Clausen’s spring flings connect

The plan wasn’t to give Mike Clausen that much playing time — "It’s how the drives worked out," coach Mike Sanford said — but UNLV’s backup quarterback didn’t waste the opportunity.

Clausen looked like he was in midseason form Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium, completing 10 of 14 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns in UNLV’s spring football game.

His scoring passes went for 13 yards to Rodelin Anthony and 48 to Jerriman Robinson.

"We’ve got a very healthy situation at quarterback in that we have Omar (Clayton) as our No. 1 and in reality Mike Clausen as a 1A," Sanford said. "He’s been very competitive, very sharp, and we expect him to carry that into the fall."

Clausen, a sophomore, gained valuable experience last season when he started the final three games after Clayton’s season-ending knee injury. Clausen won the first two before losing at San Diego State. Seeing action in nine games, he completed 56 percent of his passes for 767 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.

"I kind of put last season behind me as far as spring ball," Clausen said. "That last outing (against the Aztecs) didn’t go as planned, so I worked as hard as I could to make myself a better player. I think it showed today in this game."

This is still Clayton’s team, though. The junior played the first two series and the final one in a two-minute situation. Clayton completed 4 of 7 passes for 73 yards.

Unlike previous spring games, assistant coaches did not draft teams. Instead, the first-team offense and defense played the backups. The coaches saw mostly what they wanted, with the starters beating the reserves, 17-0.

"There was a lot of competition," Sanford said. "I thought we played hard. You like to see the (No. 1) offense and defense win."

Junior tackle Malo Taumua, who had a sack, said the starting defense didn’t go in attempting to register a shutout but it became a goal as the game wore on.

"That’s the defense’s mentality — keep everyone out of the end zone," Taumua said.

Now the Rebels head into offseason conditioning. They apparently didn’t suffer any significant injuries Friday.

• NOTES — UNLV gained its first two commitments of the 2010 recruiting class: linebacker Austin Arias (6 feet, 215 pounds) of Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz., and defensive tackle Quentin Jones (6-0, 311) of Northland High in Columbus, Ohio. Both attended the spring game. …

Third-string quarterback Les Obie completed 8 of 16 passes for 62 yards. … Chris Brogdon led the tailbacks with 24 yards on three carries. … Anthony caught four passes for 46 yards to lead the receivers. … Safety Marquel Martin led with five tackles.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. To read more about the Rebels, go to lvrj.com/blogs/unlv_sports.

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