COL­LEGES Rebels hum­bled at home by Lo­bos

UNLV coach up­set as backup QB can’t de­liver in his de­but

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Mark An­der­son Con­tact Mark An­der­son at man­der­son@ re­viewjour­nal.com. Fol­low @ markan­der­son65 on Twit­ter.

UNLV’s of­fense looked lost with­out quar­ter­back Ar­mani Rogers, and the Rebels’ sea­son ap­pears to be a lost cause as well.

New Mex­ico, which a week ago lost at home to Lib­erty, em­bar­rassed the Rebels 5014 on Sat­ur­day at Sam Boyd Sta­dium.

“We got our tails kicked to­day,” UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. “I thought we were flat and lethar­gic from the very be­gin­ning. I don’t think it got a lot bet­ter.

“I’ve got to tell you what, man, ev­ery one of those guys has got to sit there and look at them­selves and ask them­selves how bad they want this, and we’ve got to fig­ure out who wants to be here and who wants to roll. We had two weeks off, and it looks like we were still on va­ca­tion.”

It was a ma­jor set­back for UNLV (2-3, 1-1 Moun­tain West), which en­tered the game with what it con­sid­ered le­git­i­mate bowl hopes. Not af­ter this per­for­mance and what awaits with a de­mand­ing trip to Utah State next Sat­ur­day and a po­ten­tially bru­tal Novem­ber.

Max Gil­liam started in place of Rogers, who is out about an­other five weeks with an in­jured toe, and the backup strug­gled from the be­gin­ning. He fin­ished 15 of 35 for 123 yards with two touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion.

“Each in­di­vid­ual per­son has got to fig­ure out what they can do bet­ter, es­pe­cially me,” Gil­liam said. “I’ve got to fig­ure out what I can do bet­ter and build off of it.”

UNLV didn’t pick up its first first down un­til 1:57 re­mained in the first half when Gil­liam com­pleted an 11-yard pass to Ken­dal Keys.

The run­ning game, which was av­er­ag­ing 336.5 yards, to­taled 43. Lex­ing­ton Thomas rushed for 36 yards on just six car­ries; he was av­er­ag­ing 116.2 yards.

The Rebels trailed 29-0 at half­time, and the statis­tics told of the dom­i­na­tion by the Lo­bos (3-2, 1-0). New Mex­ico out­gained UNLV 286 yards to 23 and had 15 first downs to one for the Rebels.

The Lo­bos took ad­van­tage of the stiff wind in the sec­ond quar­ter to score all their first-half points, but Gil­liam had his dif­fi­cul­ties even when the Rebels had the wind at their backs in the first pe­riod.

UNLV’s first of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion was an in­di­ca­tion of what was to come:

■ Over­thrown swing pass to Thomas.

■ Fum­bled snap and 3-yard loss.

■ Mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion and over­throw of a deep pass to Keys.

Now the Rebels face se­ri­ous ques­tions about where this sea­son — and pro­gram — is head­ing. The most im­por­tant is if they will have any­thing tan­gi­ble to play for when Rogers re­turns.

“I think the ef­fort and en­ergy wasn’t there,” Rebels de­fen­sive end Jameer Out­sey said. “I think it was ev­i­dent in warmups. When we came out, you could feel it wasn’t that spark that we usu­ally have. I think we learned our les­son the hard way, un­for­tu­nately.”

Erik Ver­duzco Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @Erik_Ver­duzco

UNLV wide re­ceiver Mekhi Steven­son drops the ball in the end zone against New Mex­ico safety A.J. Gree­ley in the fourth quar­ter Sat­ur­day at Sam Boyd Sta­dium. The Rebels lost 50-14.

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