HOUSTON – UNLV opens Mountain West Conference play next weekend at San Diego State. And Saturday’s latest blowout loss, a 47-14 setback to a so-so Houston Cougars squad, was not exactly the kind of momentum that Rebels head coach Bobby Hauck was looking for heading into league play.
Far from it in fact.
“We’ve got to redirect here and get our ship righted because we are in danger of being in a tailspin,” Hauck said on his postgame radio show. “We need to pull out of the nosedive and get ourselves right.”
The Rebels (1-3), whose only victory this season was by one point (13-12) over an FCS team, Northern Colorado, left TDECU Stadium with plenty of big question marks.
* UNLV’s offense had 16 possessions in the contest yet managed just 14 points, including seven points on its final 15 possessions. This against a 2-2 Houston team that was torched for 523 yards in a 33-25 loss at BYU a week earlier.
* Star wide receiver Devante Davis, a Houston native who spent all week saying how fired up he was to play in front of friends and family and to show the hometown team it had made a mistake not recruiting him, finished with one catch for zero yards.
Yes, you read that right. One catch for zero yards.
* Starting quarterback Blake Decker (12-of-28, 113 yards, 2 interceptions) and backup Nick Sherry (4-of-11, 33 yards, 1 interception) combined to complete just 16-of-39 passes and throw three interceptions with no touchdowns.
* Houston, known, more for its wide-open passing attack, rushed for 399 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt.
* The Rebels were flagged for 11 penalties for 171 yards.
* Star linebacker Peni Vea was taken off the field on a stretcher with an apparent neck injury but Hauck said afterward he thought he would be okay.
Yep, it doesn’t get much uglier than that.
“We’ve got some fixin’ to do,” Hauck said. “There’s some stuff we have got to get fixed. Each one of us, starting with the head coach, have got to look ourselves in the mirror and figure out what we have to do better so we can start the conference season and start it by playing well.”
Despite all the negatives, the Rebels actually were in it for a half, taking a 7-0 lead on the first series of the game, a nine-play, 70-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run by Keith Whitely.
But Houston scored the next 30 points with quarterback John O’Korn running for a one-yard touchdown and throwing for two more. Daniel Spencer chipped in with a 35-yard touchdown run and Kyle Bullard hit the first of his two field goals, a 41-yarder.
UNLV got as close as 30-14 late in the third quarter on a one-yard run by George Naufahu, but Houston pulled away with 17 fourth quarter points.
The Rebels open Mountain West play at San Diego State (1-2), a 28-7 loser at Oregon State, on Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN3.
MyLVsports.com staff report