2008 UNLV Rebels Season

Posted Feb 8, 2009

2008 UNLV Rebels Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 UNLV Rebels

Nov. 22
San Diego State 42 … UNLV 21
Ryan Lindley threw two touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers with Corey Boudreaux snuffing out a late drive with an 82-yard pick six as San Diego State closed out its season by breaking a seven-game losing streak. Tyler Campbell ran for two scores including a seven-yarder in the fourth quarter as the Aztecs pulled away in the fourth. UNLV got two Ryan Wolfe touchdown catches from 33 and 24 yards out, but the defense couldn't come up with the late stop needed.
Player of the game: San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley completed 35-of-50 passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Mike Clausen, 26-40, 316 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Clausen, 11-18. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 11-144, 2 TD
San Diego State - Passing: Ryan Lindley, 35-50, 387 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Atiyyah Henderson, 18-64. Receiving: Vincent Brown, 8-119
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Devastating. Simply devastating. With bowl eligibility on the line and actual respectability after years of ugliness, UNLV couldn't stop lowly San Diego State, while the offense picked a horrible time to go into the tank. The Aztec D focused solely on stopping Frank Summers, and Mike Clausen and the passing game couldn't come through. On the plus side, now that the Rebels got a taste of success, the hope has to be that the team will be focused on getting over the hump. There's a chance now of being a player in the Mountain West if there can be more consistency and a few more wins in close games.

- 2008 UNLV Preview
- 2007 UNLV Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 5-7

Aug. 30 Utah State W 27-17
Sept. 6 at Utah L 42-21
Sept. 13 at Ariz St W 23-20 OT
Sept. 20 Iowa State W 34-31 OT
Sept. 27 Nevada L 49-27
Oct. 4 at Colorado State L 41-28
Oct. 11
Oct. 18 Air Force L 29-28
Oct. 25 at BYU L 42-35
Nov. 1 TCU L 44-14
Nov. 8 New Mexico W 27-20
Nov. 13 Wyoming W 22-14
Nov. 22 at San Diego St L 42-21

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 2-10

Aug. 30 at Utah State W 23-16
Sept. 8 Wisconsin L 20-13
Sept. 15 Hawaii L 49-14
Sept. 22 Utah W 27-0
Sept. 29 at Nevada L 27-20
Oct. 6
at Air Force L 31-24
Oct. 13 BYU L 24-14
Oct. 20
Colorado St L 48-23
Oct. 27 at Wyoming L 29-24
Nov. 10 SDSU L 38-30
Nov. 17 at TCU L 34-10
Nov. 24 at New Mexico L 24-6

Nov. 13
UNLV 22 … Wyoming 14
Quinton Porter picked off a Chris Stutzriem pass in the end zone late in the fourth and Kyle Watson kicked three first half field goals as UNLV kept its bowl hopes alive. Wyoming got two Stutzriem touchdown passes with an eight-yarder to Greg Bolling and a 28-yarder to Chris Johnson for a 14-9 lead going into the fourth, but Frank Summer ran for a one-yard touchdown on the first play of the final quarter and Rodelin Anthony caught a 19-yard touchdown pass to pull ahead for good. UNLV controlled the clock holding the ball for 39:07.
Player of the game: UNLV QB Mike Clausen completed 16-of-30 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 13 times for 52 yards.
Stat Leaders: Wyoming - Passing: Chris Stutzriem, 12-21, 143, yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Devin Moore, 18-91. Receiving: Greg Bolling, 4-52, 1 TD
UNLV - Passing: Mike Clausen, 16-30, 138 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 21-75, 1 TD. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 7-53
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV might end up getting squeezed out on the bowl front, but with a win over San Diego State it'll finish 6-6 and come up with a nice turnaround season under Mike Sanford. The team wasn't pretty against Wyoming, but the defense did a great job of getting off the field and QB Mike Clausen had a nice, efficient game without any mistakes. He didn't do anything special, but he made some key third down throws and kept the pressure off Frank Summers. Is the team really ready to come through with a clutch performance? At this point, a loss to the Aztecs would be a disaster.

