UNLV cruised to a 38-7 victory over Western Illinois tonight at Sam Boyd Stadium, reaching .500 for the first time under fourth-year coach Bobby Hauck.
The Rebels (2-2) also won back-to-back games for the first time since Hauck took over. They defeated Central Michigan 31-21 a week ago.
The victory over Western Illinois (2-2) also ended two years of disappointments against Football Championship Subdivision schools. Southern Utah two years ago and Northern Arizona last season defeated the Rebels.
Caleb Herring started at quarterback for the Rebels, and he completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 57 yards on 12 carries.
UNLV rushed for 284 yards.
Tim Cornett led the Rebels with 83 yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts. Adonis Smith also rushed for two touchdowns, finishing with 33 yards on six carries. Keith Whitely rushed for 57 yards on nine attempts, and Shaquille Murray-Lawrence gained 54 yards on 10 rushes.
UNLV next plays at New Mexico next Saturday.
UNLV took full control with two touchdowns early in the third quarter to build a 31-0 lead. The Rebels wound up ahead 31-7 by the end of the period.
Tim Cornett scored on the Rebels first’ drive of the second half, going 42 yards behind a heavy blocking set to the to the left side. Linebacker Tani Maka then set up the next touchdown, a 4-yard run by Adonis Smith, with an interception.
Western Illinois broke the shutout when Trenton Norvell threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Joey Borsellino with 2:15 left.
UNLV extended its lead to 17-0 over Western Illinois when Caleb Herring threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Phillips with 5:30 left in the second quarter.
The Rebels also extended their shutout streak to four quarters, going back to the second half of last week’s victory over Central Michigan.
UNLV outgained Western Illinois 190-158.
Herring played the entire half, and he completed 7 0f 10 passes for 90 yards. He also led the Rebels in rushing with 47 yards on nine carries.
Tim Cornett rushed for a 3-yard touchdown, and Nolan Kohorst made a 43-yard field goal to lead UNLV to a 10-0 lead over Western Illinois after one quarter.
Caleb Herring started at quarterback for the Rebels, and he completed 4 of 5 passes for 54 yards and rushed for 26 more yards on six carries.
The yardage was somewhat even, with the Rebels outgaining Western Illinois 94-70. The Leathernecks even drove as far at UNLV’s 13-yard line, but wound up turning over the ball on downs.
UNLV is mum on whether Caleb Herring or Nick Sherry will start at quarterback today when the Rebels play Western Illinois at 6 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Herring would seem to have the edge after passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-21 comeback victory over Central Michigan last weekend. He also took key snaps at practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sherry went into the season as the starter, but has thrown 12 interceptions in his past six games, including five in three starts this season.
The Rebels need to build on their success against Central Michigan, and they are 12½-point favorites. But they have lost the past two seasons to Football Championship Subdivision schools — Northern Arizona last year and Southern Utah in 2011.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.