Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 | 12:03 a.m.
- UNLV football adds two games with BYU starting in 2014
- Mountain Best: Three teams control their destiny for the league crown
- Rebels look to finish season strong, starting Saturday in home finale against Wyoming
- Rebels give away their chance to snap road losing streak at Colorado State
- Take 5: UNLV trying to duplicate effort of 2002 Rebels against Colorado State
- This could be the week the Rebels break through on the road
- All UNLV Football Coverage
Forget the UNLV football team's 2-9 record.
At the friendly confines of Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels are a better team. Both of the Rebels’ wins have come at home, and more importantly, they’ve had a second-half lead in five of their six home contests.
Home game No. 7 is at 1 p.m. Saturday against Wyoming (3-7 overall, 2-4 Mountain West) in another game in which the Rebels expect to be competitive. Despite quarterback Nick Sherry being listed as doubtful on the UNLV injury report, Wyoming is just a 1-point betting favorite.
“All of the games we’ve had at Sam Boyd this year have been great football games and highly, highly competitive,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “Most of them (came) down to the last play, win or lose. I would expect this game to be no different.”
Here are few items to prepare you for Saturday’s game:
Rebels will have hands full with Wyoming’s QB: For UNLV to beat Wyoming, the Rebels’ game plan is simple: Stop Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith. Smith has passed for four touchdowns in each of the past two weeks, leading Wyoming to victories against Colorado State and New Mexico. For the season, he’s thrown for 2,165 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions in completing 61 percent of his passes. That could spell disaster for a UNLV secondary that frequently has had periods of bad play this season. “Brett is productive. Everything runs through him, whether it is running it or throwing it,” Hauck said. “... We have to account for him on every play.”
Herring likely under center for Rebels: Even though redshirt freshman Nick Sherry has attempted virtually all of the UNLV football team’s passes, junior backup Caleb Herring still has stayed sharp. Herring, who passed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns last year as the starter, has taken plenty of snaps in practice each week as part of the team’s preparations. Sherry left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a back injury and is listed on the team’s injury report as doubtful for the Wyoming game. Herring, who now is part of the wide receiver rotation and has 16 catches for 125 yards, has attempted just five passes this year — one coming on a fake field goal. Come Saturday, he’ll be counted on to lead UNLV to victory. “We wont change our plan too much,” Hauck said. “We don’t want to throw in a new offense at this time of the season. We’ll do what we do. It won’t affect anybody except who is playing quarterback.”
Senior Day for the Rebs: UNLV’s 15 seniors will be honored before kickoff, including three starters: offensive linemen Doug Zismann and Yusef Rogers, and linebacker John Lotulelei (the team’s leading tackler with 9.8 takedowns per game). Most of the senior class was recruited by former coach Mike Sanford. And although UNLV has a 6-30 record in Hauck’s three years, he often has raved about the dedication of the senior class. “There is a lot of investment. When you invest, it is hard to give in,” Hauck said.
Run, Tim, run: At the beginning of fall practices, junior running back Tim Cornett told reporters his goal was to have a 1,600-yard rushing season. With two games left, Cornett stands 456 yards shy of his goal and would need two monster games to close the season. Yet, with Sherry out at quarterback, anything is possible. Regardless of whether he reaches the milestone, Cornett still has had one of the top rushing seasons in school history. His 102 yards last week at Colorado State gave him 100-plus yards in eight of the Rebels’ 11 games. He’s just the third UNLV player to clear the century mark 11 times, joining Mike Thomas (17 in 1973-75) and Dominique Dorsey (11 from 2001-04).
Rebels often score plenty against Cowboys: UNLV has scored more than 40 points nine times since joining the Mountain West Conference in 1999. Five of those offensive outbursts have come against Wyoming, including in 2010 when UNLV posted a 42-16 home victory against the Cowboys. Cornett, then a true freshman, had three touchdowns. Digging deeper inside the numbers, UNLV has a two-game home winning streak against Wyoming and is 6-4 all-time in the series in Las Vegas.