Stevens: Lobos Fall 35-7 To UNLV Rebels & Big Plays

Nov. 3, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Football - Mountain West - at UNLV Rebels

Saturday: UNLV Rebels 35, New Mexico Lobos 7

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In Lobo Coach Bob Davie's words: "Reality hit."

The young and depth-challenged New Mexico Lobos ran into a hot UNLV team Saturday in Las Vegas and the Lobos were slapped with a hard 35-7 Mountain West loss. The Rebels outgained UNM 530 yards to 350.

"Reality kind of hit us in the face right there," said Davie. "It was a disappointing performance, but not the effort of our players. We're going to go back and look at everything from A to Z.

"I'm not going to accept this type of performance. There are some things that are unacceptable."

The UNLV Rebels came up with one of their better defensive effort of the season, and outgained the Lobos by 180 yards to snap a five-game losing skid.

The Lobos fell into a deep 21-0 first-half hole and could never get untracked on offense and fell to 4-6 on the year and 1-4 in Mountain play. The Lobos ride a three-game losing streak into Saturday's MW game on Branch Field vs. Nevada.

UNLV totaled 530 yards with 289 yards coming off the hands of quarterback Nick Sherry and 241 yards coming on the ground.

The Rebs came into the game with a balanced attack and got that Saturday against UNM. UNLV had two runners crack the 100-yard barrier - Bradley Randle with 113 yards and Tim Cornett with 107 yards.

The Lobos went to Vegas looking to control the game and the clock with a Cole Gautsche-Kasey Carrier led option. Gautsche had 35 yards and Carrier had 52. UNM decisively won the clock battle 41:02 to 18:53.

"When you give up big plays like we give up on defense, it sucks the energy out of everybody," said Davie. "Some things shouldn't happen. (UNLV) did a good job. They made it really hard inside running it. We had to work for everything.

"In the second half, we did a little bit better."

The Rebs came into the game with a solid running attack, but they stunned UNM with several big plays. Randle averaged 9.4 yards on 12 carries and Cornett averaged 11.9 yards on nine carries. UNLV's Devante Davis had seven receptions for 145 yards. UNLV averaged 10 yards per carry and 17 yards per pass completion.

The Lobos totaled 350 yards with 307 rushing and 43 passing. The Lobos had no 100-yard rushers with Chase Clayton leading the ground charge with 75 yards on seven carries - a 10.7 average. Jhurrell Pressley had 56 yards.

The Lobos threw only six passes and completed three. Gautsche was limited to 35 yards on 11 carries. Carrier, targeted all afternoon by the UNLV defense, had 52 yards on 18 carries - a 2.9 average.

UNM had 71 offensive plays to 51 for UNLV.

It just wasn't the Lobos' day. Even in the fourth quarter when UNM ruled the clock 12:10 to 2:45, it was the Rebels, who reached the scoreboard. That final dagger - another big play -- was a 58-yard run by Randle. That drive took 1:52.

"On defense, "big plays continue to happen," said Davie.

The second half opened well for UNM as the Lobos stopped UNLV on its first possession and then UNM marched 77 yards to make it a 21-7 game. The Lobos started that drive on their 23-yard line and ended it on a 5-yard scoring run by Carlos Wiggins.

The Lobos were in the position where they had to keep UNLV out of the end zone and chip away on the scoreboard. The Lobos did not score again.

The Rebs held UNM on the Lobos' next offensive possession and then UNLV found a dagger - a 75-yard scoring pass from Nick Sherry to Devante Davis. The Rebs scored that touchdown with no time left in the third quarter and carried a fat 28-7 lead into the final frame.

The Lobos had another good chance to chip away at UNLV's lead, but a fourth-and-goal at the UNLV nine-yard line ended with a Cole Gautsche interception by UNLV's Kenny Keys. Keys returned that pick 32 yards to the UNLV 32.

That lost scoring opportunity hurt even more when you consider UNM had a first-and-goal at the UNLV eight and another first-and-goal at the UNLV two-yard line.

First Half: UNLV Rebels 21, New Mexico Lobos 0

It was a pretty good first half for Lobo Matt Raymer but a bad half for the New Mexico Lobos on both sides of the football.

Raymer forced and recovered a fumble and stopped a UNLV drive with his first career interception in the closing seconds of the half. However, the Rebels scored three times and the UNM option was stymied by a hard-hitting UNLV defense.

There were few statistical categories in the first half that leaned to UNM. The Rebels finished with 351 total yards to 119 for the Lobos. UNLV had 189 yards passing to no yards for the Lobos.

The Rebels did not punt and went 3-for-4 inside the UNM red zone. The Lobos never cracked the UNLV red zone. The Rebs were 3-of-4 on third down conversions and UNM was 1-of-6.

The UNM option, which had started so many games with a hot first half, was not clicking or moving in the first half. The Rebs actually out gained UNM on the ground, 162 yards to 119. The Rebels also had two running backs gain more yardage than UNM's Kasey Carrier, who had 26 first-half yards. UNLV's Tim Cornett had 105 yards and Randle Bradley had 41 yards rushing.

The Rebels scored in the first quarter on a 17-yard burst by Cornett. When the Rebels scored their second touchdown in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead, UNM had only four first downs and 70 total yards. UNLV had 206 yards at that point.

The Lobos had three possessions in the first quarter and ended those possessions with punts. Probably the Lobos' best moment in that initial quarter was a fumble created and recovered by Raymer, when the count was still 0-0. It came on UNLV's first offensive possession. That was a nice spark for the Lobos, but they did nothing with it.

The Lobos didn't have much luck stopping the Rebs after that.

Even a good moment turned sour for UNM in the first half. The Rebels held UNM on downs at midfield, but a Ben Skaer punt pinned UNLV on its own 3-yard line. On their first snap, Rebel Cornett rambled 62 yards around end to pull UNLV out of that hole.

UNLV's Sherry then connected with Caleb Herring for 26 yards that took the Rebs from the UNM 35 to the UNM nine. UNLV's Randle Bradley scored on the next play and UNLV went up 21-0.

The Rebs had an amazing 303 total yards at that mark despite ending one possession on a fumble.

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.