UNLV football:

Rebels can’t keep up with high-powered Louisiana Tech in blowout loss

The undefeated Bulldogs ran all over UNLV, scoring six touchdowns on the ground and cruising down the stretch of a 58-31 victory

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Arely D. Castillo / Associated Press

Louisiana Tech’s Ray Holley (32) scores a touchdown ahead of UNLV defender Princeton Jackson during their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in Ruston, La.

RUSTON, La. — Following several of their offensive plays Saturday night, Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes and about a half dozen Bulldogs assistants — with a backup quarterback or two thrown in — stood on the sideline. Each waved one arm furiously in a full windmill motion. It resembled what you might see from a coach as he ran down the sidelines during a long punt return yelling "Go," except these guys were stationary and more mechanical than maniacal.

They weren’t signaling to the quarterback so much as the entire offense. Go. Go now and then do it again, all the way to the end zone.

Louisiana Tech’s up-tempo, balanced offense did just that all night, up and down the field on a UNLV defense that had little chance from the time they boarded the plane in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs’ attack is that powerful, and it looked as good as advertised in a 58-31 victory against UNLV (1-5).

“We knew there was a chance we wouldn’t stop them until they got in the red zone,” said UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, whose team gave up 622 yards.

Consider: Louisiana Tech (5-0) has now had a run of at least 31-0 in three consecutive games. Fifty-eight is the most points the team has scored since 2000, but the Bulldogs scored 56 twice earlier in the season. This is what they do, and they do it well.

Traditionally offenses like this attack through the passing game and the Bulldogs certainly have that at the ready. Quarterback Colby Cameron had 316 yards on 31-of-45 passing with one touchdown to favorite target Quinton Patton, who hauled in nine catches for 116 yards.

But most of the Bulldogs’ damage came on the ground, which is also when the windmills made most of their appearances. As soon as Kenneth Dixon (16 carries, 102 yards, four TDs) or Ray Holley (22 carries, 139 yards, one TD) would finish with a run, the sideline cavalry whipped their arms around imploring the team to get up, get to the line and do it again.

Louisiana Tech often ran the same, or at least a very similar, play on consecutive downs, sometimes three or four times in a row. They had predetermined options at the line of scrimmage though they rarely checked to them. The Bulldogs simply opened the same holes in the defensive line and gained the same yardage.

They could do that for several reasons. The most important are the speed at which the offense operates and their superior talent level at the skill positions.

Louisiana Tech ran 97 plays over the course of the game, which is a dizzying pace to keep up with. Hauck said it’s similar to the hurry-up the Rebels saw two weeks ago against Air Force, but the Falcons only ran 74 plays. This was different.

“When you’re on offense that long and run as much as we did, it wears the (opposing defense down,” Dykes said.

There’s also the talent disparity. Both coaches are in their third season at their respective programs. Dykes, who was rumored to be interested in the UNLV job when it was open, is clearly closer to the final product he would like to put on the field than Hauck. The Bulldogs, who have seniors at several key offensive positions, will likely be ranked this week and if they defeat Texas A&M next Saturday they have a good chance to go undefeated. And it’s not just because of their style or gimmicks.

“They’ve got a good team; that’s what it is,” Hauck said. “… Sometimes their athlete was better than our athlete in space.”

Louisiana Tech is the type of program Hauck aspires to with UNLV. Not the style so much as the Bulldogs’ experience and execution. Dykes’ team came into the game as one of the nation’s best in terms of turnover margin and won that battle 2-0, including scooping up UNLV’s first lost fumble of the season.

After the game the Bulldogs were upset about their penalties. They committed five, for the record, and while that could be a complaint in a close game it hardly mattered in this blowout.

You could say the same for the Rebels’ missed opportunities. Last week those mistakes may have cost them the chance for a victory at Utah State. This time it would have taken those plays plus a bucket full of sunshine to get close in the end.

Hauck went for it on more than half of the team’s fourth downs and came up with just one conversion. Sophomore receiver Marcus Sullivan fell during a kickoff return with no one in front of him and dropped another sure touchdown pass. There were plays like that littered throughout the game that could have changed the course slightly but nothing that would have sunk Louisiana Tech’s ship.

As a UNLV fan you can be, and most likely are, upset about the talent disparity on the field Saturday night. Both men have been at their programs the same amount of time and one is being rumored as the next coach at Arkansas. It’s not Hauck.

What doesn’t make sense is to tear down the team for a final score that looked almost exactly right considering the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. The Rebels certainly weren’t happy with it, and they shouldn’t be, but they played hard and don’t have much to hang their heads about. They lost by 27 to a team that closed as a 27.5-point favorite. And while the Vegas bookmakers aren’t the end all in comparing two teams it shouldn’t come as a surprise when this game plays out almost exactly to script.

