Tim Cornett said before his senior season that he wanted the football.
Now he’s getting it and will continue to carry the load for UNLV, including in Saturday’s 5 p.m. game against Utah State at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“You get to November, it tends to become a little more go till you can,” coach Bobby Hauck said. “It will be, odds are, less of a rotation.”
That suits Cornett just fine.
Hauck has helped keep Cornett fresh for this stretch run, going back to 2010.
Cornett averaged 11.1 carries per game as a freshman that season and 10.8 as a sophomore. Then the Rebels increased the figure to 18.6 last season, and Cornett now is up to 19.0.
No. 2 back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence has 39 carries for the season. He has five rushes in the past three weeks combined as the Rebels have gone more and more to Cornett.
“I feel like what I did in the offseason (conditioning) helped me hold up so I could withstand nicks and bruises and small injuries,” Cornett said. “I’m able to come back real quick. It’s good for the team that I can take a load like that and play.”
Cornett is 145 yards from becoming the first UNLV back to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons since Mike Thomas in 1973 and 1974. Thomas is the only Rebel to accomplish that feat.
■ UNLV’s first-year coordinators — Timm Rosenbach on offense and Tim Hauck on defense — seem to be making the right moves at halftime. The Rebels have been outscored by a combined 80 points in the first half and have outscored opponents by 35 points in the second half. Those totals are especially pronounced if three routs — losses to Minnesota and Arizona and a victory over Western Illinois — aren’t included. UNLV was outscored by a combined 55 points in the first halves of the other six games, while outscoring the opposition by a total of 52 in the second 30 minutes. The Rebels went 4-2 in those games.
■ Saturday’s winner between UNLV and Utah State becomes bowl eligible, and reaching the postseason still is fairly new for both programs. UNLV hasn’t been in 13 years, and the Aggies will try to make their third straight appearance for the first time in school history. Until making bowls the past two seasons, the Aggies hadn’t appeared in the postseason in back-to-back years since 1960 and 1961.
■ The Rebels’ games against Utah State often are close. They have met 20 times, and 10 of those games were decided by a touchdown or less.
FOR THE RECORD
■ The Rebels have been penalized 3.1 times per game and a 29.7-yard average, second nationally to Navy’s numbers of 2.8 penalties with 23.1 yards. With 28 penalties for 267 yards, the Rebels are in the position to easily set two new lows — beating the school record of 59 penalties in 1998 and the mark of 516 yards in 2008.
■ Even though he threw two interceptions last Saturday against San Jose State, quarterback Caleb Herring remains in position to set UNLV’s career record for lowest percentage of passes picked off. His percentage rose to 2.1, lower than the 2.9 mark put up by Randall Cunningham from 1982 to 1984.
■ Safety Frank Crawford has intercepted four passes this season and has picks in the past three games. That streak ties the Rebels’ record held by three other players, most recently Will Chandler in 2010.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.