Rebels football:

Blog: UNLV falls to another Division I-AA team with 17-14 loss to NAU

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck closes his eyes on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of their game against Northern Arizona Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Lumberjacks upset the Rebels 17-14.

Updated Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 | 9:51 p.m.

UNLV vs. Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona lineman Trey Gilleo rushes to greet running back Zach Bauman after Bauman's touchdown during their game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Division I-AA Lumberjacks upset the Rebels 17-14. Launch slideshow »

NORTHERN ARIZONA 17, UNLV 14

Final

Backed up at its own 14-yard line with 1:16 to play and the game tied, Northern Arizona wasn't content to play for overtime. The Lumberjacks wanted to win, and that's exactly what they did.

NAU marched right down the field and hit a game-winning 33-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

The Rebels walked around the field stunned after the game and a lot of them headed straight for the locker room rather than shaking hands. Probably it would have been too painful.

UNLV started the game on fire and led 14-0 at halftime, but a failed fake field goal in the second quarter set things in a bad direction and they never recovered. NAU scored on a punt return touchdown and a short rushing touchdown.

This was supposed to be a tuneup and confidence builder, but now UNLV coach Bobby Hauck is going to be left searching for answers after losing to a Division I-AA team for the second straight year.

Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report.

UNLV 14, NORTHERN ARIZONA 14

8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter

With a lot of help from UNLV defensive penalties, Northern Arizona marched down the field and eventually tied the game midway through the fourth quarter on Zach Bauman's eight-yard touchdown run.

The Rebels' only offensive rhythm in the second half has come sparingly from the passing game, but until this last drive the defense was still keeping NAU at arm's length. That changed when the secondary started committing pass interference penalties at really inopportune times. NAU picked up a couple of first downs on third downs, demoralizing the defense.

UNLV is in serious trouble. The offense has sputtered to a standstill, but it's going to take at least one big play from them and another couple of stands by the defense to avoid the upset.

UNLV 14, NORTHERN ARIZONA 7

13:47 remaining in the third quarter

After UNLV went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half, NAU's Austin Shanks fielded the punt, made a couple of moves and ran right up the middle for a 75-yard punt return touchdown.

Shanks was untouched after his first move, exploiting several Rebels who suddenly found themselves out of position.

You had to figure that NAU would score eventually, but the Rebels could have done themselves a favor by building on that lead in the second half. Instead, they lead by just one score and the Lumberjacks have all the momentum on their side.

UNLV 14, NORTHERN ARIZONA 0

Halftime

NAU's last-minute bid for points came up empty as the Rebels blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half.

Overall there wasn't much going on in the second quarter. UNLV has been content to keep going to the ground, but with Bradley Randle and Dionza Bradford handling the carries in relief of Tim Cornett, the results haven't been nearly as impressive.

The Rebels have had a couple of punts and on the one drive where they approached scoring range, they opted for a fake punt that saw backup quarterback Caleb Herring throw incomplete to tight end turned defensive end Jordan Sparkman in the end zone. Personally it seemed a bit ill-conceived — if you're going to go for it, go for it — but that's a lot easier to say in hindsight.

The defense has been getting into the backfield and causing havoc for the Lumberjacks. With the exception of that final drive, UNLV's D hasn't given NAU room to do much of anything. When the Lumberjacks were having success it was because their quarterback had some time to throw and the receivers were running wide open through the secondary.

Cornett has 115 yards and a touchdown while Randle has struggled since scoring as he has just 25 yards on 11 carries. Nick Sherry is 7-of-12 for 96 yards and tight end Jake Phillips is the only Rebel with more than one catch.

UNLV 14, NORTHERN ARIZONA 0

13:50 remaining in the second quarter

Run, run, run, run, pass, run, run. That's pretty close to UNLV's offensive pattern thus far, and it's worked very well as the Rebels took a 14-0 lead thanks to their second rushing touchdown, this one courtesy of Bradley Randle.

UNLV started the second quarter at the five-yard line, and after falling just short on third down, Randle got the ball again and punched it into the end zone for his first score of the season.

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck always talks about wanting to be balanced, and that's necessary to a degree. But tonight the Rebels, albeit against an inferior opponent, are showing that their offense works well when they pass only when the defense really gives them to space to do it. When they don't, just keep it on the ground.

UNLV 7, NORTHERN ARIZONA 0

10:48 remaining in the first quarter

As soon as Tim Cornett started running the ball against this Lumberjack defense, it was apparent he was going to break a big touchdown run at some point tonight. It just so happened to be on the first drive.

