Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 | 2:20 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 | 11:04 p.m.
UNLV 45, San Diego State 19
Caleb Herring finished 20-of-30 passing with five touchdowns plus another one on the ground in the final home game of his UNLV career. It was a fitting finish for the senior who's had more downs and finally ups than most players in college football.
The 45-19 victory against San Diego State also wraps up a nice sweep for UNLV's two biggest programs. Earlier at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Rebels basketball team defeated UT Martin 85-55. The football team couldn't match that margin of victory, but they were close.
Devante Davis caught four of Herring's touchdown passes, becoming only the third receiver to have that many touchdown receptions in a single game. After a couple weeks of Tim Cornett and the running game taking center stage, Herring and his receivers showed they've still got it, too.
The bowl scenarios are still very much in the air for UNLV, so much so that even with seven victories they're not guaranteed to get in a game. That decision will come down to bowl directors who must weigh UNLV's seven victories against Colorado State (7-6) or San Jose State (6-6). There's also a chance Boise State could go to a non-Mountain West bowl, freeing up the league to fill its bowl affiliations with the six remaining eligible teams.
We'll get into that and more later tonight with a full report from the Rebels' victory on lasvegassun.com.
UNLV football leading SDSU, 24-7 at halftime
The UNLV football team trailed visiting San Diego State today by a touchdown just 41 seconds into the game today, giving up a flee-flicker for a touchdown on the game’s second play.
They didn’t trail for long.
Devante Davis is having a career game for the Rebels at wide receiver, catching six passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns in helping the Rebels lead 24-7 at halftime. Yes, those are only his first half stats.
Davis has touchdown receptions of 5, 10 and 63 yards, becoming the UNLV all-time single-season leading in touchdowns with 13 — the previous mark was 11, set in 1980.
He also became the 11th player in UNLV history with more than 2,000 career receiving yards. And, since we are taking an eraser to the Rebels’ record book, Davis is the first receiver in program history with three games of three receiving touchdowns in the same season.
Senior Caleb Herring has been masterful at quarterback, completing 12 of 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for 31 yards on four carries. Nolan Kohorst drilled a 50-yard field goal with 1:09 to play in the half for the Rebels’ other points.
UNLV, of course, is trying to complete the Rebel sweep — the UNLV basketball team beat UT Martin, 88-58, earlier in the day at the Thomas & Mack Center. Some fans drove east down Tropicana Avenue to cheer on the football Rebels. A UNLV basketball ticket got your into Sam Boyd Stadium for free.
UNLV 85, UT Martin 55
Roscoe Smith finished with 13 points and 19 rebounds, and UNLV used a big run over the two halves to pull out an easy 85-55 victory against UT Martin today at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Bryce Dejean-Jones led the team in scoring with 16 points while Khem Birch and Kevin Olekaibe combined to score 24 points on 12 shots.
The start wasn't exactly what UNLV was looking for as the Rebels allowed the game to stay close because of their poor play on defense. They had some bad turnovers and didn't rotate well on defense, leaving themselves open to a lot of easy Skyhawk baskets.
That wasn't enough to keep UT Martin close for very long, though. UNLV got out in transition immediately in the second half and finished the game shooting 55.6 percent from the field. They were also 6-of-14 behind the three-point line.
Check lasvegassun.com for a full report from this evening's Rebels victory.
Setting the table for UNLV doubleheader
Today is going to be a long one for fans attending the double-header that starts at the Thomas & Mack Center at 4 p.m. and moves to Sam Boyd Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The Rebels could help make that time pass more quickly with a couple of big victories, something that’s possible but certainly no guarantee.
Let’s start with the men’s basketball game against UT-Martin, televised on Cox 96. The Rebels (2-3) are under .500 for the first time since 2005 and should move back up to even today.
The Skyhawks are 2-7 with their only victories coming against lower-division teams. UNLV is a 19-point favorite.
Although the Rebels' three losses each raised concerns, those games were against OK teams. Maybe not great, but UC Santa Barbara, Illinois and particularly Arizona State are going to go out and win some impressive games. A loss in this one would be different because UT-Martin has no business keeping the game close.
If this game doesn’t go the Rebels’ way early, there could be panic on the sidelines. Khem Birch even said as much Tuesday.
Any fans at the basketball game can use their ticket stub for free entry to the UNLV-San Diego State football game, televised on ESPNU. Overall this is the more important game being played today, though I’m sure there are some basketball fans who would argue every game at the Mack trumps any at Sam Boyd.
The football game got more interesting in the past 24 hours because San Jose State upset Fresno State on Friday night. That accomplishes a couple of things: First, it makes the Spartans bowl eligible at 6-6, and second, it knocks the Bulldogs out of BCS consideration.
That means the Mountain West entered the day with six bowl-eligible teams for six bowl games, since Fresno State is now likely headed to the Las Vegas Bowl. By the end of the day, the league could have eight eligible teams, though it’s more likely to get seven.
That’s still more spots than the Mountain West has ties to, so either a 6-6 league team could get left out of a bowl game altogether or one team — maybe Boise State or Utah State — could fill another vacancy for a vacancy left by another league. Either way, UNLV could do itself a huge favor with a victory against San Diego State, which would ensure the Rebels go somewhere. They don’t want to be stuck at 6-6 hoping things fall their way.
Bern’s predictions: If Rebels fans are lucky, this basketball game will be a foregone conclusion. It would certainly make life easier if they only had to sweat out one game. I think that’s what will happen, though I don’t think UNLV pulls off the sweep.
UNLV 80, UT-Martin 62
Season: ATS 3-2, O/U 4-1
San Diego State 38, UNLV 30
Season: ATS 8-3, O/U 6-4-1