UNLV football:

Rebels capture winning feeling with dominating victory against New Mexico

Two UNLV rushers eclipsed 100 yards for the first time since 2002, and the Rebels controlled this game far better than any other this season

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Steve Marcus

UNLV players Doug Zismann and Bradley Randle leave the field after UNLV’s game against New Mexico at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. UNLV beat New Mexico 35-7.

UNLV Beats New Mexico at Sam Boyd

UNLV's Bradley Randle, center, outruns a host of New Mexico defenders for a touchdown at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Launch slideshow »

After a nearly perfectly played game on a perfect Saturday afternoon in Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck basked in how much fun this game can be when you’re not losing all the time.

The view from the sidelines in UNLV’s 35-7 victory against New Mexico was the same as most games, he said, except the Rebels actually made some plays down the stretch. That’s sort of like saying the view at the dance club was the same as it always is except the Rebel Girls were there. The difference matters.

“We’ve got to do that more often,” Hauck said. “That was fun.”

Saturday was the start of a key four-game stretch that could have the Rebels favored each week. Next week they travel to Colorado State, whose only conference victory came against Hawaii. The Rebels finish the season against those same Warriors with a home game against Wyoming in between.

Winning the games you’re supposed to may not make you a great program, but it’s at least what good teams do. And good would be good enough considering the way this year has gone.

“The things we’ve been talking about (building) for the last two and a half years, you can kind of see it being developed,” Hauck said.

There were a few moments in the third quarter when feelings of impending disaster may have entered the minds of those in and around this program. UNLV led 21-0 at halftime and then punted on consecutive drives while New Mexico scored a touchdown. With UNLV facing third down on the final play of the third quarter, it appeared the Rebels could give the ball right back and perhaps to see its lead shrink to one possession.

That’s what would have happened in most of the other games UNLV (2-8, 2-3) has played this year. And considering the drive started with a five-yard penalty, backing the Rebels inside their own 20-yard line, it seemed likely. These are the types of conversions UNLV hasn’t been able to make this year.

“I felt like they were starting to make a run,” receiver Devante Davis said of New Mexico.

UNLV faced third-and-five at its own 25. The play call was a simple comeback route that planted Davis just past the first-down marker on the right side of the field. That he caught it would have been enough to feel OK about the outcome heading into the fourth quarter.

Instead, he shook off the defender and suddenly faced the dream scenario for every offensive skill player in the country: about 70 yards of empty space.

“I heard the sideline go ‘Wooo,’ looked forward and saw nothing,” Davis said.

He boosted Nick Sherry's numbers by scoring a 75-yard touchdown that all but locked up UNLV’s first victory in six weeks. That last one, also against an option team in Air Force, required a furious rally. This was different, both from that game and the eight losses. This was UNLV pushing its opponent around for 60 minutes.

“It was satisfying,” Sherry said.

Sherry was 17-for-27 with 289 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, pedestrian numbers compared with the rest of the backfield. Bradley Randle ran for 113 yards and two scores while Tim Cornett had his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the season — 107 yards to be exact — on just nine carries. It’s the first time UNLV has had two 100-yard rushers since 2002, and Cornett eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the process.

“It would have been devastating to hear about me having 1,000 yards on my individual statistics without having a win,” Cornett said.

Davis finished with 145 receiving yards, and the Rebels outgained New Mexico 530 yards to 350 despite possessing the ball for 22 fewer minutes. Weird stats like that can happen against option-based teams, and New Mexico is clearly that. The Lobos completed just three passes, going for gains of 38, five and zero yards.

“They can’t really pass the ball, so we sold out on the run,” said safety Dre Crawford, who had a game-leading 11 tackles.

New Mexico came in as the nation’s fifth-leading rushing team with 302.7 yards per game. They went over that with 307, but most of them were meaningless. When the Lobos get into an early hole like they did Saturday, the constant running hurts far more than it helps.

This game ended UNLV’s four-game losing streak against backup quarterbacks this year, and next week the Rebels could end a much more substantial one: 20 straight road losses. Certainly one game doesn’t end the concerns about executing on game day, but it doesn’t hurt either. The Rebels got to feel like winners again, celebrating together and with the few fans in attendance. This felt important to them.

“Every win is a great moment in that locker room,” Davis said.