After UNLV's defense forced a quick three-and-out, Nick Sherry started the offense rolling with a 25-yard completion to tight end Jake Phillips, his first career reception. After that it was all about Cornett, who carved up the NAU defense before breaking a 42-yard touchdown run to cap a seven-play, 89-yard drive that took just more than two and a half minutes.

Cornett ran to the left side, bounced off a defender and found a wide open hole, going untouched most of the way into the end zone.

UNLV wanted to put this away early, and this is as good a start as they could have hoped for.

UNLV doesn’t want people leaving at halftime tonight, but it would certainly like the game to be in a position where Rebels fans aren’t sticking around to see who will win.

The UNLV football team hosts Division I-AA opponent Northern Arizona tonight at 7. While the Rebels lost last week in triple overtime to Minnesota, the Lumberjacks were thrashed by in-state foe Arizona State 63-6. Northern Arizona’s starting quarterback (Cary Grossart) and running back (Zach Bauman) had to leave the game early with injuries.

Both guys were practicing this week and should be on the field against UNLV. Of course, in the Rebels’ perfect world, that shouldn’t matter.

NAU isn’t an elite Division I-AA team this year, and it will be outclassed in size and speed against UNLV. That didn’t bother Southern Utah last year, but this is a different Rebels team — or at least it seems to be — and you have to think they’ve learned from that colossal mistake.

So the best thing UNLV could do this week was focus on itself.

The running game was very good against Minnesota and it should get backup Dionza Bradford back tonight. That’s where the Rebels must start, which will then give freshman quarterback Nick Sherry and his receivers space on the outside to progress from a shaky debut.

Sherry tossed three interceptions against the Gophers — one off a tipped pass and two really bad decisions. Physically he got tired after constantly getting hit, and that’s something he will have to get used to throughout the season. Whether it starts tonight depends a lot on how well the offensive line keeps him protected. Sherry may not need to adapt too much hitting because the Lumberjacks should struggle to get to him. However, one of NAU's pass rushers will be playing with some extra fire as Tim Wilkinson, a Bishop Gorman grad, gets a chance to play in front of hometown friends and family.

If Sherry does have time but doesn’t show improvement in his decision-making then there may be cause for some concern. It would help if leading receiver Marcus Sullivan, who’s listed as probable with a leg injury, could play at close to full capacity. Those two worked very well together in the first half against Minnesota before Sullivan had to leave the game. It will also be interesting to see if Sherry targets tight end Jake Phillips more today; the two looked very much in sync during practice all the way back to spring but Phillips had no catches against Minnesota.

Defensively, UNLV still needs to get more pressure on the quarterback. UNLV coach Bobby Hauck was pleased with the unit’s effort against the Gophers, but there were a lot of open passes that were just missed. It’s more likely that UNLV can correct that up front rather than in the secondary.

Bern’s prediction: This one will never get completely out of hand, but UNLV will be in control from the start. There will be some reason to worry when Northern Arizona pulls within 10 or so in the second half, but it won’t get any closer than that and the Rebels will makes some strides before preparing to host Pac-12 foe Washington State next week. UNLV 34, NAU 17.

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

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  1. UNLV is still a bottom 10 football team. Hauck is still an awful coach and playing hide the assistant coaches did't help. No offensive flow, aggressiveness, or imagination. UNLV should have tied Livengood's contract to Hauck's performance. One lies and the other swears to it.

  2. Is there any doubt now this guy should be fired? Livengood you're a complete idiot for sticking with this loser.

  3. hauck needs to go.. 3rd season with what 4 wins? i have seen bigger o lines out in high school games here in san diego.. secondary has to be the worst in the country.... but the hauck homers will tell u the team is young and played hard and is improving.. but we all know this is year 3 aka make or break and he not only broke but embarrassed us against a div 1 a team. sad to be a unlv alumni down here while football season is going on FIRE HAUCK

  4. Can't beat a I-AA team? Back to high school coaching

  5. Channel 8 will say it is a tough loss. Other media members, those that are left will be not honest about what is really going on with this football program. Idaho and New Mexico State can't get into the Mountain West - their losses are no where near as bad as UNLV in back to back years. Fake punt for the 1st touchdown? When you see Louisiana Lafayette beating Arkansas, Ohio going into Penn State with another win - all while UNLV loses again to a team that will not make the D1AA Playoffs? No one wants to root for UNLV to fail, all want to see them be a success and when you have a Gorman with so much local talent - you would think that the talent is here that could come in and start. They need to be led. A program builder is needed, not someone who stepped into a proven program or was on the coat tails of another Head Coach. Will you hear this or will UNLV silence the media by threatening to take away basketball access?

