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Cowboy-ed up: Rebels’ road woes continue with 30-27 loss

Inefficiency in the red zone leaves UNLV at 2-2 with tough road ahead

UNLV vs Wyoming

UNLV loses its 20th consecutive road conference game, 30-27, at Wyoming.

UNLV vs. Wyoming

Wyoming defender Josh Biezuns (44) tackles UNLV running back Channing Trotter during Wyoming's 30-27 win Saturday in Laramie, Wyo. Launch slideshow »

Next game

  • Opponent: UNR
  • Date: Oct. 3, 1 p.m. PDT
  • Where: Reno, Nev.
  • TV: None
  • Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The last thing UNLV should have felt coming into Saturday's Mountain West Conference opener was comfort.

The Rebels had not only nearly given their coaches and fans heart attacks with late-game dramatics the previous two weeks, but also hadn't won a road game in league play in their last 19 tries.

Well, now, make that 20, thanks to a 30-27 loss to Wyoming at War Memorial Stadium.

After the game, senior linebacker Jason Beauchamp hinted that he sensed some of the Rebels may have felt too comfortable walking into what turned out to be a bee hive masked as the home of a struggling 1-2 ball club.

"These last couple weeks, we felt like we'd done some things, and we've got guys looking forward to the whole Mountain West and the conference and everything, and just started assuming, 'Oh, we're predicted to beat these guys, so lets beat 'em,'" Beauchamp said. "The whole thing was we just felt like we were going to win, guys were getting too comfortable, that's all that was."

Beauchamp made the revelation in response to a question asking whether the team began to tense up at all as it found itself in yet another need-to-score, need-to-get-a-stop situation late in the game.

The truth was, however, that the game should have never come down to that.

UNLV left plenty of points on the board, and Wyoming responded in a fashion it hadn't shown yet under first-year coach Dave Christensen, who was best known for the prolific offense he coordinated at Missouri in recent seasons.

True freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, making his first career start at the helm of Christensen's complex scheme, went 24-of-37 for 234 yards and three touchdown passes.

His first career scoring toss, which tied the game at 13-13 late in the first half, snapped a 10-quarter drought without a touchdown for the Cowboys offense.

Had UNLV done what it typically does best earlier in the half, Wyoming could have been on the ropes at the break instead of believing it could pull off the upset.

"What I told our team is, today, we didn't do what we do, and what we do is score in the red zone," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "Today, we didn't score touchdowns in the red zone. We've got to do that to win a game like this."

The Rebels, who tied with Ohio State last season as the nation's most efficient red zone offense, first had a chance to take control in the second quarter, when leading 7-6, but instead settled for a 28-yard Kyle Watson field goal.

Then, another opportunity presented itself out of seemingly nowhere, when a miscommunication led to Wyoming attempting a fake punt pass on fourth-and-four from its own 26-yard line midway through the second.

The blown risk left UNLV with a chance to take a two-score lead, but again the Rebels walked away with a chip-shot field goal from Watson.

UNLV's lone blown red zone try in the second half hurt more than the field goals.

Omar Clayton threw the first of his two interceptions on the team's first possession in the third quarter, with Tashaun Gipson jumping a slant pass to Phillip Payne at the goal line.

Gipson would pick him off yet again with the score tied, 27-27, and just under eight minutes to play in the game. This time, however, it was right on the heels of Carta-Samuels' third touchdown pass of the game and gave Wyoming all the momentum it needed.

UNLV would get one more shot with the ball after Wyoming's Ian Watts put the Cowboys up 30-27 with 4:21 to play.

The Rebels got the ball down to the Pokes' 28-yard line, called a timeout while facing a fourth-and-three, and decided to let Watson attempt to tie the game with just over a minute to go. Then, UNLV suffered a delay of game flag, and a 50-yard field goal try never touched Watson's foot, as Brendon Lamers' hold slipped away and the 19,196 on hand erupted.

"It was a snap directly to a spot, and I put it down and some how, some way, the ball moved — obviously, my fault," Lamers said. "The ball was tilted a little bit, Kyle hesitated to hit the ball, and then it just somehow went forward. It just somehow got pushed forward."

When points are left on the board and opportunities to take control are lost, those are the kinds of quirky things that can happen late, and by now, the Rebels know it all too well.

All in all, UNLV scored on five of its six trips inside of Wyoming's 20-yard line, but the two field goals and interception thrown stood out like sore thumbs.

