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CFN Take: UNLV Rips Apart San Diego State

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 30, 2013


UNLV Rebels 2013 ... Head Coach: Bobby Hauck


UNLV Rebels

2013 Record: 7-5
8/29 at Minnesota L 51-23
9/7 Arizona L 58-13
9/14 Central Michigan W 31-21
9/21 Western Illinois W 38-7
9/28 at New Mexico W 56-42
10/5 OPEN DATE
10/12 Hawaii W 39-37
10/19 at Fresno State L 38-14
10/26 at Nevada W 27-22
11/2 San Jose St L 34-24
11/9 Utah State L 28-24
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/21 at Air Force W 41-21
11/30 San Diego State W 45-19
at UNLV 45, San Diego State 19
Basically … San Diego State’s Colin Lockett scored less than a minute into the game on a 39-yard touchdown catch, and then UNLV opened up the scoring with 31 straight on the way to a 45-13 lead with Caleb Herring throwing five touchdown passes and running for another. Devante Davis caught touchdown passes from five, ten, 63 and six yards way, and Marcus Sullivan caught a 32-yard scoring play. The Aztecs scored late on a 71-yard Tim Vizzi punt return.
- UNLV QB Caleb Herring completed 20-of-30 passes for 270 yards and five scores, and he ran nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
- San Diego State QB Quinn Kaehler completed 24-of-46 passes for 239 yards and a score with two picks.
- UNLV WR Devante Davis caught eight passes for 171 yards and four scores.
- San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey ran 13 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.

UNLV 41, at Air Force 21
Basically … UNLV became bowl eligible with the win, starting out roaring with the first 27 points on two touchdown runs from both Tim Cornett and Caleb Herring. Cornett added a third touchdown run from three yards out in the third and closed with a 46-yard scoring dash in the fourth to put the game well out of reach. Air Force managed just 298 yards of total offense getting one-yard touchdown runs from Broam Hart and D.J. Johnson and a 31-yard scoring grab from Alex Ludowig.
- UNLV RB Tim Cornett ran 36 times for 220 yards and four scores. Caleb Herring completed 15-of-1 passes for 141 yards and ran for 56 yards and two scores.
- Air Force RB Anthony LaCoste ran 15 times for 75 yards.
- Air Force QB Nate Romine completed 3-of-11 passes for 72 yards and a score.
- UNLV had the ball for almost 36 minutes and came up with 30 first downs. Air Force had 17.

Utah State 28 at UNLV 24
Basically … Bruce Natson ran for a 12-yard score in the final four minutes for a four point Aggie lead. UNLV marched down to the Utah State 12 but Caleb Herring’s fourth down pass to Devante Davis was incomplete and Utah State survived. Herring threw two touchdown passes and Tim Cornett ran for a touchdown, but Utah State always had an answer as Darrell Garretson found Shaan Johnson for a five-yard score and Natson and Joey DeMartino each ran for short scores.
- Utah State WR Travis Reynolds caught seven passes for 129 yards and Travis Van Leeuwen added four catches for 112 yards.
- UNLV QB Caleb Herring completed 17-of-39 passes for 252 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran nine times for 27 yards.
- UNLV RB Tim Cornett ran 29 times for 115 yards and a score.
- Utah State QB Darrel Garretson completed 16-of-28 passes for 288 yards and a score.

San Jose State 34, at UNLV 24, Nov. 2
Basically … San Jose State jumped out to a 24-3 lead over UNLV and then had to fight off a furious second-half rally from the Rebels. The Spartans had 312 yards on the ground, a departure from their normal pass-heavy attack. Jarrod Lawson led the way in the first half with more than 120 rushing yards for San Jose State.
- Lawson finished with 187 yards on the ground and a score on 28 carries.
- UNLV QB Caleb Herring threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and added 55 yards and a score on the ground, but threw two costly picks.
- San Jose State was outgained 295-161 yards in the second half.
- UNLV scored 10 points off of its two takeaways compared to the 14 San Jose State scored off its two takeaways.

