AP Photo/Brad Horn
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009 | 2:28 a.m.
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Ryan Greene and Alex Adeyanju clean up the last bits of UNLV's devastating 63-28 loss at UNR and spin it forward, as life gets no easier for the 2-3 Rebels in the coming weeks.
- Opponent: BYU
- Date: Oct. 10, 7 p.m.
- Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
- TV: The Mtn. (Cox ch. 334)
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
RENO — It appeared as the kind of game that was made to be a shootout.
For a half, UNLV and UNR provided just that on Saturday afternoon at Mackay Stadium.
And following the intermission, it was a one-sided hunting outing for the Wolf Pack. UNR got its first win of the season in alarming 63-28 fashion, keeping the UNLV defense guessing and on its heels the entire time.
Here's a look inside the numbers ... and, boy, were there plenty of them.
773: There's no number which tells the tale of this one better than the amount of total yardage that the UNR offense produced, despite turning it over four times. Had those turnovers never occurred, who knows what the number would have been? It was the most yardage any team in the FBS ranks has registered in a game this season, and the second-most UNLV has ever allowed in a single game. But the worst part for the Rebels was how easy it all seemed to come to Colin Kaepernick & Co. The junior quarterback ran several fake handoffs that turned into lengthy gains, as the defense bit on the fake on nearly every one. And when the 6-foot-6 junior dropped back to throw, he hardly ever saw pressure, and the offense averaged an impressive 10.2 yards per play.
7: UNR only found itself in seven third-down situations all day on offense, converting all seven of them. None kicked dirt in UNLV's face more than a conversion on third-and-16 by the Wolf Pack deep in its own territory on a Kaepernick run. Part of what led to this was how effective the trio of Kaepernick and tailbacks Luke Lippincott and Mike Ball were running the ball on first down plays. UNLV coach Mike Sanford pointed out the offense's inability to answer UNR scores when talking about what went wrong in the second half. But that may have been asking a bit much on this day. The Wolf Pack never had to punt.
184: Desert Pines grad Mike Ball, a redshirt freshman tailback, had one carry for no gain in his UNR career entering Saturday. Against his hometown school, the speedster scored a completely unpredictable five touchdowns on the ground, showing off his incredible open-field speed. He finished with 184 yards on 15 carries, including an 89-yard fourth quarter touchdown run on his final attempt of the day.
276: The effort put up by sophomore quarterback Mike Clausen, on most days, would have been good enough to at least keep his team in the game until the final play. Subbing for the banged-up Omar Clayton, the lefty was 26-of-50 for 276 yards and a touchdown pass. He produced most of that with heavy pressure in his face almost every time he dropped back to pass. It's unknown as of yet whether he'll start next week when BYU comes to Sam Boyd Stadium.
3: A steady ground attack may have been able to help the Rebels keep Kaepernick off the field a bit, but UNLV abandoned it pretty early on. Junior running back Channing Trotter only had three carries on the afternoon, resulting in two yards and a pair of short-yardage touchdowns. He came into the game with 295 yards to his credit, a five-yard-per-carry average and four scores.
15: On top of UNR's four turnovers, the Wolf Pack committed 15 penalties, tying for the fourth-most flags ever drawn in a single game by a UNLV opponent. Those infractions resulted in seven first downs for UNLV and 169 yards, but were completely covered up by the unstoppable offensive showing by the Wolf Pack.
.250: Mike Sanford is now 0-5 in his career against rival UNR, and carries a .250 winning percentage. Blowouts such as Saturday's are typically expected in the first or second year of a new regime, but by the fifth, it can begin to look like an uncomfortable trend. It will be interesting to see if Sanford can regain the focus of his team as it now faces a climb that is beyond uphill in the next two weeks with home games against BYU and Utah. Last week, one measure he took was essentially putting his team on lock-down in terms of speaking with the media. Now we'll see what comes next.