A season that was given new life a week ago with a dramatic 34-33 victory over Hawaii at home now is once again hanging in the balance.

And, once again, the 2-2 Rebels have no time to pout, as they have to scoop themselves up for another emotional bout next Saturday on the road against UNR, which dropped to 0-3 with a nationally televised loss to Missouri on Friday night.

To look a little further ahead, UNLV will have to worry about MWC heavyweights BYU and Utah in the following weeks. In other words, for a team with postseason hopes, games like Saturday's setback in Wyoming could be considered crucial.

"After a tough loss against Oregon State, I thought we were able to do that," Clayton said. "Not only is next week a game, next week is UNR. It's the battle for the (Fremont) cannon. I haven't had it since I've been here. It's a very crucial game for us. I'll be ready to think about UNR tomorrow. I'll let this one hurt a little bit, because that's what needs to happen."

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  1. The talk of a Wyomings hurry up offense a problem to our UNLV Defense.Well that shouldn't be a problem to a good defense.
    However if the defensive players(unit) await instruction from the coach on the sideline per every down, whom must wait and signal in direction to the defense as soon as he sees what formation the opponent shows . Hell ,a HURRY UP OFFENSE IS A BIG PROBLEM.
    Our vunerability was exposed and violated.

  2. Excuses instead of wins. Same shi7, different year.

    No comment from the coaching staff on how in the hell we got a delay of game coming out of a TIME OUT, huh?

    Typical.

    UNR will destroy us next week. If Therrel and our pathetic defense can't stop first year coach and a true freshman QB in his first start, Kapernick/Ault are going to have a field day. . . again.

    We've all seen this before. You know this is the loss that sends us into our obligatory annual tail spin.

    Looking forward to basketball season and the end of the Sanford failing era.

  3. Utah went 22-2 in two seasons under Urban Meyer and Mike Sanford. In the past four seasons Meyer has a record of 48-9 at UF and Sanford has a record of 13-38 at UNLV. So much for the "great offensive mind" that the Rebels were suppose to get in Sanford. It looks like the coaching and the "system" went to UF.

  4. The whuppin in Wyoming is a real lesson in reality. UNLV is bush league in football...

    To all the dreamers: dream on and hope beyond hope that UNLV will ever be a match equal to Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, Florida, LS, Oklahoma, Texas...its not going to happen folks!

    Dreamers can dream: UNLV=new coach=big time coach=new team strategy=move to big time football league=national recognitiion=play in post season national bowl games like National Championship=a national football champion at UNLV... Don't dream too hard...it ain't gonna happen in your lifetime.

  5. @TRUE_FAN

    Your comment is right on point, couldn't have said it better myself.

    Therrell has to be done for at this point doesn't he? Sanford your next. That loss was and is unexcusable. Wyoming sucks and we sucked worse yesterday. How was it even possible?

  6. Please fire Sanford already. These are the same old losses to bad teams. Its not the talent level. Sanford couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag. The team consistently plays below expectations, even when expectations are modest, finish above .500, and behind BYU, Utah and TCU.

    To no avail though. They'll be lucky if they get five wins.

  7. A really tough game next week in Reno playing Nevada.

    Nevada hung right with Missouri driving for the go ahead t d and Lip fumbeled at the three yard line recovered by Missouri

  8. BULLCRAP SANFORD!!!! "Today we didn't do what we do" ??????...... You did EXACTLY what you do... OVER and OVER again. You lost, because your teams, Sanford, no matter how talented or experienced, will always underachieve and lose because they have no leadership. There is a common thread here, and that thread is Mike Sanford. Enough is (and has been) enough.

  9. Basketball.

  10. You know, I have seen it posted in a couple different comment threads how we are dreaming a losing dream.
    I don't think you understand what we want.

    We want to have a winning season.
    We want to win with more consistency then we have been in the past several seasons with Sanford, and even Robinson.
    We want to be fans of a team that is lead by a coaching staff that gets it.
    We want nothing but the best for UNLV football.
    We want the student-athletes to have that sense of victory
    We want the student-athletes to feel support beyond the fair weather fans.
    We want UNLV to be leaders in the Mountain West. It's a good conference with good teams.
    We want a bowl game. Win or lose, it shows that we can be consistant in the regular season. That alone says a lot.