UNLV 27, at Nevada 22
Basically … Caleb Herring threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Maika Mataele from 16 yards out and finding Devante Davis for a 44-yard touchdown in the second and an 11-yard score in the fourth. Nevada overcame 13 penalties with three Brent Zuzo field goals and a 61-yard Richy Turner touchdown catch, but a nine-yard Aaron Bradley touchdown catch with just over three minutes to play was it. The Wolf Pack pulled within 27-22, but the offense stalled with one more shot, and UNLV was able to run out the clock.

at Fresno State 38, UNLV 14
Basically … Derek Carr and Davante Adams hooked up on a 75-yard touchdown pass nine seconds into the game, and the two worked together on a 28-yard scoring play late in the third on the way to a 21-0 lead. Shaquille Evans put UNLV on the board with a 73-yard touchdown run, but Carr and Adams were at it again less than two minutes later on a 36-yard pass play. Just when UNLV looked like it was going to make it really interesting after a 13-yard Marcus Sullivan score late in the first half, Adams and Carr came up with one last touchdown from 37 yards away in the third. The Rebels didn’t score in the second half.
- David Carr really might not be the best quarterback to ever play at Fresno State. He might be the most talented player the program has ever had, but Derek Carr is putting up obnoxious numbers, completing 33-of-48 passes for 412 yards and four scores. Davante Adams was certainly a big help catching eight passes for 221 yards and four scores.
- Caleb Herring wasn’t his normal, accurate self, completing 27-of-42 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown, but he kept pushing – the offense just didn’t go anywhere in the second half. Fresno State did a nice job of bottling up the Rebel ground game, and Herring and the passing game couldn’t come through.
- The Rebels won’t get bombed on by Nevada’s Cody Fajardo next week, but it could have a problem if the pass rush doesn’t get to him. After this week’s problems against Derek Carr, dealing with San Jose State’s David Fales in two weeks could be a big, big concern in a game the Rebels will need to have.
- Fresno State is making the big offensive performances look routine. It should take more of an effort to get by San Diego State on the road and Nevada to follow, but it’s going to take a strong focus to not start hearing all the BCS talk. The only thing that can beat the Bulldogs is complacency. Carr is too good a veteran to allow that to happen.

at UNLV 39, Hawaii 37
Basically … UNLV survived a furious Hawaii rally with a game-winning 44-yard Nolan Kohorst field goal as time ran out. The Rebels had a 36-17 lead in the fourth quarter helped by three Kohorst field goals and two Tim Cornett short touchdown runs, but Hawaii roared back with Sean Schroeder hitting Steven Lakalaka from 48 yards out and Chris Gant for a 44-yard strike for the lead with just under two minutes to play. The Rebels went 51 yards in 12 plays and 1:39 to set up Kohorst for the win.
- Now UNLV is coming through in the clutch. With a fourth win in a row, the timing is perfect with the tough part of the schedule coming up, but the offense is clicking. Caleb Herring continues to be terrific, throwing for 385 yards and a score while leading the way to the game-winning score, and Tim Cornett had another all-star game with 162 yards and two scores on 29 carries. The receivers are explosive, the defense hasn’t been bad, and now the team is hot. The program hasn’t seen this in a long, long time.
- Sean Schroeder almost pulled it off. He got hot late and finished with 325 yards and four scores, but the defense couldn’t come up with one final stop. This could’ve been Hawaii’s big moment to come up with the first win of the season, but it’s just another close loss that could’ve gone the other way. The team is playing far better than it did last year, but it’s still a winless season so far.

UNLV 56, at New Mexico 42
Basically … Tim Cornett ran for three touchdowns including a 75-yard dash with just over three minutes to play to put the Rebels ahead for good in a wild shootout. New Mexico got up 14-0 in the first quarter, and then it was see-saw the rest of the way with quarterback Cole Gautsche running for two scores in the second quarter and hitting Carlos Wiggins for a 43-yard touchdown in the third, but the Rebel offense kept on coming with Caleb Herring and Devante Davis connecting on touchdown passes from 11 and seven yards in the second half to help give UNLV the lead, and then Cornett sealed it. The two teams combined for 1,149 yards of total offense.
- The New Mexico running game was phenomenal, cranking out 497 yards averaging 8.4 yards per carry with three 100-yard rushers – and the team lost. Kasey Carrier ran at will, and receiver Carlos Wiggins was a weapon on his three carries. The D just couldn’t hold up late.
- This is how the UNLV offense is supposed to work. Caleb Herring brought the team back late and finished with four touchdown passes, while Tim Cornett had an all-star night. Meanwhile Devante Davis exploded with 164 yards and three scores on ten catches.
- There wasn’t a lot of defense being played, but UNLV’s Peni Vea and Tani Maka got in on lots and lots of tackles, combining for 23. Way, way too many of them were made down the field – the Rebels were chasing. A lot.
- This was a killer for Lobo bowl hopes. In the budget for six wins, beating UTSA and UNLV at home were a must. It’s going to be hard to win five of the next eight games with a tough Mountain West slate ahead. This was supposed to be the layup.

