BOISE – Boise State broke out special all-black uniforms for Saturday afternoon’s game with UNLV on its blue “Smurf Turf” at Bronco Stadium.
It was a fitting metaphor for what was going to transpire to Bobby Hauck’s squad.
The No. 24 Broncos (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West) bolted to a 25-0 halftime lead, forced three turnovers and knocked Rebel quarterback Nick Sherry out of the game en route to a convincing 32-7 victory.
It was the 19th straight road loss for UNLV (1-7, 1-2) dating back to an Oct. 24, 2009 win at New Mexico, while Boise State claimed its 47th straight October victory dating back to 2001.
Sherry was injured while attempting a pass with 3:25 remaining when blitzing backup nickel back Jonathan Brown nailed him in the ribs and slammed him to the turf hard on his right side.
Sherry laid on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field. After the game he also had to be helped off by a pair of teammates with his ribs and back heavily wrapped.
When asked if Sherry had suffered back spasms on the school’s postgame radio show, Hauck replied, “I don’t know exactly what transpired. … I’m hopeful he’ll be able to get back on the field early next week and play next week (at San Diego State).”
Hauck later told reporters that he thought Sherry was fine and he expects him to play against the Aztecs. If so, a good break for the Rebels because the injury initially looked a lot worse than that.
The injury to his back/ribs capped what had already been a painful day for Sherry and UNLV’s offense. The Rebels, playing without starting left tackle Brett Boyko (knee) and for most of the game without starting right tackle Yusef Rodgers (knee), finished with just 210 total yards. Sherry, meanwhile, completed just 14 of 31 passes for 71 yards and was intercepted twice.
UNLV’s only score came in the fourth quarter when Boise State’s backup quarterback Grant Hedrick fumbled on a hit by defensive end Sonny Sanitoa and corner Kenneth Penny scooped up the ball and ran 30 yards for a touchdown.
Senior running back D.J. Harper rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns, including a 1-yarder with 3:56 left in the third quarter that extended Boise State’s lead to 32-0. Starting quarterback Joe Southwick completed 22 of 30 passes for 243 yards in three quarters of action.
Bradley Randle led UNLV offensively with 64 yards on 16 carries while Tim Cornett added 61 yards on 16 carries.
“Give Boise credit, they whipped our tail today,” Hauck said. “They came out and they played very well. I was impressed with the way they played. They have been pretty unbeatable here over the last 13 years and we obviously didn’t have enough to get it done today.”