They’d like to have a few more of those before 2012 comes to a close.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Watched San Jose State win, wow they are bowl eligible and I actually could see their game on TV today. They have always been bad, guess they have figured out how to win.
    Rebels great win. For as much as we hated the MTN, more for the quality of their broadcasts using announcers no one had ever heard of and who were not qualified, we at least saw games.Still could not see UNLV on TV today. After the Washington State game, if the opponent was not bringing in their fans - UNLV football attendance has not been that great. Losing in this town does this. Even with a win, how many will show up to the next UNLV football game?
    Ed Graney of the RJ says keep Hauck and ignore his 6 wins vs 29 losses record. Ed - the town does not believe in this Coach. How many empty seats at UNLV games do you have to see to understand this fact? Deserving more time would only be about not being able to swallow the years on his contract. UNLV has boosters, when John Robinson was presented money came. Livengood needs to present an option strong enough that has a proven Head Coach - then $$ will be there to pay off Hauck.

    San Jose State is bowl eligible. New Mexico has a new coach - they have won more games than UNLV. Proven Head Coach is needed, someone the town can get excited about. UNLV fans would buck up if they knew a solid proven Football Coach was coming in. Keeping Hauck means no excitement, empty seats. Even after a really nice win, Livengood can look at his old Arizona program with a new Head Coach that will take them to a bowl game in year 1. Then again he stuck by Stoops and watched his O Coordinator go to La Tech - who also has built a Top 25 program. Jim wake up - you can not count on Basketball every year to pay for Football.

  2. kirkland - Have you seen the teams New Mexico has beaten? They're not very good.

  3. @Kirkland: If UNLV can get a road win next week, which would be an achievement for the Rebels, I think the attendance would be up to a miserable 15 to 20 thousand. I dislike the day games and I don't know if that affects the fan turnout. But the biggest issues for attendance is the losses. I would personally disagree with the style of play not being entertaining. When UNLV's offense is consistently making plays, the style of play for me is gratifying to watch. To my undereducated eye, is seems like a physical, power football. The problem is when the offense doesn't make even simple plays (which it inevitably seem to do in each game), the offense looks bad and unimaginative. Then the defense is put into situation of winning a game, which our defense just hasn't proved overall that it can do. If the Rebels can pick up all or most of their remaining games, I believe excitement will return; but, even though this was a nice win for our team, just a two or three win season wont do anything to stoke the interest of fans for next season. I still believe Hauk should stay out his contract. Anyway, it was a good game to watch, and it was a good game for the Rebels to win. Go Rebels! peace out

  4. @kirkland - Great points! Agree 150%!

  5. I could not disagree any more. A coach change is not going to bring people to the stadium. They need to WIN. This team is clearly better than years past. Fire Bobby and start all over, with a coach who wants to change schemes and wanting to recruit a diff type of player? Say good bye to four more years. Hauck is doing it right and this team should be able to win out the rest of their schedule. If anything they need a new stadium. I dont understand the hold up. You would think they are here in Cali with all the b.s. Vegas could use a big stadium that could probably attract a couple nfl games or even a superbowl and would help with recruiting.

  6. Kirkland is your typical "rebel fan" that doesn't pay for tickets to the game, doesn't donate to the program, doesn't attend events or fundraisers for the athletic department, and then comes online to complain about their performance and says he's speaking for the "town".

    Enough already. Just shut up.

  7. As how bad Hauk has been for our program, we need to keep the attitude positive. He is the worst game manager in all of the FBS, but otherwise, he is a very good coach. This team has made progress this year, and other than the NAU loss, they have be no real disappointments. Yea, they should have beat UNR, but they upset AFA.

    With that said, Hauk does deserve some blame. UNLV should have won against Minnesota, Washington State, NAU, and UNR if it was not for his horrible in game management. We should be 6-4 right now, and we'd all be talking about going to a bowl game. I still think hiring Hauk was the right move, it's just been hammered by some bad luck.

  8. Been watching Reb football since Knapp era. This the first coach to give the team a swift kick in the jewels...They play hard and finish, more of a team together than I have seen in a long time.. The coach has started getting his players with his attitude and love for the game, Bigger,faster,smarter and a better all around players. Most of all he's trying to get the locals to stay home. If I was UNLV, I would add another 5 years to his contract before he is snapped up by someone that can see what we have..some of the NEW local yo-cals can only see today, good ones can see tomorrow

  9. "but it's at least what good teams do". They are not a good team. Even if they win out. However, that would provide some nice momentum for next year.