Nov. 8
UNLV 27 … New Mexico 20
Backup quarterback Mike Clausen, who filled in for an injured Omar Clayton, threw two touchdown passes hitting Rodelin Anthony for a 10-yard score and Frank Summers for a four-yard scoring play as UNLV stunned New Mexico. Anthony chipped in on special teams with a punt return for a touchdown to keep the Rebels ahead. New Mexico held the early lead with a 40-yard run from Bryant Williams in the first and a five-yard run from Rodney Ferguson, but the UNLV defense clamped down late. The Lobos only managed two James Aho field goals in the second half.
Player of the game: UNLV S Jason Beauchamp made 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up a pass.
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 11-25, 128 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 25-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Scarlett, 3-51
UNLV - Passing: Mike Clausen, 17-34, 203 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 16-35. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 7-100
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV showed something against New Mexico it hadn't come up with all that often in the Mike Sanford era: defensive toughness. The Lobos wanted to power the ball, and they wanted to get physical, but the Rebels managed to hang in against the New Mexico offense, even though it allowed 232 rushing yards, and did a great job at keeping the short-range passing game from moving the chains. Mike Clausen was fantastic in place of Omar Clayton, failing to give away a game-changing interception while making the throws he needed to. A bowl dream is back on needing to come up with wins against Wyoming and San Diego State to get eligible.

Nov. 1
TCU 44 … UNLV 14
TCU dominated the Rebels from the start with a swarming defense that allowed a mere 175 yards of total offense and an offense that got seven touchdowns from seven different players. Four of the scores came from four yards and in, while Aaron Brown ran for a 23-yard score. A Brown fumble on a punt return led the way to the first UNLV touchdown, a 15-yard catch from Rodelin Anthony, but the Rebels didn't get on the board again until the final moments on a one-yard David Peeples run.
Player of the game: TCU DE Jerry Hughes made four tackles and two sacks with a forced fumble.
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 5-13, 45 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Channing Trotter, 1-58. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 4-31
TCU - Passing: Andy Dalton, 16-29, 151 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Aaron Brown, 9-60, 1 TD. Receiving: Jimmy Young, 3-42, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV ran into a TCU buzzsaw. This Horned Frog team is among the best in the country, so there's no real reason come down too hard on the Rebels, but there aren't the results to show for an improved team with five straight losses. The final three games against New Mexico, Wyoming, and San Diego State are all winnable, but Omar Clayton has to start pushing the ball down the field a bit more and the defense has to pick itself up off the mat after getting pounded on by TCU.

Oct. 25
BYU 42 … UNLV 35
BYU rallied with a six-yard Dennis Pitta touchdown catch with just under two minutes to play to take the lead, and Andrew Ridge sealed the victory with an interception in the end zone on the final play to thwart UNLV's final drive. The two teams traded shots all game long in a dead-even shootout. Rebel WR Ryan Wolfe caught ten passes for 136 yards with a 15-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth to give the Rebels a one-point lead. BYU got four touchdown passes from Max Hall to go along with short touchdown runs from Fui Vakapuna and Harvey Unga. UNLV's Omar Clayton bombed away all game long, finishing with 321 yards, while Frank Summers ran for two short touchdown runs and Mike Clausen added a two-yarder to tie it at 28 late in the third.
Player of the game: BYU QB Max Hall completed 24-of-31 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran three times for 29 yards
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 26-40, 321 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Michael Johnson, 5-41. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 10-136, 1 TD
BYU - Passing: Max Hall, 24-31, 245 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Harvey Unga, 19-84, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Collie, 7-113
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV is playing well enough to stay alive and be in a position to win games, but it's not actually getting over the hump to get the victories. The team played well in the see-saw loss to BYU. The offense kept the chains moving, the defense prevented the backbreaking home run, Omar Clayton had a good day with a chance late to force overtime. The coaching staff is trying to be creative, there fakes and few quirky plays, but the team didn't come up with enough game-changing plays. Now it's on a four-game losing streak going into a date with TCU.

