It's difficult to discount UNLV's effort, but perhaps that's the problem.
No matter how hard the Rebels play, it's not good enough, largely because injuries have decimated them.
Many of those injuries are long term. Twenty-four players were on last week's injury report, including 12 ruled out by Tuesday for Saturdays' 48-6 loss to fourth-ranked Texas Christian.
"I don't know if I've ever been around anything like it," coach Bobby Hauck said. "For instance, if we had more than one corner go down (Saturday), we didn't have a fourth corner."
Hauck said Deante Purvis would've had to move back from tailback, but he went down with an undisclosed injury.
"I don't know what we would've done," Hauck said.
At 1-7 (1-3 Mountain West Conference), the Rebels next play at Brigham Young (3-5, 2-2) at 11 a.m. PDT Saturday as 19½-point underdogs. They might be underdogs the rest of the season.
Have the injuries prompted Hauck and his coaches to reset their goals?
"We'll never enter a season without a goal to win the Mountain West championship, but you have to be a realist, and you have to have other goals," Hauck said. "So our goal is to win the game that week and to play the best game of the year, and we need to try to do that. Despite the score (Saturday), we did some things right."
Not that UNLV was considered a bowl team anyway, but the loss to TCU made it official. It could be tempting for Hauck to go entirely to a youth movement and start redshirt freshman Caleb Herring at quarterback over senior Omar Clayton, but he said he won't do that.
Herring entered late against TCU and threw two incomplete passes.
"We really intended to play Caleb some more, but they controlled the ball a lot in the fourth quarter," Hauck said.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.