Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009 | 2 a.m.
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Ryan Greene and Rob Miech break down UNLV's last-second 23-21 defeat at the hands of Oregon State, which was similar to several games the Rebels let slip from their grasp just a year ago. The guys look at what went wrong, and whether you can expect Mike Sanford's club to still have its edge next Saturday when Hawaii comes to town ... and beyond.
- UNLV-OSU box score
- Series of mistakes doom UNLV in 23-21 loss to Oregon State
- Instant analysis: Close game with Oregon State something to build on
- NFL rookie Frank Summers back to support UNLV
- OSU quarterback stays calm, orchestrates winning drive
- James and Jacquizz Rodgers power Oregon State
- UNLV fan photos
- Opponent: Hawaii
- Date: Sept. 19, 8 p.m.
- Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
- TV: The Mtn., Cox ch. 334
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
It's never easy to hand over the reins to an offense, but Omar Clayton knew it was about that time.
After the UNLV junior quarterback took a hit from behind late in the third quarter, he was hobbling around for the next couple of plays, unable to move without a significant limp.
"I don't think it's anything big like last year," said Clayton, who suffered a torn MCL in last season's ninth game against TCU. "Just a bit of discomfort, and it was keeping me from going full speed. When I'm in a position like that, I've gotta make a decision to do what's best for my team."
At that point, it was to let sophomore backup Mike Clausen take over.
Clayton finished the night going 18-of-26 for 170 yards, one score and an early interception. Clausen went 6-of-9 for 58 yards and two key fourth quarter touchdown passes. The second of those TD tosses gave UNLV its first lead of the night at 21-20 with just over four minutes to play.
Clayton's status for next week's game against Hawaii is unknown, but it's not believed at the moment that his knee is of any cause for serious concern.
"Omar sprained his knee," Rebels coach Mike Sanford said. "It was a little stiff. When they examined, there was nothing specific that they saw that was wrong. Now, there may be something that shows up in an MRI that I don't know about, but he was stiff and felt like he couldn't run well enough, and felt that it was better for his team if he didn't play, because he wasn't at his best."
Elsewhere on the injury report
Senior defensive end/linebacker Jason Beauchamp didn't see his first action until late in the first half, and was limited in his snaps played due to a right ankle sprain suffered in last week's opener.
But he made his time on the field count, finishing with five solo tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
After each of his big hits on OSU quarterback Sean Canfield late in the fourth quarter, he got down on one knee in celebration and pointed to the ankle.
Senior defensive end Malo Taumua also received some treatment for a minor foot injury, but came back during the third quarter. He finished the night with four tackles and a sack.
Sanford resorted to the 'no comment' route regarding the key pass interference call in the fourth quarter against Deante' Purvis.
After the play, the coaching staff was signaling to the refs almost in unison, saying both that the ball may have been tipped and that it could have been ruled uncatchable.
"I'm not gonna comment at all on the officiating or anything," he said. "Not gonna comment."
Quite the atmosphere
Sanford was pleased overall with the atmosphere on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, with several of the 25,967 on hand staying until the end.
Roughly 8,000 of those in attendance were donning Oregon State orange and black.
"I loved how the fans came out today," he said. "I love how the stadium was electric at the end. That was exciting, and I think we gave them a reason for it to be electric."
Sanford added that he hopes the fans turn out in force for the Rebels' remaining five home games. He can probably depend on near-capacity crowds for at least the next three, as Hawaii (Sept. 19), BYU (Oct. 10) and Utah (Oct. 17) are next up on the home slate.
Other notable showings
Senior linebacker Starr Fuimaono led the Rebels in tackles for the second consecutive game, notching 12 stops and one for a loss.
Junior cornerback Quinton Pointer had eight tackles and a sack to his credit.
On offense, Ryan Wolfe was the Rebels' leading receiver, catching nine passes for 91 yards, while Rodelin Anthony had five grabs for 57 yards and two scores. Phillip Payne had six catches for 46 yards and the aforementioned go-ahead touchdown.
What's on tap
UNLV will face Hawaii next Saturday at 8 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium before heading on the road for the two weeks that follow.
Hawaii downed Washington State earlier in the day up in Pullman, 38-20.
The Warriors led the Cougars back into it a bit after leading 35-0 late in the first half behind a stellar showing from quarterback Greg Alexander, who finished the day 26-of-36 for 453 yards and three touchdowns.
The 2-0 Warriors last visited Sam Boyd Stadium in 2007, defeating the Rebels 49-14. UNLV is 6-12 all-time against Hawaii, having lost the last two meetings.
Elsewhere in the Mountain West Conference
The MWC went 5-4 overall on Saturday, with the most resounding win coming from No. 9 BYU, who followed up its 14-13 upset of then-No. 3 Oklahoma with a 54-3 blowout at Tulane.
No. 16 TCU opened its season in solid fashion at Virginia, winning 30-14. Utah went on the road to edge San Jose State, 24-14, while San Diego State gave Brady Hoke his first win with the Aztecs, 35-19 over Southern Utah.
Colorado State held on late, improving to 2-0 with a 24-23 victory over Weber State in Fort Collins.
Wyoming was with Texas for one half, but got smoked in the second, falling 41-10 in Laramie, while New Mexico was blasted for the second straight week under first-year coach Mike Locksley, 44-10 at home against Tulsa.
Closing things out, Air Force gave up 17 fourth-quarter points in a 20-13 loss at Minnesota. It was the first game ever played at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
This and that ...
With his nine receptions, Ryan Wolfe is now tied with Colorado State's David Anderson on the MWC's all-time list at 223. Wolfe is eight away from tying Wyoming's Ryan McGuffey at 231. The all-time high belongs to SDSU's J.R. Tolver at 262 ... Kyle Watson was 3-for-3 on extra point attempts, tying him for a school record with 45 consecutive conversions. He's tied with Dillon Pieffer and Jim Cook ... Omar Clayton now has a touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games played, which puts him four behind BYU's John Beck (15) on the Mountain West's all-time list.