Oct. 18
Air Force 29 … UNLV 28
Ryan Harrison hit a 19-yard field goal with 2:36 to play and the UNLV offense stalled on its final drive as Air Force came back for the win. Frank Summers gave the Rebels a 28-20 lead with a 45-yard dash early in the fourth quarter, but Air Force came right back with a 44-yard Kyle Halderman touchdown catch. However, the two-point conversion failed and the Falcons were down two. QB Tim Jefferson completed just 6-of-7 passes, but threw two scoring passes including a 28-yarder to Josh Cousins for a 14-0 lead in the first half. UNLV came up with two Omar Clayton touchdown passes including a 28-yarder to Phillip Payne with 14 seconds to play in the first half and a nine-yarder to Casey Flair. The two teams combined for 912 yards of total offense with Air Force running for 346 yards.
Player of the game: Air Force QB Tim Jefferson completed 6-of-7 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran 13 times for 99 yards
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 19-30, 251 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Frank Summer, 11-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Phillip Payne, 6-124, 1 TD
Air Force - Passing: Tim Jefferson, 6-7, 162 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Todd Newell, 22-134, 1 TD. Receiving: Josh Cousins, 2-35, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Omar Clayton was good, the running game was working, and the defense wasn't bad against Air Force for about three quarters. The D couldn't handle the Falcon ground attack, but outside of a few big plays here and there, it was able to do just enough to let the offense take control late in the third quarter. Now come the big dates against BYU and TCU to see just how far the program has come.

Oct. 4
Colorado State 41 … UNLV 28
UNLV held a 28-27 lead late in the game, but Gartrell Johnson ran for a 10-yard score with just nine seconds to play for a 35-28 lead. John Mosure returned a fumble on the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, and Colorado State came up with the thrilling win. Johnson ran for three touchdowns, including two, three-yard scores in the second quarter, and Rashaun Greer caught a 46-yard touchdown for a 27-13 CSU lead going into the fourth, but UNLV came back with Omar Clayton's second touchdown pass of the day, a 21-yarder to Jerriman Robinson, and a one-yard Frank Summer runs for the lead that defense couldn't hold. Colorado State outgained UNLV 510 yards to 347.
Player of the game: Colorado State RB Gartrell Johnson ran 33 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Colorado State - Passing: Billy Farris, 15-21, 294 yds, 1 TD
Gartrell Johnson, 33-101, 3 TD. Receiving: Rashaun Greer, 8-211, 1 TD
- Passing: Omar Clayton, 14-26, 173 yds, 2 TD 1 INT
Frank Summers, 20-109, 1 TD. Receiving: Casey Flair, 5-47, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The offense did what it needed to do to get back in the game against Colorado State and take the lead late, but the defense couldn't come up with the big stop needed. That was the case for most of the game as the Rams pounded the ball at will. Frank Summers was hurting, but he still ran well with a pounding 109 yards, and Omar Clayton was fine throwing the ball. It seemed like the type of game the Rebels were about to steal, but now they're on a two-game losing streak with Air Force, BYU and TCU coming up.

Sept. 27
Nevada 49 … UNLV 27
Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick ran for 240 yards with touchdown runs from four, 66 and 28 yards out, and he connected with Virgil Green for a 40-yard score. UNLV hung tough in the first half with two Omar Clayton touchdown passes, and cut the lead to eight in the third quarter on a seven-yard pass to Ryan Wolfe, and then it was all Nevada with 14 fourth quarter points. The Wolf Pack outgained the Rebels 620 yards to 381.
Player of the game: Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick completed 11-of-16 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 18 times for 240 yards and three touchdowns.  
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 18-38, 327 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Omar Clayton, 12-47. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 8-167, 1 TD
- Passing: Colin Kaepernick, 11-16, 176 yds, 2 TD
Colin Kaepernick, 18-240 yds, 3 TD. Receiving: Mike McCoy, 3-26
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV QB Omar Clayton continues to play well, and he was strong against Nevada with 327 yards and three touchdowns, but the offense runs better when the ground game is working. Frank Summers was all but out of the game plan once it became a shootout, running for just 20 yard on nine carries, while the team finished with just 54 yards on the ground. With Colorado State up next, the run defense has to be far stronger than it was against the Wolf Pack.