    I live in Las Vegas however, it seems like I can never WATCH the team on TV. Amazing.

    On a side note it's good to see B. Randle getting carries and having success. Every time I've watched the team on TV or in practices he seems to give 100%.

  10. Kirkland and Sinatra chime in again. What would they say had we lost? Oh yeah - fire Livengood, fire Hauck and hire Brian Kelly from Notre Dame.

    Do you like Sherry? Cornett? Randle? Scoggins and Jefferson on the O-line? Davis and Sullivan? If so, then thank Hauck. The defense needs some work but just like the offense the improvement is evident and obvious.

    I could be wrong but I have to think that all of those players are going to be even better next year.

    Completely ridiculous to think that changing coaches is the correct move. Aside from a couple (maybe a few) seasons over the past 30 years, this program has never had a winning tradition or a fan base. Don't blame Hauck for the program's tradition.

    It's unfortunate for all of us(including the players and coaches (who have the most incentive to win)) that we are three plays away from having three more wins. That's life.

    Sorry you couldn't see the game on TV Kirkland - there were plenty of empty seats at the game though...

  11. First, the team Hauck has recruited fits his style. We knew how he coached when we brought him in. Secondly, if you watched college football, the best teams follow that style of play. Third, we have pieces to be successful. We have a quality QB who will only get better, he is only a Freshman. He has made mistakes but he is only a kid. He is the best QB we have had in the program for a long time. We have RBs that have another year of play. We have a chance to have two 1000 yard backs. Any program in the country would die to have that. Add in young receivers, young Offensive line, and a defense that gets better every year; we are at the point to turn this program around. I can say that I have been angry at Hauck but he is the Coach we need. Go Hauck and mostly, Go REBELS!

  12. Nice to see some positive fans on here for once.

    I was at the game yesterday, and it definitely seems that after the UNR let down that the team is finally learning how to close out games.

    I didn't agree with the play calling that led to Nick Sherry throwing the INT late in the fourth. UNLV had a sizable lead, and was still in its own red zone. At that point end game should have been initiated.

    But hey, a win is a win for UNLV, and hopefully they finally get that road win next week!

  13. Anyone who thinks a coaching change at this point is what is needed doesn't understand the game. I love how everyone thinks they have the answers. Well, hind sight is always 20-20. Try calling plays with just a couple of seconds to decide and take into consideration all the things the average viewer doesn't have a clue about. If you pass and it works cool, if not you are an idiot? Come on guys, you have to be aggressive.

    I think this team will win out this year and come back next year and go to a bowl. These are young kids, a lot of freshman and they believe in what they are doing and they are getting better and more experienced every week.

    Most all the losses have been against good teams that are leading or in the top two or three or their respective conferences. Many of the losses have been just one or two plays away from being victories and this is with one of the youngest teams in the nation.

    Bob Davies was impressed with UNLV and had nice things to say. Hauck and his team are building a football program from the bottom up and you can see it in the type of players they are bringing in and the condition those players are in. I think we are turning the corner and I expect to see winning UNLV teams in the future.

    Now if we could just get a stadium that isn't out in the sewer runoff area of Las Vegas... come on Vegas money... get involved!

  14. Hauck has done a great job of recruiting given the fact UNLV isn't a football school (yet) and doesn't have a fan base. Coaches don't win games, players do. I am 100% sure next years team will go to a bowl. They will build on the momentum they get from winning at the end of this year. This year could have been better if they had won the close games, but that's over, focus on the future! The future looks bright! If your a top notch WR, you know coming to UNLV in the next 4 years you'll have a future NFL QB that can get you the ball. The OL is good and will get better so the running game will continue to do well and improve. Defense is 4-5 times better than it was last year and they will improve as well. Next year this will be a top 3-4 team in the division as the top teams lose their seniors and UNLV matures a little. Building on the success that is coming in the next few years, UNLV will then have a new stadium in around 4 years. By that time, they will be a top 20 program if they continue to improve year in and year out and UNLV can finally become a football and basketball program. Hauck is the guy that will take them there. All of you who said he has to go will eat crow.

