This kick off return by UNLV wide receiver Marcus Sullivan who went untouched but tripped and fell pretty much describes how the Rebels played for most of the Heart of Dallas Bowl in their 36-14 loss against North Texas.
The game did start of well for UNLV as they took their opening drive 95 yards on eight plays to go up 7-0, but after that very little went right for the Rebels. After that first scoring drive UNLV punted six on their next seven drives. The first big mistake for UNLV was when the defense forced North Texas to punt on their second drive but Keith Whitely fumbled the punt and allowed the Mean Green to score their first touchdown and tie the game.
The game was tied at seven heading into the half but the North Texas defense showed that they are a good unit was able to get after UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring and sacked him five times. The UNLV offense managed just 101 yards after their opening drive and only 65 in the second half. Fifty of those yards came on the Rebels only touchdown in the second half.
Herring completed just 22 of 41 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns, and he threw a late interception as the Rebels were attempting to comeback, and then running back Tim Cornett was to just 33 yards which is the same amount Herring earned.
The UNLV defense did not fair much better as they were worn down by North Texas' offense which had three consecutive second half touchdown drives that lasted 12, 12 and 10 plays. The Rebels defense had no answer for the North Texas balanced attack.
No single player was superb for the Mean Green; quarterback Derek Thompson completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards and a pair of score, and then the running game was led by the combo of Brandin Byrd and Brelan Chancellor who combined for 99 yards. Chancellor was more efficient as he scored two touchdowns and averaged 6.7 yards per carry on seven attempts, plus he caught six passes for 74 yards.
This second half for UNLV could easily be argued as their worse of the season and if not it rivals the second half against Minnesota back in Week 1 where UNLV just fell apart and allowed 35 second half points.
Even in the loss against North Texas on New Year's Day, this was a big accomplishment for UNLV and their football program. This was their first bowl game since 2000 and even though the team loses a good chunk of talent next year this bowl game appearance can be used as motivation for the 2014 season.