at UNLV 38, Western Illinois 7
Basically … Tim Cornett ran for scores from three and 42 yards out, and Adonis Smith added touchdown runs from four and 16 yards out on the way to an easy win. Down 31-0, WIU got on the board with an 11-yard Joey Borsellino run, but the Rebels answered with Smith’s second scoring run.
- This might have been the sharpest game in the Bobby Hauck era. No penalties, no turnovers, smart, efficient offense, tight defense. It all worked. The Rebels took control of the game early on and didn’t let it turn into a game.
- Caleb Herring has been a huge different. He followed up a nice day against Central Michigan by completing 14-of-20 passes for 140 yards and a score, and he ran for 57 yards. He didn’t make any mistakes and he made all the right decisions.

at UNLV 31, Central Michigan 21, Sept. 14
Basically … Central Michigan took a 21-0 lead on two three-yard Saylor Lavallii touchdown runs and a 20-yard Titus Davis scoring grab, and then it was all UNLV the rest of the way with 31 unanswered points. Caleb Herring connected with Devante Davis on touchdown passes from 12, 42 and 12 yards out, and Tim Cornett ran for a 12-yard score in the rally for the win.
- For the moment, this was a program and job saver for UNLV’s Bobby Hauck. Central Michigan has had a nightmare start to the season, and to get down 21 at home was a disaster. The second half was what the Rebel offense can become.
- Central Michigan really, really misses Zurlon Tipton and a steady running game. It should’ve been able to hold on to a 21-point lead, and couldn’t. Saylor Lavallii has been good, but he was held to 3.4 yards per carry and no one else picked up the slack.
- Caleb Herring was on. He might not have gotten the offense going early, but he completed 24-of-28 passes for 266 yards and three scores, finding a weapon in Devante Davis, who caught seven passes for 140 yards and three scores. There’s potential with this UNLV attack, and finally, it stopped making the big mistakes that proved costly over the first few games.
- Titus Davis continues to have a great year for a bad Chippewa team. He caught eight passes for 116 yards and a score, but he’s not getting enough help.

Arizona 58, at UNLV 13, Sept. 7
Basically … Arizona jumped all over UNLV as Ka’Deem Carey was fresh off his suspension running for scores from 58 and 12 yards out to go along with two first quarter touchdown runs from quarterback B.J. Denker. The defense got into the act late in the first half with pick-sixes from Jake Fischer and Tra’Mayne Bondurant for a 49-6 halftime lead. UNLV didn’t get into the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter on a 79-yard Shaquille Murray-Lawrence run. Jake Smith added three field goals for the Wildcats.
- UNLV has to figure out how to stop giving up devastatingly massive negative plays. Minnesota came up with a slew of huge home runs from the defense and special teams, and Arizona’s two interception returns for scores blew the game wide open.
- Everyone runs well in the Arizona offense, but Ka’Deem Carey takes the attack to a different level. He was fresh, averaging close to 11 yards per carry and cranking things up for the offense early on.
- B.J. Denker has to be more accurate to keep the Arizona starting quarterback job. He ran for 63 yards and two big scores, but he only completed 8-of-21 passes for 81 yards.
- UNLV has experience and offensive punch, but it can’t seem to find any sort of consistency. Tim Cornett was bottled up by the Wildcats, running for just 62 yards on 15 carries, and Nick Sherry couldn’t take advantage completing just 6-of-22 passes for 111 yards and a score with pick-sixes.