  15. @MickeyA - I'll take that bet....I'll eat crow and admit if I'm wrong....there's no way Hauck gets to a Bowl next year. I'm not going to backpedal on my assertion that he was the wrong pick for head coach....I said that before a single game was played. I said it before he recruited a single player. I'm still saying it even after a win against New Mexico.....a game we SHOULD have won. Just like we SHOULD have won against Northern Arizona. Forget about UNR and other games like that.....losses agains NAU and weaker schools shows a lack of discipline, preparation, and coaching. For those celebrating these type of wins, it's a joke. Kudos to the players for winning, but I won't give the coach any credit for this one.

  16. I watched the entire game on Cox channel 128. Barry Thompkins was the play by play announcer.

    You guys who didn't see the game need to do a little more channel surfing next time or check the newspaper for the sports on TV section.

  17. I saw the game live and in person, as with all the other home games : )

  18. Sinatra has been living in fantasy land for a long time, and exposing LVSUN readers to his nonsense for a while now. Since it's almost funny at this point, I'll give you a little taste of what he seems to believe:

    1. UNLV football is a program with a long standing historical winning culture. (Reality Note: UNLV football has a lifetime winning % of less than 50%. This includes the winning years in Division 2.)

    2. UNLV football has money to burn. They had coaches lining up to take the job 3 years ago, including Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Les Miles, and even Jon Gruden. They chose to hire Bobby Hauck over all of these better options. (Reality Note: Fans complained about Sanford and UNLV wanted to hire someone with head coach experience this time. Hauck was the hottest FCS coach available at the time. His salary is in the bottom 15 of FBS head coaches in the country.)

    3. UNLV has the winning history, the on-campus stadium, the top of the line facilities, the deep fan base, and the huge community support to allow them to recruit whoever they want. They should get all the top recruits across the country, Hauck just can't recruit. (Reality Note: None of this is true.)

    4. (Most Important) UNLV football needs to have a win-now attitude. Because of all the success we've experienced in the past, (Reality note: no head coach with a total winning record since 1985) the fans DESERVE a winner RIGHT NOW. UNLV football should not be allowed to let their coach attempt to build up a program over 4-5 years. If they can't turn around a dead program in 1-2 years then kick them out the door and hire someone else (Reality note: again, no head coach with a total winning record since 1985. Hall of fame coach John Robinson finished with a 40% win percentage).

    At some point you have to wonder if Sinatra is just kidding us. Or maybe just kidding himself..

  19. Good points by UNLV-123. Next year Sinatra eats crow. Those who have watched all of UNLV games this year know there is a marked improvement over the past 2 years. Almost all games have been close. UNLV's defense has been much better. And our passing game has been 10 times better than last year. Add it all up and UNLV is a program on the rise. Not because I say so, because all the evidence suggests so. This will translate into beter and better recruits here on out, and more and more top local talent staying home to defend and bring honor to their "home town". You only get one home town in this life, why not fight for it, especially if you can help make it a winner and make yourself a name?

  20. Huak is doing a great job in all areas except for one: In-game management. I do think UNLV could make a bowl game next year. Why? Because the MWC is a crappy conference! Next year there are 5 winnable games (Hawaii, CSU, SJSU, UNM, and WYO) and AFAIK, we are playing Idaho as well. So that's 6 and 6 and thus a trip to a bowl game. That's right, a bowl game.

  21. As I've posted before...Hauck should definitely stay & there is NO DOUBT he is improving the ENTIRE program from the ground up and is doing so in a long term fashion. He is recruiting character & potential, redshirting everybody he can, stockpiling & developing talent, and playing tons of underclassmen on both sides of the ball.

    When you think about the recruiting deficiencies associated with UNLV football....and look at the product that he has developed & puts out there every Saturday this season...it pretty obvious we are headed in the right direction. Only an idiot would advocate going back to square one & starting over with a new coach. This isnt a video game where you can just tweak the AI and make a player a stud or a team unbeatable. Building a winning program is a process & that process takes time....especially when you're UNLV with a litany of things working against you & where winning is foreign.

    Having said that though...you still gotta beat NAU & SUU at home and you cant lose a 3 TD lead to Reno at home either. Dont think those can be filed under "growing pains" so Hauck does deserve some criticism. But not even remotely enough to warrant removal. It would suck if we win out and end up with 5 wins...and the NAU game kept us from being bowl eligible. That would hurt.

    I dont know if I would endorse a bowl game next year just yet. However, if they can snag two road W's these last 3 weeks...I just might change my mind. That would be a program changing statement given our road history. Either way, I just hope we finish STRONG!