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Rebels’ bowl hopes slim after setback

FORT WORTH, Texas — UNLV was in this situation last football season, needing to win its final three games to become bowl eligible.

The Rebels are there again following Saturday’s 41-0 loss to No. 8 Texas Christian to drop to 3-6.

“That’s what we have to do,” quarterback Omar Clayton said of winning out. “That’s our only option right now is to put the mistakes that we had in this game behind us and go on to the next game.”

The Rebels made a serious run at bowl eligibility last season before falling 42-21 in their finale at San Diego State to come up a game short.

Now they have to beat Colorado State at home next Saturday, win at Air Force on Nov. 14 and defeat San Diego State at home on Nov. 28.

Not an easy task, especially the trip to Air Force, but all three teams have had their own struggles.

“I think that we’re still very focused,” UNLV defensive end/linebacker Jason Beauchamp said. “The seniors (including) myself, we’re going to force guys to work.

“I think there is definitely a chance we can run the table these last three games.”

BLOCKING THE MAN — UNLV offensive tackle Evan Marchal had the difficult assignment of trying to contain TCU All-America defensive end Jerry Hughes.

Hughes entered the game leading the Mountain West Conference in sacks with nine but had none against the Rebels. He also was limited to five tackles and a quarterback hit.

“My whole plan coming in here was to keep the quarterback clean,” Marchal said. “I think we did a pretty good job of that today.”

A real good job. The Horned Frogs, who had a league-high 26 sacks, were shut out.

“I think our offensive line did a nice job,” coach Mike Sanford said. “I believe Evan Marchal and our entire offensive line competed and fought and played hard.”

EMOTIONAL TIME — Sanford and four players visited linebacker Bryce Saldi on Friday night at a rehabilitation facility in Plano, Texas.

Saldi, 20, suffered a serious brain injury in a skateboarding accident July 3 in Southern California.

Beauchamp, one of the players who visited Saldi, said Saldi can’t talk but communicates with his eyes.

“The team feels for him, and we hope to keep his jersey in the locker room,” Beauchamp said. “So he’s with us still.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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