Game Recap: Wisconsin Dismantles UNLV On National TV, 51-17

 



UNLV Defense struggles in horrible showing by Rebels against 11th ranked Badgers.

This was expected. The line in Vegas was set at 35.5 for a reason. Yet somehow, it's disappointing to see as a UNLV fan. As a fan of your team, you expect more out of your team, no matter what the rest of the world expects. Well, the good news for Rebel fans is that the team did perform above expectations, but only on offense. The defense was atrocious, allowing 37 points by halftime and the Badgers to get to 51 points with seven minutes left in the third quarter before Wisconsin finally put in their backups.

The score may not show it, but the UNLV offense was very successful against Wisconsin's defense this game. In the first half, UNLV gained over 100 yards on the ground and Caleb Herring threw for just over 50 yards and the Rebels consistently were within 30 yards of the endzone, only to have a penalty or a bad play stint the drive. UNLV was able to finish two of those drives off for touchdowns in the second half to sneak and cover a game where they most likely should not have.

Not noticed by most people was that Caleb Herring had a very good game, going 18-27 throwing for 146 yards and 2 TD's. Not bad for a Sophomore quarterback making his first career start on the road in front of 77,000 screaming fans. The running game also did well on the night, although the stats don't reflect it. On 6-8 occasions, UNLV ran for 7 or more yards and UNLV's offensive line was able to set up some great blocks. That is a huge change from last season where the running game was atrocious for the Rebels.

For Wisconsin, new starting quarterback Russell Wilson had a great first game, throwing for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as rushing for 62 yards and touchdown. Montee Ball had 63 yards and 3 TD's and James White added 64 yards and a TD as well.

Some of the struggles for UNLV's defense could have been credited to mismatches. Wisconsin has a juggernaut of an offense this year, with two amazing running backs, a great dual-threat QB, massive offensive line, and an experienced receiving corps. Hopefully Wisconsin was just the perfect storm to destroy UNLV's defense and they should be able to play better in coming games.

If UNLV's offense plays the way it did today against any team not with the caliber of defense that Wisconsin has, then I could see this offense thriving under new quarterback Caleb Herring. If UNLV wants to take anything out of this, it was that the offense was much more successful than in any game last season against opponents not named Wyoming or New Mexico.

 

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