As Bobby Hauck walked off the field for one last time as UNLV’s head football coach around 11 p.m. on Saturday, maybe 150 Rebels fans dotted the stands on west side of Sam Boyd Stadium.
Most of the supporters wearing Rebel red had long since departed as UNLV put the finishing touches on another dismal 2-11 season with a 49-27 loss to Nevada in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon. In reality, many Rebel football fans had checked out long before Saturday night.
An announced crowd of 20,151 showed up for the big rivalry game with the Wolf Pack, and probably more than half were wearing blue. They witnessed what had become an all-too-familiar meltdown by the Rebels who gave up 35 second half points and 408 yards rushing.
Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo completed just five passes out of 13 attempts for 46 yards but three went for touchdowns. He also rushed for a game-high 143 yards on just 13 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run.
The Rebels actually led at halftime, 17-14, on a pair of Blake Decker touchdown passes to Devante Davis (3 yards) and freshman Devonte Boyd (24 yards) and a 44-yard Jonathan Leiva field goal.
But the Wolf Pack scored five touchdowns over a 18-minute span in the second half, including a 32-yard interception return by defensive end Lenny Jones that increased Nevada’s lead to 35-20 late in the third quarter.
Decker, who finished 21-of-39 for 171 yards, also was intercepted twice in the end zone. He finished the season a Mountain West worst 18 interceptions.
“The big thing is obviously the turnovers,” Hauck said. “We had four turnovers. When you’re up against it in a rivalry game, it’s not going to go well. The team that gets takeaways will win the game.”
Hauck, who brought and oddly introduced his attorney at his final postgame press conference, said he had a good time coaching at UNLV despite compiling just a 15-49 record (23.4 percent). Only Jeff Horton (13-44, 22.8 percent) had a lower win percentage in UNLV history.
“I’ve had an awesome experience here,” Hauck said. “The people of Las Vegas have been absolutely terrific for me and my family. A lot of people believed in what we were doing. We’re proud of the fact that there have been four winning seasons in this program and these guys got one. We’ve been to four bowl games and these guys got one. We just couldn’t put two (good seasons) in a row together.”