Even in the preseason this looked like it would likely be a blowout loss for UNLV. The Rebels’ offense played well. Quarterback Nick Sherry had 378 yards and four TDs while receiver Devante Davis caught eight passes for 186 yards and one of those scores.

But the defense, like every other team that’s played the Bulldogs this year, didn’t have any answers. There’s nothing to do about that now except get back to work for a game that means far more than losing to a team that’s waving itself toward a stellar season and leaving the Rebels in their wake.

“It’s over now; zero on the clock,” defensive end Parker Holloway said. “It’s on to Reno.”

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

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  1. The good news,the rebels fought hard and competed,was actualy close into the 3rd quarter. The bad is that the rebels need to find new db's,they are high school level. Also, the offense and defensive front 7 aint all bad. Hauck seems to be the kind of couch that can recruit decent talent and even do ok preparing during the week,but his game management stinks. You do not want him on your sideline with 2 minutes to go down by seven or having him call pays on 4th and goal on 1 yard line-the guy cannot be left in charge during a close game-he's scary!!

  2. If they are considering an 800 million plus stadium...they better find a way to have a competitive football program.

  3. The important thing is that we keep paying this guy his 6-figure salary.

  4. The stadium is going to be like the Mendenhall Center, it will attract more recruits. It's the overall project that is 800 million, the stadium 5-10k in new dorms, shopping, etc. We are also paying Hauck's salary regardless, we fire him, he is still on the hook. The kids fought hard and we have improved the skill level on offense. The defense is still a trainwreck. You might as well just shout "Ole" and wave the red cape on screens or post throws, our guys seem to avoid contact like they are being rushed by a charging bull.

  5. The very dangerous University of Nevada Wolf Pack is coming to Town Saturday and most likely with a back up quarterback

  6. Wow... another very close game, said no one!Let's just give Hauck an contact extension to 2038 before a pee wee team scoops up that great coach!

  7. LMAO....

  8. UNLV football can win & compete if mature up.Mistakes drop passes hurt.Got to throw on first down.You put pressure on Sherry with 3rd& 10.Albeit he doesn't seem to feel it.He still does job& gets 1stdown.UNLV coaches I hope you see you are pass first run second team.If I NEVADA I say key off running back on 1st&2nd down.you stop each time.now back off to defend pass.MIX IN THROW ON FIRST DOWN.You just might beat crap out of NEVADA on Saturday.You certainly have potential to.Couldn't you imagine Sherry with Mike Leach...

  9. Joke, joke, joke. Gripe, gripe gripe. If you've actually followed the Rebels for any length of time you know they are improving and, unlike in past years, they aren't giving up.

    The improvement may not be obvious enough for some or fast enough for others but it's there and it hasn't been for years and years.

    Hauck just needs a few more horses. Sherry is a QB Hauck can build around and I think we'll see some key recruits sign because of his potential.

  10. The comedy act continues...punts blocked on Back to back plays (where have you ever seen that before?). A fake punt that a Pop Warner team could have sniffed out. And a receiver who was as wide open to separate the Continental divide drops a pass. Can't believe the line is only Reno -10. Bet early and often...May be more Reno blue in stands.

  11. "Improving"?! Ok that's the joke of the day! LMFAOATH

  12. Sonny Dykes is in his third year - and his team is 5-0 and his style of football is exciting. His talent is on level with UNLV but his coaching concepts and philosophy is better than Booby Hauck. Botton line Bobby take responsibility for once. Your the leader of this team and we want you to take accountability. Results vs performance. 5 Wins in 3 years.

    Before the game I suggusted that Hauck should create some pressure and bring the bear front and put the heat on the Offense. As I watched the game - I was disappointed with the approach by the UNLV coaches. Rushing 3 to 4 and having your line backers playing 7 yards from the line of scrimmage no wonder they had 622 yards of total offense. Sitting back and waiting for the offensive to run at you rather than attacking them will put the advantage to the offense every time.

    Bobby Haucks special teams ::: Punt formation is really something to evaluate and talk about. Did you see our punt team formation? And Did you hear the comments from the TV guys. The spread protection on a punt is a poor concept. This is what the TV guys said and I agree! Not only did they block one punt and immediately after the created problems on our kicker again. Bobby Hauck is the special teams coach where is the accountability?? Maybe the AD should step in and give him a verbal warning? LOL.

    My goodness the decision making qualities and lack of being creative on the Defensive side is really troubling and difficult to watch.

    Maybe Hauck should learn some things from Sonny Dykes. Bobby needs to drop his ego and be open to a new style of football...

  13. How about hiring a new coach....? Gee, there's an idea!

  14. @Sinatra came to the realization that there the homers (the ones claiming the team is IMPROVING, which I think that they are still drink from the week before) and everyone else who see what needs to be done. The true problem with the team is that the homers out weigh everyone else. So sadly I have to be the first to admit that this team is destined to fail. The homers do not want real change. So homers please tell us why that is....