  6. Wow totally unacceptable

  7. I think he makes around $350k a year.

    I figure that must be the min. wage for Div. 1-A football coach.

    Not bad money if you can get the job.

    College football coaches can't blame the players or a GM like in the pro's because about 80% of a collegge footbal coach job is to build a marketing program to recruit players.

    So if the players are bad it is the coach's fault for that is what he recruited.

  8. this is a perfect example of bad coaching. Every other game you might be able to get away with talent was not there, but there is no way NAU is out recruiting UNLV.. Hauck has embarrassed us and his time has come and gone.

  9. Seems team has more talent than last two years. But, concern about supposed best unit the O-line. They (o-line) did good early,but it seems opposing teams make adjustments and all of sudden the line can't open up any holes (2nd half) is it becuz bad UNLV coaching? Bad play calling/adjustments not putting UNLV in position to succeed? Real predictable on offense-can rush ball to the outside once in a while! North. Az not only Iaa division team,but a bad one too! Without starting qb and running back,and yet by 2nd half they are controlling line of scrimmage. Don't think firing Hauck is the answer,with this economy and his contract-stuck with him,feel bad for team though.

  10. unlv gave him the keys to the team a couple years ago. he was a winner at a lower level. unlv needed to take the chance of finding lighting in a bottle. Cant blame them but It is not working and unlv needs to find somebody who can bring players in. I am so dissapointed right now because i really thought we could beat this team down. But honestly i dont know if we will even be able to beat new mexico this year. they have improved a lot. I dont see dropping the program as an option but why cant we win a respectufull 5-6 games a year like the unc , duke and kentuckys of the football world

  11. I am not sure what's worse, the fact that I am not surprised at this outcome, or the outcome itself. Hauck has given us losses that make Sanford's look tolerable in comparison. The team as a whole has talent, they need to be coached better. Which is ironic, because this is the team Hauck put together.

    This loss has removed me from the Hauck bandwagon.

    Would we get as much money playing a Big10 team if we were to transition down to FCS? Hey, if you can't beat em...

  12. UNLV needs UNLVNow more than anything, but if Hauck and his coaching staff are around much longer there will be no hope of that ever happening. Community support for UNLV football was already at an all-time low, how does the AD or President expect anyone to give 2 cents after a horrible performance like this loss, is beyond me.

    Fire Hauck.

    Start over... again.

    Then hopefully UNLV can find someone who doesn't blame the players for lack of heart, when the coaching staff shows zero heart themselves.

    Fire Hauck and fire him tonight

  13. Kind of agree with displaced in that I do see more talent on the team-the defense seems to be comming around. But they do make a lot of mistakes during crucial times and bad penalties on the D-side. On Offense seems that Sherry has a ton of upside,good athletes at the skill positions but the play calling is real high school level. So it does seem the talent is ahead of the coaching and don't know if team mentaly can get past this loss. Think talent was there to win maybe 6 games,but now team might be lucky to win 3 games in Hauck's 3rd year.

  14. Firing the coach will not make the difference. We will just acquired another new idiot coach. It is the UNLV school systems and the pay scale for the coaches. I was the rebel fans for the last 15 years and saw some winning coaches in other schools (USC, UTAH, IDOHO..etc), ended up being a bad coaches in UNLV. There are some fundamentally wrong with our UNLV football program. BTW,

  15. BTW, if firing the coach is the only solution to fix the UNLV football program, then the program would have been fixed and be on the right track 20 years ago already....

  16. $350,000/year salary for the coach, you get $350,000 performance. The school needs to put some bigger pay check for a very well known football coach to make the program an elite one (like UNLV basketball program)

  17. To think that we gave this joke of a coach an EXTENSION last year!!! WTF?! I told everyone 2 yrs ago, that hiring this guy was the wrong decision....anybody want to disagree with me now?!

    Where are all the homers hiding? LMFAO....that's what I thought.

