 31-0 during a second half barrage.

The Rebels (1-3) turned the ball over five times as Caleb Herring threw those three picks. UNLV's Phillip Payne caught career-highs of 175 yards and 13 receptions. He also had a late 19-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception.

Brad Sorensen completed 16 of 34 for 178 yards and two interceptions for Southern Utah.

Minefee had six and two-yard scoring runs in the third and fourth quarters respectively.

Southern Utah (2-1) at UNLV (1-2) Sept. 24, 9:00

Here's The Deal … Who was that UNLV team that looked so great against a Hawaii team that should've been able to bomb away on a bad Rebel defense? After showing absolutely nothing in the first two blowout losses to Wisconsin and Washington State, the Rebels were terrific in a shocking 40-20 win over the Warriors with the offense looking like it was supposed to and the defense making enough big plays to come up with the win. The team is improving, and now it has to show that last week wasn't an aberration by beating a Southern Utah team on a nice two game winning streak. The Thunderbirds have a high-octane offense that cranks out yards in chunks. They'll provide a terrific test before the Rebels deal with a trip up the road to Nevada.

Why Utah State Might Win: The UNLV defense was able to keep Hawaii to 284 passing yards and two scores, but the real secondary might be more like the one that allowed Wisconsin's Russell Wilson to complete 11-of-15 passes for 258 yards and two scores and gave up 471 yards and four scores to Washington State. Southern Utah and quarterback Brad Sorensen have the ability to put up yards in chunks, throwing for 340 yards against South Dakota State and hitting Texas-San Antonio for 305 yards and three scores. UNLV should be without its best corner, Quinton Pointer, and while he was missing in the Hawaii game and things turned out fine, the team can't be without him for long.

Why UNLV Might Win: The UNLV offense showed real, live offensive balance and moved the ball shockingly well to control the clock for 35 minutes. It also helped that Hawaii gave away four fumbles, but the key was the way Caleb Herring was able to get the passing game going just enough to provide room for Tim Cornett and the running game. The Rebels need that type of balance and that type of control again, but they also need the same takeaways. The Thunderbirds don't make a slew of mistakes and they don't turn the ball over enough to give UNLV many breaks, but they also don't have much of a pass rush and shouldn't disrupt Herring and shouldn't stop Cornett before he gets time to move.

What To Watch Out For: Cornett was the first freshman in UNLV history to lead the team in rushing with 546 yards and six touchdowns averaging 3.8 yards per carry, and he caught 13 passes for 98 yards and a score. At 6-0 and 190 pounds he's a thin back who won't do too much through the tackles, but he's a speedster who can hit the home run from anywhere on the field. He didn't do much of that last year with his longest run just 46 yards, and now he needs the ball more. He cranked out his 106 yards on just 11 carries last week, and he has only carried the ball 35 times, but he's averaging close to six yards per carry.

If UNLV needs mistakes to come up with the win, it has to hope it can get the same type of performance South Dakota State got against Brad Sorensen, who threw three picks in the season opener. Sorensen threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns last year, and he has been on fire to start the season. He'll press the Rebels all game long and won't be afraid to push the ball deep.

What Will Happen: UNLV will have a hard time dealing with the Southern Utah passing game, but the defense will come up with just enough takeaways and the offense will be just balanced enough for the second week in a row to come up with the win. All this team needed was a little bit of confidence, and it might have gotten it with the win over the Warriors.

CFN Prediction: UNLV 34 … Southern Utah 31
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