So, yes, UNLV did just experience their first embarrassing loss of the season. And, yes, next week they visit the big house in Michigan, where, they will likely experience another embarrassing loss at the hands of another football powerhouse. But, no, the sky isn't falling, yet.
In fact, the sky is being held up with a glimmer of hope that starting quarterback, Blake Decker, has not experienced a season ending injury. In what seemed like a routine run down the field to gain some extra yards, Decker awkwardly collapsed with no fault against his or UCLA's players. Noticeably shaken, Decker was able to walk off the field under his own weight, but he never returned to the game.
And even though UNLV paid heavily for his absence in Saturday's match up, it was not the sole cause of the Rebels' loss. Maybe, it was Tony Sanchez's failed decision to fake a field goal to get UNLV on the scoreboard early; this left many Rebel fans scratching their heads. Or, maybe it was more worrisome when fans saw their back-up quarterback, essentially, toss the ball to the other team (who happily ran the interception in for a touchdown). In fact, back up QB Kurt Palandech, threw for 4 yards. Total.
As unique as UNLV's stylish, new Vegas inspired field looked on Saturday, they were faced with some personnel questions that have plagued the program for a decade. Most importantly, what to do when your starting QB makes an early exit and your back-up is more used to executing designed plays where he runs (rather than throws)? This particular question could haunt Sanchez and his staff for the next week, maybe even the entire season.
A bright spot for the young Rebels on Saturday: defense. Let's be honest, UNLV's loss could have been a lot worse. Did you see the national scoreboard of teams scoring in the 40s and 50s? The Rebel defense shook off a lot of threats from the Bruins' offense and made their promising freshman quarterback look mortal.
As I mentioned last week, this season Rebel fans may have to thrive off of enjoying the "bright spots," because UNLV football is a work in progress.