  18. This team coming into the season had an over / under win total of 3. That should tell you all that you need to know. Look around that staff - NO ONE with UNLV ties. Look around who talks about this team - NO ONE with UNLV degrees. This is about a pay check - just like Dave McCann who never had a problem making excuses for UNLV when he was getting paid - all while he was giving that money to BYU. Now we all know that his loyalties were bought and always bled Blue. The excuses about not being able to find a Coach - sorry but Coach Fran was sitting out there begging for a job and the guy just beat Houston on the road in game 1. Frank Solich was kicked around after Nebraska now he wins at Ohio. TCU got on the map due to Coach Fran, Gary Patterson took it to another level. ESPN ranks UNLV Football as a program over only 17 schools among 120 ranked. Including Robinson, UNLV Football has been about grabbing free money with no loyalty. UNLV Basketball has people feeling good due to having loyalty - to the past, to the Alums and former players. They saved money on their hire of a Coach due to this and have gained so much more. Hauck was part of Slick Rick's Staff at Washington, a Coaching Staff that is hardly spoke of highly in Seattle. Montana was already a power. Utah State just beat Utah, New Mexico State hung with Ohio for much of the game on the road today, San Jose lost only by 3 vs Stanford. Others in the conference have shown up. As far as UNLV goes, Minnesota was a mirage. Wash State wont go through the motions with Leach and played 2 better teams than UNLV has played already.
    The deal at UNLV has always been - hire an Alum, recruit locally and UNLV will forgive losing. Don't hire anyone on staff with UNLV ties, let alone Head Job and don't recruit locally - you better win. Hauck is a part of latter. He has not won over the fans or the community. The program has not won over the community and continues to slide. It cant be, wait until basketball season in early September. Channel 8 blew it off as if they lost to Boise State, Channel 3 made it look like Nevada's loss was even worse. The empty seats at Sam Boyd tell you the real story however. It should not be that way. The town wants to rally around a football team that connects to the University and community. There is no connection to either right now with Hauck and the leadership around this football program.

  19. You know, the more that I think about this the better a fit moving to the FCS would be.
    Just roll with me on this one. If we moved into ,say, the Big Sky Conference we would be in a conference that would get an automatic bid to the playoffs. We could make a better percentage of money (I assume) from playing FBS teams. We would be able to leave the Running Rebels at D1. They could just build up the non-conference play to keep a good RPI going into March. We would keep Hauck because he is damaged goods in FBS. That would mean our pay scale would be in line with our competitors.

    We would not see any change in our TV coverage. Not that anyone would watch to see us play, if they could. They would watch only to see their team win. We could take the stadium idea, scale it down to something more realistic for Vegas fans, put it in place and just try and have fun watching football.

    Now, if all of this worked, and we started to win, we could look like the greatest team in the conference. We could get more revenue, and if we wanted to, because conference hopping is all the rage, we could re-apply to FBS down the road.

    Think of in the same way they handle the Football Clubs with the English Football League System, with the Premier League, Champions League, League One, etc.

  20. I'm done watching for this season.

  21. Dang Bobby how bad was our program? Bobby I've been going to games since Wayne Nunnely in 89' your killing me!
    You coach special teams: missed fake fg attempt -3 punt return for td -7 = -10
    I'm on your side Bobby but your giving me nothing to work with!
    You crushed in stats no turnover battle loss back up qb vs rs freshmen on ESPN next friday please don't embarrass us!

  22. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  23. The biggest idiots are the homers that blindly supported this guy over the past 2 seasons. When you give that type of support to a loser, it produces losing teams.

  24. Hows that coach working for you homers? Oh yea he gave up like your team has.. I will say this again.. When you coach gives up, the team does as well.. Cut your losses now, fire the knucklehead. Someone who can step up and actually be a coach. This program can be turned around, will take a new staff! Hell a pee wee football coach could do better. Even better coach Joke or whatever your name is leave now, you have someone managed to turn this program into the WORSE football program in the US, congrats on doing something!

  25. I think I speak for the majority. I'm simply at a loss for words. I'm not sure what the best option is moving forward. Drop to 1-AA? Drop the program all together? I am a full 100% supporter of the UNLVNow project but last night was a huge step back towards support.

    Putting all of the AD / Coaching issues aside, what I continue to find fascinating is how on Earth can Chris Ault recruit players to Reno (and please, this is not a knock on UNR. That program has taken huge steps forward in the last 10 years)? If I was a kid that could not get into, say the big Cal schools, and my choices were UNLV or UNR, how could you pass up on coming to play in Vegas? This is how sad and pathetic this situation is. Perhaps the state should consider the UNLVNow project and move it to Reno instead?

    Let's see if we can secretly replace the UNLV Football team with Bishop Gorman and see what happens. I know 3 things for sure. They have better training facilities, they would get people out to the stadium, and they would be competitive to the very end.

    With all this said, I am not asking for 11 wins a year and a BCS Bowl every year. I would be very happy with 6-8 wins a year and a team that is going to be competitive every game, win or lose. But I have no clue on how this program is going to get to that level, if ever at all.

  26. It may get worse