    So you know what, we are going to continue our dreaming as fans, as alumni, as students, as transplanted Las Vegans.
    We are going to keep on dreaming about a reality that can happen, that should happen. We are going to keep on being critical of the coaching losses and we are going to cheer as loud as we want wether by listening to it on the radio, watching the games on T.V. , hanging out in a dusty parking lot tailgating, or from the seats at Sam Boyd.

    U-N-L-V
    UNLV Go, Fight Win.

  11. I will always follow the Rebels. The degree that I earned at UNLV changed my life for the better and I love UNLV and am a true Rebel fan.
    But this was an epic fail, I held too high of hopes for this team, they lost my respect. I will support the Rebels no matter what, but they need to produce on the field. So far UNLV football has accomplished nothing except a W against a WAC team.
    They need to get it together.

  12. Too many mistakes due to non-execution and non-coaching in crucial situations...why did Sanford call two timeouts in the first quarter when we had the ball?? Isn't the idea to keep the defense on their feet and not be so darn predictable. Instead, UNLV gave the Coyboys confidence thinking that they had us figured out - - Oh wait, they did, they won!

  13. I am concerned for the players. Players like Ryan Wolfe and Jason Beauchamp.
    I feel for the freshman recruits that came to the program thinkin there was hope.
    On top of the losses that did not have to happen, the staff has been dishonest.
    It will take a miricle for the players to respond in a positive manner to coaches who may not have control of their team.
    That is a big problem. We are aware of this fact. I think we only hoped the team could overcome odds as a squad without the help of coaches.

    When SDSU played UNLV last year, the Aztec team had just found out the coaches were all being fired. I was at that game. The SDSU players told me that the felt like the coach had no control of the team. The Aztecs tight end told me how they may lose a game and the head coach would not have any thing to say after the game. The players feed off of the coaches. In this case when the players got word the staff was fired, they came together with a spark as a team and beat UNLV.
    I feel like the players may have lost faith.

    It's one thing to have a team that runs itself because you have a players's coach. This seems to be a case of a team full of players and coaches with no answers. Just depression and confusion.

    Sad because the players who really want to go to the next level did not ask for this. The players who came in this year, Juco included thought they were coming to a place that would win as an underdog and allow them to have a part in the wins.

    Instead they were lead astray, hoodwinked, bamboozled. We can still win this year. It will take the players winning by themselves. I just do not know who those leaders on the team may be that can guide the team the way a coach is supposed to.

    If i was a player on the Rebels i can see myself fighting with any player that laughs this week. That or i would transfer.

    Sanford will keep his job. UNLV do not care enough to make the change for the football program.

  14. UNLVbcs,

    I am right with ya on this one. I would be throwing with anyone that even looked at me cockeyed this week. There is absolutley no leadership on this team at all. I posted on another article that Sanford & Therrell needs to be fired right now, this week. Make Todd Berry interim coach & let the search begin for another HC right now, at least Berry has a military background and he might right the ship at this point for the rest of the season. There are plenty of great HC in the D-2 ranks that would a love shot at the D-1 level and there are plenty of great coordinators from top 10 schools just itching for a head job.

    After the game I was listening to the post game and here is Sanford agian with his lame excuses - "Wyoming just wanted this game more then we did".
    Then Therrell added we didn't do what we do as that is get after the QB. What are you kidding me???? This defense sucks!!!!!
    You are the frikkin head coach it is your job to make sure the players want it more then the next team!! Wyoming shouldn't have been within 21 points of UNLV this game. This loss is by far worse then the SDSU loss that ended the rebels season a year ago.

  15. @betonBlack
    yes sir,
    I saw that post of yours. I would take a high school coach from the hood over the attitude these coaches bring. I like Patterson and the o line coach. Besides that we need some goons, monsters, hogs at coaching positions and on the squad. I have seen it for myself.
    When a person walks in a room in any given situation if he is a killer he can recognize the other killers in the room.
    Sorry to be so extreme but as for coaching if you are not a monster on the football field, a head hunter, a QB killer; if you were not that as a player yourself as a coach, maybe you can not see it as a recruiter.
    I take that back, I will only put this on UNLV staff. Then again maybe they do not recruit big time leaders with a loud mouth because they are afraid the student will not do well in Vegas.

    UNLV needs that "i smell blood" element in this situation because someone needs to step up.
    Being a leader takes unique skills. To encourage and be harsh on your team in the same practice or game is an art.

    @BetonBlack for some odd reason i feel like you get where i am coming from.
    I sure get where you are coming from.

