Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010 | 10:30 a.m.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010 | 3:02 p.m.
- Notebook: Payne breaks out in losing effort (10-3-2010)
- Up next for UNLV: West Virginia (10-2-2010)
- Phillip Payne not likely to fade in UNLV’s new offensive system (8-9-2010)
- Notebook: Payne quietly taking big strides in 2009 (10-22-2009)
- Payne out to prove he’s more than just the ‘fade’ (8-16-2009)
- UNLV football notebook: Beefed-up Payne ready for battle (3-10-2009)
- UNLV receiver a rising star looking for the fade (9-18-2008)
- 2010 UNLV Football Stats
- All Sun UNLV football coverage
The UNLV football team took off on a five-hour flight to Pennsylvania on Thursday morning without arguably its best player on board.
Due to disciplinary reasons, junior receiver Phillip Payne was left off the trip and will serve a suspension handed down by first-year coach Bobby Hauck.
UNLV (1-4) takes on Big East powerhouse West Virginia (3-1) at 12:30 p.m. Las Vegas time Saturday in Morgantown, W.V.
The punishment stems from disparaging remarks made by the Las Vegas native and Western High grad on his Twitter page Wednesday afternoon. He could be back on the field next Saturday when the Rebels travel again, facing Colorado State (1-4) at 11 a.m., but at the moment, no length for the suspension has been set.
Payne was a preseason All-Mountain West Conference selection at wide receiver and has enjoyed a strong stretch of late following a slow start.
He is tied for the team lead with 23 catches and leads the Rebels with 389 receiving yards. His two touchdown catches are second on the squad behind fellow junior Michael Johnson.
Last Saturday, in a 44-26 home loss to rival Nevada-Reno, Payne caught eight passes for a career-high 170 yards.
In his first two seasons playing for his hometown school, the 6-foot-3 Payne established himself as one of the nation's most dangerous red zone threats, catching 14 touchdown passes over 21 games in that stretch. That included one of the more memorable plays in UNLV history, as he made an acrobatic one-handed TD grab late in the fourth quarter to help the Rebels knock off then-No. 15 Arizona State on the road, 23-20, on Sept. 13, 2008.
He was recruited to the program by former head coach Mike Sanford, who saw him as a strong fit in his shotgun spread offense. Still, Payne has hardly disappeared under the new regime, which is employing a more balanced offensive approach between the pass and run.
For full pre-game, in-game and post-game coverage of Saturday's matinee at West Virginia, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.Update, 3:02 p.m.
The Sun reported on Thursday morning that Payne's suspension was for one game, though no concrete length of the suspension has been determined. All that is known is that Payne is out for at least Saturday's game West Virginia.