Sept. 20
UNLV 34 … Iowa State 31 OT
In a wild finish, Iowa State forced overtime with a 28-yard touchdown catch from R.J. Sumrall with just three seconds to play. Grant Mahoney gave the Cyclones the lead with a 37-yard field goal in overtime, and UNLV needed just one play to answer getting a 25-yard Phillip Payne touchdown catch for the win. The Rebels got up 21-0 in the first half on a 20-yard Omar Clayton touchdown run and scoring passes from 48 yards out to Frank Summers and three yards out to Casey Flair. But Iowa State came back with Austen Arnaud throwing two second half touchdown passes and running for two scores, but UNLV stalled the run with a 12-yard Summers scoring run at the end of the third quarter. Iowa State converted a mere 2-of-14 third down chances. UNLV converted 6-of-12.
Player of the game: UNLV QB Omar Clayton completed 15-of-21 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran seven times for 24 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: UNLV
- Passing: Omar Clayton, 15-21, 235 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 27-109, 1 TD. Receiving: Casey Flair, 7-92, 1 TD
Iowa State
- Passing: Austen Arnaud, 13-23, 155 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Austen Arnaud, 10-51, 2 TD. Receiving: R.J. Sumrall, 4-99, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
UNLV might have blown a 21-point lead to Iowa State, but it showed great resolve by overcoming the momentum swing at the end of regulation to pull off the win. Omar Clayton and Frank Summers provided a steady offensive balance, but now the defense has to prove it can hold up in the second half after dying in two straight games. On the plus side, the Rebels have won two overtime games in a row over BCS conference teams with Nevada coming up next.

Sept. 13
UNLV 23 … Arizona State 20 OT
Kyle Watson hit a 20-yard field goal in overtime, and Malo Taumua blocked the ASU field goal attempt as UNLV stunned the Sun Devils. Arizona State appeared to be cruising with a 20-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter, helped by Rudy Carpenter touchdown passes to Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams from 29 and 49 yards out, respectively, but the Rebels came back with a 20-yard Watson field goal and a brilliant one-handed diving eight-yard touchdown catch from Phillip Payne with 18 seconds to play to force overtime. Payne also caught a two-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Player of the game:
UNLV QB Omar Clayton completed 19-of-31 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and ran eight times for 17 yards.
Stat Leaders: UNLV
- Passing: Omar Clayton, 19-31, 191 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 22-103. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 8-79
Arizona State - Passing: Rudy Carpenter, 13-23, 242 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dimitri Nance, 20-92. Receiving: Kyle Williams, 3-115, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The win over Arizona State could change around the program. Omar Clayton became the team's leader and star in this game as he showed he could take the team on his back for an overtime win over a top team. Frank Summers ran well, but this game was about Clayton and his ability to move the ball. Also give credit to a defense that kept the high-octane Sun Devils in check. Now the team has to take the momentum of this win and become a factor in Mountain West play.

Sept. 6
Utah 42 … UNLV 21
It took a half for Utah to get rolling, but the floodgates opened and UNLV couldn't do anything to close them. The Rebels got up 14-7 on two short touchdown runs from Frank Summers, but Brian Johnson kept the Utes alive with a 56-yard touchdown run. And then came the scoring run. Matt Asiata scores on a two-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half leading Utah to 28 straight points. Brian Johnson threw two touchdown passes and Asiata hit Jerome Brooks for a 32-yard score. The two teams combined for 20 penalties for 140 yards.
Player of the game:
 Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 15-of-25 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran five times for 80 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 19-30, 150 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 23-87, 2 TD  Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 9-61
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 15-24, 183 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brian Johnson, 5-80, 1 TD. Receiving: Brent Casteel, 4-35

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UNLV's spread worked for a little while against Utah, but the most effective element of the attack remains Frank Summers running the ball. He only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, but he took the pressure off Omar Clayton and the passing game. Now there has to be more overall production to keep up when teams like Utah get hot; the defense isn't good enough to be a brick wall. The Rebels have to learn how to keep up in a firefight.