at Minnesota 51, UNLV 23, Aug. 29
Basically … Minnesota came up with big play after big play to blow open a tight game. Marcus Jones started out the second half with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, Martez Shabazz returned a blocked field goal 51 yards for a score, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned an interception 89 yards for a score as part of a 28-3 second half run.
- Don’t be fooled by the final score; Minnesota’s offense didn’t exactly rock. The Gophers were outgained 419 yards to 320.
- Again, don’t be fooled by the final score; UNLV played better overall. Once again, though, the little things became the big problem for the Rebels. The special teams were a disaster, and the mistakes were crushing. The team almost never capitalized on the moment.
- Tim Cornett ran well, coming up with 80 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, but Nick Sherry carried the UNLV offense with dink and dunks. However, he struggled to turn drives into points.
- Minnesota QB Philip Nelson completed just 10-of-22 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown with a pick, but he led the team with 83 rushing yards and two scores. The Gopher O line failed to generate any sort of a consistent push. Donnell Kirkwood couldn’t find any room to move before going out with an injury.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited Okay, enough is enough. Head coach Bobby Hauck has been around long enough to have what he wants in place, and while this is still a relatively young team, it’s also full of veterans with 20 starters returning. The offense can’t help but be better with the return of big bomber Nick Sherry and excellent senior running back Tim Cornett. All the top receivers are back along with almost everyone on defense including the entire secondary and all four starters on the line. Not only do the Rebels have the starters, they have the depth to fight for jobs.

Why To Be Grouchy Even with all the returning talent, can anyone actually play? There were some stunners last season, but for the most part the team got obliterated time and again. The offensive line that was such a positive at times is one of the few places that takes a hit losing tackle Yusef Rodgers and guard Doug Zismann on the right side. There’s only one starter gone on defense, but linebacker John Lotuleilei was the best player and heart-and-soul leader.

What Needs Working On First and foremost, the passing game has to be more efficient and more effective. Sherry was thrown to the wolves, and it showed at times starting out the year throwing three picks in the loss to Minnesota, and closing out throwing three more interceptions in the loss to Hawaii. He was able to get things moving against the nation’s worst defense, Louisiana Tech, but overall he made too many mistakes and there were rarely any big plays down the field. No one feared the Rebel passing game, and that has to change coming out of spring ball.

Team Concerns For 2013: Just get a few wins. The Rebels aren't used to being anything more than a punching bag, but with 20 starters returning it's time to finally start producing. The defense has to be better against the decent passing teams and has to be far, far better at getting off the field after allowing opponents convert 46% of their third down chances and a whopping 52% of their fourth down tries. The running game found something with Tim Cornett turning in a good year, but the painfully inefficient passing game has to get more from the receivers down the field.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... JUCO transfers. UNLV is always in a desperation WIN NOW mode, but there are a few nice high school gets for the offense led by running back Keith Whitely from Texas. However, Bobby Hauck is looking to improve the defense immediately with four defensive end JUCO transfers with Austin Koki and Pingi Moli from Mount San Antonio in California and Efrem Clark leading the way. Two more JUCO types - Damon Collins and Kori Gaines - are in at corner, while Jack Killian and guard C.J. Backlund will be part of the rotation right away.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 89. That Class Was Heavy On ... Head coach Bobby Hauck has done a good job on the recruiting trail over his first few seasons, but it hasn’t shown on the field. He wants his team to be far more physical on both sides, but he’s not doing too much for the offensive line with the defense expected to get more talent coming off a few deep classes of defenders. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 89. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. The last two classes focused on the defense, with the 2009 haul loading up on defensive back. This class is trying to get more pop for the offense with a few decent quarterback prospects, led by JUCO transfer Sean Reilly, and the star of the entire class is JUCO linebacker Princeton Jackson, but the best position is corner. Fred Wilson and safety-sized Brandon Baker promising for down the line, while JUCO transfer Kenneth Spigner has to make a splash right away.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 100. That Class Was Heavy On ... Key defensive linemen. Bobby Hauck didn't have much time to put together the recruiting class he might have wanted, but he did a good job of sprinkling in some star prospects with the bulk. Only two defensive linemen were brought in, but tackle Desmond Tautofi could be a cornerstone tackle while Ian Bobak should be a pass rushing terror with a little bit of time. Overall, Houck wants a more physical team, and this class should be a good start. 

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 81. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. While this is a class full of variety, there isn’t a lot of star power. JUCO defensive end B.J. Bell will be asked to shine right away, Jordan Barrett is a top-shelf outside linebacker prospect, and the defensive backs should be solid. JUCO transfers Mike Grant and Warren Ziegler will provide instant depth at corner, while Courtney Bridget is a tall, promising corner for the other side. Chase Childers is a fast safety.


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