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Three Up, Three Down

Chris Ault, UNR’s Hall of Fame football coach, brings to mind the Russian guy who has everything in that DirecTV commercial, only without the Cold War accent and the grammatical errors.

Opulence? He has it.

This year’s Wolf Pack are an embarrassment of riches. Fantastic quarterback. Excellent running back. Novel offense that nobody seems to know how to defend. Much-improved defense. Undefeated record. National ranking.

I don’t know if "savings the money" had anything to do with UNR’s decision to bolt the Western Athletic Conference at a later date/just as soon as it can. But you can understand why, when an opportunity to join the Mountain West arose during two-a-days, Ault would want to "jump in it." Or on it.

Three weeks ago, he beat Colorado State of the MWC, 51-6. Last week, he beat Brigham Young, 27-13.

Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, he beat UNLV, 44-26.

That’s pretty much jumping in it. Er, on it.

At least it took a little while for UNR to turn UNLV into miniature giraffes.

The Wolf Pack fumbled away a punt in the shadow of their own goal line and made other niggling mistakes. Unforced errors are never a good idea, regardless of how much your defense has improved, or how much you like savings the money.

UNLV’s Will Chandler made another big play, intercepting a long pass by UNR’s Colin Kaepernick when there really was no reason to throw one, not when the Wolf Pack offensive line was carving giant holes in the UNLV front seven that Louie Anderson could run through.

This would also fall into the category of a niggling UNR mistake. As would another turnover, inside UNLV’s 5-yard line.

UNR led 28-14 at halftime, but you figured it might be a bit more than that at the end, because you knew there was no way UNLV could install a moat and alligators in the trenches during the brief intermission.

Heads didn’t roll, but helmets did, either due to hard hitting or defective chin straps.

UNR (5-0) looked a little bored to me. UNLV (1-4) still looked a little outmatched, but not nearly as much as at Idaho a couple of weeks ago.

The Fremont Cannon went back whence it came.

No surprise there. No surprise with any of it, really.

Except, of course, the miniature giraffes.


■ BRYCE HARPER: The Las Vegas phenom hit his first instructional league home run last week, for the Instructional League Nationals against the Instructional League Braves. He hit his first Instructional League double and his first Instructional League triple. He also was approached to sign his 10,314th Instructional League autograph.

■ BOB BLUM: The (really) longtime Las Vegas 51s official and Lady Rebels basketball announcer celebrated his 90th birthday Friday and again at Saturday’s UNLV-UNR football game at Sam Boyd Stadium. (He’s going stronger than ever, by the way.) The fire marshal confiscated Blum’s birthday cake, thereby spoiling a plan to use it to light a fire under the Rebels.

■ ALLISON KEELEY: The UNLV volleyball coach — and her team — beat UNR for the fifth straight time last week. So, yeah, it can be done.


■ UNLV: The last time I saw a giant basketball arena used for a news conference is when Jesus Shuttlesworth signed with Big State in "He Got Game." This news about Rebels basketball star Tre’Von Willis kinda, sorta being suspended was pretty ginormous, so perhaps a ginormous venue was called for, too.

■ BRIGHAM YOUNG FOOTBALL: Utah State beat BYU for the first time since 1993 on Friday night, and it wasn’t even close. The Cougars fell to 1-4 and will struggle to become bowl eligible. This might explain why MAACO Bowl Las Vegas executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy was spotted staggering aimlessly around Interstate 15 North near Spanish Fork, appearing as if she’d been hit by a small truck.

■ CHEERING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: I was going to say that fans who attend the UNLV-UNR game generally drink too much beer. But my train of thought was interrupted by the Bud Light Halftime Report.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352.

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