UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has decided to stick with junior Sean Reilly as his starting quarterback when the Rebels (1-5, 0-1 Mountain West) host Colorado State (3-4, 1-1) on Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Reilly, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound transfer from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., completed just 7 of 16 attempts for 79 yards and one interception in his starting debut, a 41-14 loss at Wyoming on Oct. 15.
Sophomore Caleb Herring, who beat out Reilly for the starting QB job in fall camp, started UNLV’s first five games but struggled badly in back-to-back losses to Southern Utah and Nevada. He had three interceptions returned for touchdowns in the 41-16 loss to the Thunderbirds on Sept. 24 at Sam Boyd Stadium and followed that up by completing just one pass in 14 attempts for eight yards in a 37-0 setback at Reno.
Herring came off the bench to complete 2 of 5 passes for 25 yards in the Wyoming loss and Hauck hinted he also could see some action against the Rams.
“I could anticipate both quarterbacks playing Saturday,” Hauck said.
Both the Rebels and Colorado State limp into the contest with three-game losing streaks. While UNLV had a bye last weekend to try and regroup, the Rams were thumped at UTEP, 31-17, in a game not as close as the final score indicates. The Miners jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and finished with 340 yards rushing, averaging 9.4 yards per attempt.
“CSU is in the same situation as us right now, needing a win desperately,” Hauck said.
“We are a little inconsistent right now,” CSU coach Steve Fairchild said. “That’s who we are.”
The game against the Rams, who handed UNLV a 43-10 loss a year ago in Fort Collins, on paper
would appear to be one of the Rebels’ two best chances at picking up another win this season along with a Nov. 12 game at winless New Mexico (0-7, 0-2). However, UNLV has yet to win a road game in 11 tries under Hauck.
UNLV figures to be big underdogs in its other final four games: Nov. 5 vs. fifth-ranked Boise State (7-0), Nov. 19 at Air Force (3-4), Nov. 26 vs. San Diego State (4-2) and Dec. 3 at TCU (5-2).
“Certainly, we’ve got to have some urgency about … getting a win this weekend,” Hauck said. “They’re probably saying the same thing. They’ve got to look at us and feel like they’ve got a good chance to beat us.”
Colorado State holds a 13-5-1 edge in the series with UNLV, including a 6-1-1 record in games played in Las Vegas. However, the Rebels won the last meeting at Sam Boyd in 2009, 35-16.
Saturday’s 3 p.m. kickoff represents the first home day game of the Hauck era. The last time the Rebels had a home game start before 5 p.m. was in 2006.