UNLV probably will have to learn how to play without Starr Fuimaono, but fellow linebacker Ronnie Paulo won’t miss any time.
Despite being on crutches for the second half of Saturday’s 42-21 loss at No. 22 Utah, Paulo has only a bruised leg and will start Saturday’s 7 p.m. game at No. 15 Arizona State.
It’s a big boost for the Rebels. Paulo, a Western High School graduate, leads the team with 16 tackles despite missing nearly three quarters against the Utes.
Coach Mike Sanford said he expected Paulo to practice today when the players return. They have Mondays off.
“He was actually walking around really well (Sunday),” Sanford said.
But Fuimaono’s loss forces the Rebels to adjust. Jason Beauchamp moves from the weak side to Fuimaono’s strong-side spot. Nate Carter, a freshman from Las Vegas High, becomes the weak-side starter.
Sanford said he didn’t know if or when Fuimaono would return, but he should have a clearer understanding today.
“The preliminary indications are a serious injury,” Sanford said.
Fuimaono was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury in the ninth game last year.
The losses of Fuimaono and Paulo early in the second quarter at Utah impacted the Rebels, who went from shutting out the Utes to not being able to stop them.
“I think the twos (second-teamers) need to prepare as starters and not with the idea that ‘I might play,’ ” Sanford said. “I think there needs to be more of a sense of urgency of our twos, and that’s something we’ve got to create and hold them accountable. But they’ve got to within themselves do a better job of getting themselves prepared.”
• PLAYING HURT — Sanford said offensive linemen John Gianninoto (sprained knee) and Evan Marchal (sprained ankle) remained in Saturday’s game after getting hurt.
Also, cornerback Quinton Pointer started and defensive tackle Jacob Hales, a Las Vegas High graduate, played even though they still have dislocated elbows.
“I think those are positive things as far as where this program has come,” Sanford said. “We’ve got guys that from a character standpoint want to play. I think there’s a little more of an understanding of the difference between pain and injury.”
• FIND A DISH — Saturday’s game against the Sun Devils will be televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona and is available in Southern Nevada only on satellite.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.LOCAL PLAYERS STAR ON SATURDAY
• Rashaun Greer, 2005 Mojave graduate, nine catches for 152 yards in Colorado State’s 23-20 victory over Sacramento State
• Stevenson Sylvester, 2006 Valley graduate, nine tackles, including one for a loss, in Utah’s 42-21 victory over UNLV
• Ryan Reynolds, 2005 Bishop Gorman graduate, eight tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup in Oklahoma’s 52-26 victory over Cincinnati
• DeMarco Murray, 2006 Bishop Gorman graduate, 88 yards rushing and one TD in Oklahoma’s 52-26 win over Cincinnati
• Lawrence Guy, 2008 Western graduate, three tackles and one fumble recovery in Arizona State’s 41-17 victory over Stanford