Coming off a bye week, after two double-digit losses, the Rebels traveled up to Wyoming to get the ship righted for conference play. UNLV needed to get a victory to give itself a somewhat feasible path to six wins and a bowl game. But, in their biggest game of the season, the Rebels were out of it by halftime, and lost to Wyoming 53-17.
The night got off to a decent start for UNLV. The Rebel defense came out strong, they sacked Wyoming’s Sean Chambers on third down forcing a Cowboys punt. UNLV got the ball and drove down to the field and the Rebels struck first thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Daniel Gutierrez.
Wyoming scored a touchdown to retake the lead, but UNLV answered right back. The Rebels drove 75 yards and went into the endzone when Armani Rogers connected with fellow captain, tight end Giovanni Fauolo on a 54-yard pass. UNLV had a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, then the second quarter happened.
And the wheels fell off.
Wyoming scored five times, three touchdowns and two field goals, in the second quarter. Sean Chambers connected twice through the air and rushed in one. The conference’s best kicker, Cooper Rothe, drilled two field goals as well. UNLV had no answers for Wyoming’s 26 points scored in the quarter.
Missed tackles and miscommunication plagued UNLV in the second quarter, and Wyoming took full advantage.
To add insult to injury, two of UNLV’s most important players went down. Charles Williams got hit in the knee and needed help coming off the field early in the second quarter. Williams was limping bad and ruled out for the rest of the game with a sprained knee. Armani Rogers got hit before the half and left the field limping.
Coming out of the half, the Rebels gave the keys to redshirt freshman Kenyon Oblad to finish out the game. Oblad came in first with about two minutes left in the second quarter, he threw two incompletions and the Rebels punted the ball back to Wyoming. Rogers came back into the game to finish off the first half, (that was when he got hit and injured).
Nobody scored in the third quarter, but Wyoming outscored the Rebels 20-7 in the fourth quarter. Oblad finished with a rushing touchdown and 16/31 passing on 176 passing yards with two interceptions. He had some nice connections with Randal Grimes, but it was not enough to pull the Rebels out of their deep whole.
Wyoming out rushed the Rebels 374-77. The Cowboys also won the turnover battle, their zero to UNLV’’s three.
It was a performance that UNLV did not need. Now, there is growing chatter amongst the fan base about Tony Sanchez’s job.
Near the end of the game, athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois was asked by the Las Vegas Sun about making a coaching change in season. “Come on. It’s our first conference game,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of football left to play and we’re going to continue supporting this football team.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that both Williams and Rogers are “probable” for their next game against Boise State. They will both have MRI’s on Monday to get further confirmation, they both are also cleared to practice.
While the Rebels await word on Rogers’ and Williams’s injury, they now need to get ready for Boise State.