Mistakes, defensive holes sink Rebels’ emotional effort

OFFENSE: D

UNLV put together some very solid drives and the final stats showed the Rebels racked up a respectable 376 yards of offense in Saturday night’s 49-27 loss to UNR at Sam Boyd Stadium. A closer look shows that the unit suffered from some of the same problems that have plagued it all season long. The Rebels turned the ball over four times, including two interceptions in the end zone to kill promising drives. Those are the kinds of miscues that appeared far too often this season and will have the new coach at UNLV questioning whether Blake Decker will be the quarterback at the beginning of his senior year. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence was certainly a bright spot. The senior closed out his career with 135 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

DEFENSE: D-

UNLV limited UNR to just 46 yards passing, which viewed independently could be considered a very strong effort. All stats are subjective, however, and part of the reason for the lack of passing numbers could be chalked up to the fact the Rebels made it so easy for UNR to run the ball. The Wolf Pack had three guys go over 100 yards in the game and accumulated 408 yards on the ground. It was dreadful. The defense wasn’t helped by being on the field so much, but it’s their job to get stops and prevent that from happening.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-

There really weren’t a whole lot of glaring errors in the special teams on Saturday night, but there really weren’t any standout positive plays either. Marcus Sullivan did have a nice kickoff return, though there were plenty of chances to make something happen with all the UNR scores. Jonathan Leiva made all of his kicks. The biggest play for the special teams unit came in the fourth quarter with the game still in question. UNLV trailed 35-20 and forced a UNR punt, but Jay Mitchell muffed the kick and the Wolf Pack recovered at the UNLV 17-yard line. Three plays later, UNR scored and essentially put the game out of reach. It was essentially the end of the Bobby Hauck era.

COACHING: B

If Bobby Hauck’s decision to announce his resignation the night before the rivalry game was in part a ploy to fire up his team, it may have worked. At least early on, the Rebels were fired up and flying all over the field. Hauck and his staff seemed to have the team prepared for UNR on both sides of the ball. Emotion can only go so far, however, and the Wolf Pack eventually wore UNLV down. This grade certainly could have been lower because of how badly UNLV was outplayed after halftime, but hey, it’s his last game.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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