COLLEGES Rebels humbled at home by Lobos
UNLV coach upset as backup QB can’t deliver in his debut
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.”
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.