Aug. 30
UNLV 27 ... Utah State 17
UNLV had no problems with Utah State as Omar Clayton and Ryan Wolfe hooked up on touchdown passes from nine and 32 yards out and Phillip Payne caught a seven-yard scoring strike for a 24-7 Rebel lead. Utah State managed a one-yard Robert Turbin touchdown run in the second quarter and pulled within ten on a six-yard Nmandi Gwacham catch with just over two minutes to play, but the Aggies never threatened over the final 35 minutes.
Player of the game: UNLV QB Omar Clayton completed 17 of 29 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Utah State - Passing: Sean Setzer, 10-17, 123 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Diondre Borel, 15-70. Receiving: Doug Barbour, 4-41
UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 17-29, 192 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 14-87. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 7-103, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The win over Utah State was more dominant than the 27-17 score might indicate. Omar Clayton was in command of the passing game, Frank Summers ran well, and the defense had a good day keeping the Aggies at arm's length after the first quarter. The line allowed a few too many plays in the backfield and there was little pass rush from the Rebel front, but it was a decent performance to build on going into Utah.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

David Blair  6-2  220  LB  Tempe, Ariz. (McClintock HS)
A fast but powerful linebacker who could see immediate playing time for the Rebels this fall...Ranked the No. 16 middle linebacker recruit in the nation by Scout and No. 55 ILB by ESPN Insider...One of four UNLV signees from the Grand Canyon State this year...A PrepStar West Coast All-Region honoree from McClintock HS...Starred for three years as a big-hitter on both sides of the ball for coach Steve Campbell and then coach Mike Gibbons...Named all-region all three seasons, all-city the last two seasons and to the Arizona Republic's All-Arizona High School Football Team as a senior...Ranked the state's No. 1 LB heading into senior campaign during which he registered 146 total tackles, including two 20-takedown nights to go with 4.5 QB sacks...Also lined up at FB for the Chargers and rushed for 125 yards on 26 carries in 2007...As a junior finished with 120 tackles and 106 yards rushing...Had 132 tackles as a sophomore...Has squatted over 475 pounds and power-cleaned more then 320...Chose the Rebels over San Diego State and Army.

Potential Instant Impact Players

C.J. Cox  5-11  190  RB  Garland, Texas (North Garland HS)
A talented two-way player who will begin his collegiate career in the Rebel backfield...Ranked as the No. 76 safety prospect in the nation by Scout...Prepped at North Garland HS in the football hotbed of Texas...One of four recruits from the Lone Star State to ink with the Rebels...Hails from the same city as current UNLV DB Michael Johnson...Lettered three years for the Raiders...Rushed for 450 yards and four TDs and recorded 70 tackles and forced two fumbles as a safety his senior season...Made 81 tackles, picked off two passes and forced three fumbles as a junior.

Sean Tesoro
  6-2  290  OL  Kahului, Hawaii (Baldwin HS)
A talented offensive lineman who was a PrepStar West Coast All-Region honoree...One of two Hawaiians to sign with the Rebels this year...Ranked the No. 56 OG prospect in the nation by ESPN Insider and No. 56 by Scout...A three-year letterwinner at Baldwin HS under coach Jimmy Morimoto, who is now an assistant video coordinator at UNLV...In his three varsity seasons the Bears had a combined record of 30-4-1, with three of those losses coming in state semifinal games...Named a first team Maui Interscholastic League All-Star as a senior...Ranked the 58th-best offensive guard in the country by Scout.com.

