UNLV coach Bobby Hauck didn’t try and sugar coat it. Then again, how could he?
“Congratulations to Arizona for coming in and beating the hell out of us,” Hauck said matter-of-factly after the Rebels were run off the field by the Wildcats, 58-13, Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. “They did a nice job.”
On an evening when the hot seat got a whole lot hotter for coaches like Mack Brown at Texas, whose Longhorns surrendered a staggering 550 rushing yards in a 40-21 upset loss at BYU, and USC’s Lane Kiffin, who heard “Fire Kiffin” chants echoing in the Coliseum after a stunning 10-7 setback to Washington State, Hauck probably saw any margin for error for his Rebel coaching future erased following the shockingly one-sided loss to the Wildcats (2-0).
Arizona, which led 14-0 at halftime a week earlier at home against mighty Northern Arizona, dominated from the start, bolting to a 17-0 first quarter lead and increasing it to 45-6 at halftime.
One can only imagine what the score might have been if the Wildcats had started consensus All-American running back Ka’Deem Carey, who sat out the first quarter due to a suspension but still managed to rush for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a little over a half of action.
How bad was it? Well, early in the second quarter UNLV (0-2), facing a 4th-and-9 on its own 26, lined up in punt formation and had to burn a timeout. The reason? Punter Logan Yunker was still on the bench.
Meanwhile, quarterback Nick Sherry threw two interceptions in a 5:25 span in the second quarter that were both run back for touchdowns. Sherry, who completed just 6-of-22 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, was replaced by senior Caleb Herring in the second half, and Hauck said he would have to watch the game film on Sunday morning before deciding his starting quarterback for next week’s game against Central Michigan.
The 45-point margin ranked as the third worst home loss in school history topped only by a 69-0 setback to Houston and Heisman winner Andre Ware in 1989 and a 65-17 loss to Beau Morgan-led Air Force in 1996.
Unlike the season opening loss at Minnesota when Hauck and company could at least point to playing a Big Ten team even except for some special teams breakdowns, it was hard to find any positives with this loss.
“Well, the positive is that it is over and we don’t play them again next week,” Hauck said.
The Rebels do next play Central Michigan, which had to rally defeat New Hampshire, 24-21, Saturday a week after losing arguably its two best offensive players in a season opening 59-9 loss at Michigan. And then Western Illinois, hot off a 34-6 victory over Division II Quincy, comes calling.
So it’s very possible UNLV could be 2-2 and back at .500 before traveling to New Mexico to open Mountain West play at the end the month.
“Our team will come back,” Hauck said. “They are resilient. We will attack the week and the guys will comes out and play their tails off next week.”