    You were most likely a Goon, a monster, a killer on the field. Let's go to practice and coach from the sideline. What can the coaches say after this loss. That would be funny stuff.
    I think the Compton Comets pop warner coaches could get the job done. The pee wee coaches.

  16. UNLV Football coaching audition Oct 8th: Jim Fassel with the LV Locos. Take note Mr. Koloskie...

  17. Where is Ryan Greene? The Rebel Room broadcast, post game show?You guys disgusted? Can't even broadcast.Huh? I feel ya.

  18. Let us not forget that Mike Hamrick, the overpaid and overhyped AD that left for Marshall, said nothing but great things about Sanford when he extended his contract despite another year on the previous contract. Now, UNLV will have to pay bucks to dump Mikey!

  19. moni,

    Had some technical difficulties with the postgame show. We'll have an updated podcast for you early this week. Promise.

    RG

  20. I was always looking to ring some cats dome & was pissed off I didn't do it.

  21. Thanks Ryan ,I really look forward to your broadcasts.You two do a great job.
    Ryan since you are reading our comments<outstanding> thank you.Will you take our subject of Therrell/Sanford-the problem ! use this as your platform in the next Greene room show?You were there, how unsetteled was the defense? thank you.

  22. Fellow Rebel Faithful,

    May I suggest sending the AD Jerry Koloskie an email to fire Sanford. Here is his web address [email protected] I just sent my email stating that I will no longer spend one cent on tickets for football as long as Sanford is head coach. He might not listen to fans but one thing he does understand is the pocket book.

  23. That one hurt. But still, lost two tough games by a total of 5 points. That's better than the product that was on the field when I went there. Still a little early in the season to give up hope just yet.

    GO REBELS!! Bring the cannon home!

  24. Veterans and coaches have to stop younger guys from looking past opponents. Someone said they feel sorry for Wolfe and Beauchamp. I don't. They need to step up, just as much if not more, than our coaches do. They're supposed to be the leaders of this team.

  25. Give the defense back to Bradeson and let that loony quack blitz every down.

  26. @BetOnBlack-

    Wow, what's the UNLV AD going to think when he sees a non-season ticket holder isn't going to spend another dime on UNLV football. That's like someone threatening to stop buying the Las Vegas Sun! Oh, that's right, no one does! Perhaps speeding up the inevitable would be merciful to this program. Only reason they're in the conference is because of a 20-years-ago National Championship in basketball and people from Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado like to come here in the winter.

    Perhaps if more than a hundred Rebel fans had traveled to Laramie to support the team they'd've been a little more inspired? Laramie County Community College girls' soccer travels more fans!

  27. Green_Dragon_Regular - I agree with the last part of what you just said, I just hope the criticism is coming from someone that travels with the team. I wish I could afford to.

  28. BetOnBlack-
    Is saying that if we ALL write to the AD of how we are not supporting Reb.Football anymore. He might hear that. Personally I wrote him and said , "I AM GOING TO STOP GIVING BOOZE to all the 19yr old Kids before the game." If Therrell/Sanford arn't fired.(Just kidding) but actions like BetOnBlack are earnest and real. I'm sure the impact would be greater if WE participate. Maybe instead of writting 8 comment here, 1 to the AD to make a difference .
    Not_EQ_Staff - The Best Idea Yet-!!!
    Coach Brad-A Coach that loves his job ,loves the game and the players love him.

  29. @JerryWayne-

    Not only do I continue to hold the 50 yard line seats that have been in the family for forty years now, I travel to San Diego, Salt Lake City, Provo, Fort Collins, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and Ft. Worth every time I can get away. I've also traveled to Seattle, Knoxville, and College Station. All that in between at least three trips to Laramie a year to watch the Cowboys. W-Y-O!

    Oh yeah, seen quite a few good games at Sam Boyd. Best one yet was against UCLA.

    I did hold UNLV season tickets for four years, but got sick of the thug culture, the drunk-a-s Henderson cops sitting behind me and the AD's office wanting bigger donations to keep my 35 yard line seats.

    UNLV's problem is one of culture. It is not a football school in a city that is not a college town.

    I wish that everone that loves and appreciates college football could travel to as many games as they could and I count my blessings as I look back at all the games I've been to in places like Bryant-Denny, Devaney, Sun Devil, Camp Randal, Hughes, LaVelle, and, of course, War Memorial.