Rest of the Class

Jesse Backerman 6-3 230 DE Tucson, Ariz (Marana HS)
Beau Brence 6-4 235 DE Plano, Texas (Plano Senior HS)
Gordy Cooper 6-5 215 WR San Jacinto, Calif. (San Jacinto HS)
Jason Heath 6-4 265 OL Penryn, Calif. (Del Oro HS)
Michael Johnson 5-8 170 ATH Suisun, Calif. (Rodriguez HS)
Chris Jones 6-3 190 QB Las Vegas, Nev. (Shadow Ridge HS)
Daniel Kaanana 6-5 270 OL Pearl City, Hawaii (Kamehameha HS)
Jason Koontz 6-2 295 OL Corona, Calif. (Santiago HS)
Heivaha Mafi 6-2 235 DE Oakland, Calif. (Laney College)
Litani Moimoi 6-3 270 DT Menlo Park, Calif. (Menlo-Atherton HS)
Beau Orth 6-1 200 WR Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman HS)
Phillip Payne 6-3 185 WR Las Vegas, Nev. (Western HS)
Robert Rowe 6-2 195 ATH Tucson, Ariz. (Marana HS)
Bennielee Shelby 6-3 260 DL Greenville, Texas (Greenville HS)
Gerome Surrell 5-11 200 WR Lathrop, Calif. (St. Mary's HS)
Imari Thompson 5-9 195 RB DeSoto, Texas (Cedar Hill HS)
Travis Trickey 6-3 225 LB Springerville, Ariz. (Round Valley HS)
Shane Watterson 6-5 280 OL Saugus, Calif. (Saugus HS)
Alex Young 6-4 235 TE Hughson, Calif. (Central Catholic HS)

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: Last year was supposed to be a step back to hopefully take a big leap forward. The offense went to a youth movement in some areas, mostly at quarterback, and now it should pay off with experience just about everywhere. Only one starter is gone off the offense and just enough talent returns on defense to hope for an improvement. This needs to finally be the year the Mike Sanford spread offense finally gets going.
Why to be grouchy: Is Omar Clayton going to be ready to go at quarterback? How much of a challenge will Travis Dixon pose for the job, and will Rocky Hinds be back in the mix? The quarterback situation is the biggest call of the off-season for a team that desperately needs this to be a rock-steady area for a full season. Considering everyone seems to be able to put up big numbers using the spread attack, if Sanford's team is last in the Mountain West, and around 111th in the nation in scoring offense again, there will be a new era in Rebel football next year at this time.
The number one thing to work on is: Better line play. The passing game was inefficient partly because the O line gave up way too many sacks. Sure, the stats might be a bit skewed since running quarterbacks will tend to get dropped for losses more than most, but the line wasn't a positive. The defensive line got a few sacks, but didn't make nearly enough plays in the backfield.
Biggest offensive loss: OG Tim Goins
Biggest defensive loss: LB Beau Bell
Best returning offensive player: RB Frank Summers, Sr.
Best returning defensive player:
DE Jeremy Geathers, Sr.

2007 Recap
While it wasn't evident in the program's 2-10 record, the Rebels made some strides in Mike Sanford's third season in Las Vegas, nearly upsetting Wisconsin in Week 2 and rarely being overmatched in the trenches.  Still, an eight-game losing streak to close out the year and a third straight two-win season is no way to ensure job security for a coach that was supposed to elevate this team to the top half of the Mountain West.  While UNLV mined a gem from the JUCO ranks in RB Frank Summers, the rest of the offense struggled with a lack experience, especially behind center.           

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Frank Summers

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Beau Bell

Biggest Surprise: Sanford picked up his first signature win with the Rebels on Sept. 22, handing former employer Utah its first shutout in 14 years.  UNLV got 190 yards and three touchdowns from Summers, reaching .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2003.   

Biggest Disappointment: In the year of the improbable, UNLV nearly delivered a whopper of an upset on Sept. 8, taking No. 5 Wisconsin to the wire before relinquishing the lead with two minutes remaining.  Even as four-touchdown underdogs, the Rebels wanted nothing to do with moral victories after failing to close this game out.

Looking Ahead: All of Sanford's hard work, aggressive recruiting, and commitment to youth should culminate in a breakthrough season for UNLV in 2008.  If not, the coach and his staff will likely be out of work this time next year.


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