Rebels Rout Leathernecks
Sept. 21, 2013
By W.G. Ramirez, special to UNLVRebels.com
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - UNLV football recorded its biggest victory since 2010 - when it defeated New Mexico by 35 points - with Saturday night's 38-7 blowout win over Western Illinois.
"We played penalty free, we ran the ball well, we were plus-two in the turnover battle, we controlled it from start to finish - it's a pretty complete win for us," UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. "It's nice to win two in a row, something we haven't done here. I think our guys have a taste for that and like it."
Using a balanced attack on offense, UNLV (2-2) outgained the Leathernecks, 424-338. It was also the first time in school history the Rebels played an entire game without being flagged for an infraction.
Quarterback Caleb Herring, who started for the first time this season, completed 14 of 20 pass attempts for 140 yards and one touchdown, while his QB rating was an impressive 145.3. Herring also rushed for 57 yards.
"It really does feel good heading into conference play," Herring said of the win. "It's nice to celebrate with your teammates. We fed off each other; it was definitely a team win."
"Our run game was fairly extensive," Hauck said. "They gave us a couple of looks that they hadn't shown this year, but we saw on film (from last season). Our offensive line did a good job tonight adjusting."
The Rebels opened their scoring attack with their second possession, in the first quarter, when Tim Cornett capped a 46-yard drive with a 3-yard run for the score. Though the Leathernecks (2-2) came right back with a 10-play drive to UNLV's 20, they failed to convert on fourth down. UNLV returned the favor with 10 plays of its own and placekicker Nolan Kohorst booted a 43-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 10-0 advantage.
"Our guys started out fast and finished strong," Hauck said.
UNLV extended its lead to 17-0 in the second quarter, when Herring hooked up with tight end Jake Phillips on a 27-yard touchdown strike.
The Rebels wasted no time after halftime, scoring on their first two drives of the second half. UNLV took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 8 plays over 3:13, culminating with Cornett's 26th career TD as a Rebel, which is tied for fourth all-time in school history. The 6-foot senior is now just 382 yards shy of becoming the UNLV's all-time leading rusher in school history.
UNLV's defense stepped up for the team's next big play, as linebacker Tani Maka recorded his fourth career interception on Western Illinois' next possession. Two plays later, UNLV's Adonis Smith ran for his first touchdown as a Rebel to put UNLV ahead 31-0 with 8:00 left in the third quarter.
WIU quarterback Trenton Norvell hit wideout Joey Borsellino with an 11-yard scoring strike in the third quarter for the Leathernecks only score, which snapped a 62-point run by the Rebels over five quarters of play.
Smith finished the scoring with a 16-yard scamper with 11:54 left in the game.
The victory marked the first time UNLV has won back to back games under fourth-year head coach Bobby Hauck, and the first time since doing it twice in 2008. The Rebels reached at least the .500 mark after four games for the first time since opening the 2009 campaign 2-2.