Of­fense not lone flaw in blowout loss

De­fense, spe­cial teams had ma­jor break­downs

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

UNLV’s of­fense, play­ing with backup quar­ter­back Max Gil­liam, wasn’t the only part of the team that strug­gled Sat­ur­day.

The Rebels’ de­fense al­lowed 502 yards in a 50-14 loss to New Mex­ico at Sam Boyd Sta­dium.

New Mex­ico gained 286 yards by half­time in build­ing a 29-0 lead.

“It’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing,” UNLV de­fen­sive end Jameer Out­sey said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan. I think we pre­pared right and worked hard all week, but we came out slow and didn’t come out ready to play.”

The Lo­bos have scored 40 or more points in four of five games and are av­er­ag­ing 42.2 points.

Still, this kind of de­fen­sive per­for­mance wasn’t ex­pected from UNLV af­ter early signs of progress. The Rebels were al­low­ing aver­ages of 390.8 yards and 27.8 points.

Spe­cial teams ad­ven­tures

Both teams had their mis­cues.

New Mex­ico kicker An­drew Shel­ley had his first ex­tra point blocked by UNLV’s Jeri­cho Flow­ers, and he missed his sec­ond one wide. Then there was UNLV. In the fourth quar­ter, af­ter UNLV forced a punt, the ball bounced off the back of Alex Perry’s leg and was re­cov­ered by New Mex­ico’s Dy­lan Hor­ton at the Rebels’ 11. New Mex­ico scored a touch­down shortly af­ter­ward to ex­tend its lead to 43-7.

UNLV coaches ad­dressed spe­cial teams is­sues go­ing into the game by in­sert­ing Mekhi Steven­son at punt re­turn and Evan Owens and Tyleek Collins at kick re­turn. Coach Tony Sanchez said it was the punt re­turner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to field the punt in the air so that the ball didn’t bounce around.

“It’s pa­thetic,” Sanchez said. “No­body in Amer­ica harped on it more than us this week. At the 7, you catch the (punt), and it dropped on the 12-yard line. There’s nowhere at any level where you do not catch the ball when it falls in front of the 7-yard line.”

One spe­cial teams play that worked was a fake punt in which Hayes Hicken rushed for 14 yards and a first down in the third quar­ter.

Odds and ends

Line­backer Ja­coby Wind­mon (6 feet 1 inch, 215 pounds) of John Ehret High School in Mar­rero, Lou­i­si­ana, tweeted that he com­mit­ted to the Rebels. … This was fourth-year coach Sanchez’s first loss in a con­fer­ence opener. … New Mex­ico evened the se­ries 12-12, but UNLV had been on a roll in win­ning six of eight be­fore Sat­ur­day. … This re­sult was an out­lier in what usu­ally has been an en­ter­tain­ing se­ries. Eight of the pre­vi­ous 13 games were de­cided by seven points or fewer.

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