Quarterback Kale Pearson made a surprise trip to Tulsa, Okla., this past weekend, surprising his seventh-grade brother at his football game on Saturday.
Pearson was one of many Air Force players to scatter during a free weekend in the schedule.
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Junior linebacker Connor Healy and his brother, sophomore linebacker Patrick, hosted several teammates at their home about 40 minutes north of Colorado Springs in Castle Rock.
“We have guys at the house quite often,” Connor Healy said. “This weekend was kind of light because a lot of people went to their actual homes, but we had quite a few. Everybody kind of comes and goes, and my parents are pretty used to it by now.”
It was a good chance for a breather for this team, which began practice in late July, started class on Aug. 12 and played a pair of games that weren’t decided until the final minutes during a 2-1 start to the season.
Adding to that is the magnitude of Saturday’s game against Boise State, a team that hasn’t lost to a Mountain Division team since joining the Mountain West in 2011.
“The break definitely came at a good time,” Healy said. “We played three good games, three tough, physical games. It was a good little break and definitely good to get a head start on Boise just because of all of the stuff that they do.”
The break was clearly special to Pearson. The senior was hurt last year in the season opener and had to wait through rehab to see if he’d finally get a chance to lead an Air Force team as quarterback. He won the job in fall camp and has posted 450 passing yards over the past two weeks, the most for an Air Force quarterback during the option era (1980-present) and the most for the program since Dave Ziebart threw for 457 in 1978 (186 vs. Holy Cross, 271 vs. Kansas State).
Pearson hasn’t seen a difference in how he has been perceived at the academy, where “people are so busy on the hill they don’t notice a whole lot.” But to his family, which includes younger brothers Kaylor (a freshman baseball player at Cloud County Community College in Kansas) and Kyler, the seventh-grader, it’s been a huge deal. So it was nice for Kale to go spend some time with them.
“I think both of them kind of brag on me too much,” Pearson said. “They embarrass me a little bit, but they’ve been big supporters, too.”
Next game: vs. Boise State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday, CBS Sports Network
Notable: TE Marcus Hendricks has practiced for the past week and figures to be ready to make his season debut on Saturday. Coach Troy Calhoun said Monday he didn’t know if LB Joey Nichol (groin) or SS Jamal Byrd (concussion), would be ready this weekend. Neither player practiced on Monday. The game vs. Boise State will include the top two rushers in the Mountain West in Air Force’s Jacobi Owens (No. 1 in the Mountain West, No. 7 nationally at 143.7 yards per game) and the Broncos’ Jay Ajayi (No. 2 and No. 14 at 123.5). This will be Boise State’s first trip to Falcon Stadium.
— Brent Briggeman, The Gazette
The Broncos will make their first visit to Air Force with a defensive coordinator’s best friend — a dominant run defense.
Boise State ranks second in the nation at 53.5 yards per game allowed on the ground. Two of its opponents — Colorado State and Louisiana — have averaged more than 200 rushing yards per game against their other opponents.
Louisiana gained 67 yards on 23 carries last week at Albertsons Stadium.
"I've been impressed with the way those guys have played. You want to be good at something, and we've been good at stopping the run," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
And they’ve done it consistently.
The Broncos have not allowed a 20-yard run. They’ve held four straight opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards for the first time since 2009 and allowed the fewest rushing yards in a four-game stretch (214) since 2004.
It’s a huge improvement over last year, when the Broncos were gashed for 164.2 rushing yards per game (64th nationally).
"We're playing so much faster, and we're physical," senior linebacker Blake Renaud said. "It's basically everyone doing their job. When everyone does their job, it works out like that."
Air Force ranks fifth in the nation in rushing at 335 yards per game. The Falcons average 5.3 yards per carry.
Last year, they rushed for 188 yards (3.6 per carry) and two touchdowns in Boise.
The Broncos will try to make the Falcons throw the ball, as they have done to their previous opponents, but know that’s not going to be easy.
“It would be a dream come true if we could take away Air Force’s run,” defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said. “I’d be a happy man. Good luck. They’re going to run the football.”
Next game: at Air Force, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBS Sports Network)
Notable: Wide receiver Matt Miller needs 60 yards to become the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards. He already holds the record for receptions. Tailback Jay Ajayi leads the nation in offensive touches. He has 494 rushing yards, 204 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 121 plays (5.8 yards per touch). Left tackle Rees Odhiambo has missed two straight games and is questionable this week. Safety Jeremy Ioane did not play last week because he didn’t feel well, Harsin said. He is expected to play this week.
— Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman
Jake Bennett, CSU’s starting center, is expected to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in a bye-week practice, coach Jim McElwain said Monday.
Bennett, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound redshirt freshman, was injured running a routine drill in practice Thursday, McElwain said at his weekly news conference. McElwain didn’t go into the specifics of the injury, such as what ligaments were damaged, other than to say Bennett is “probably out for the season.” Surgery will be required but has not yet been scheduled, the coach said.
“It’s one of those freak things that you know you run the same drill 10,000 times in your career, and (he) just planted wrong, and it’s a shame,” McElwain said.
Bennett was one of four new starters this season on an offensive line that lost its lone returner, senior Ty Sambrailo, to a knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener. Sambrailo is returning this week, giving the Rams several options to replace Bennett, players who will be considered in practices this week leading up to Saturday’s game at Boston College.
Junior Kevin O’Brien practices at center with the No. 2 offense and could simply move into the starting lineup, McElwain said. Sophomore Fred Zerblis, who backed up Weston Richburg at center last season, could slide over from his starting right guard spot, too. That would leave an opening at guard that could be filled by sophomore Nick Callender, who has started the past three games at left tackle in Sambrailo’s absence. Left guard Mason Myers, a senior, also has played center in the past.
McElwain said he doesn’t yet know “which way we’ll go into this game” but said he should have a pretty good idea of what combination works best before the team travels to Boston on Thursday for Saturday’s game.
Next game: at Boston College, 10:30 a.m. MT Saturday, ACC Network/Root Sports
Notable: Sambrailo is one of three key players the Rams expect to get back this week after missing time with injuries. Sophomore LB Kevin Davis (shoulder) and sophomore DL Josh Lovingood (foot) also are coming back and sophomore S Jake Schlager (ankle), a key special-teams player, could see some limited action, McElwain said. There was no word Monday on the status of senior TE Kivon Cartwright (ankle), who hasn’t played since the season opener. The Rams will hold a pregame walk-through Friday at the New England Patriots’ practice facility.
— Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan
Last week's game at New Mexico State probably was as close to a must-win situation as a college football team can face in September. And, certainly, the dramatic, 38-35 victory in Las Cruces has put some desperately needed wind beneath the Lobos' wings.
Yet, the Aggies' 35 points, 29 first downs and 488 total yards once again illustrated how bumpy UNM's flight has been, is and will be until some answers can be found on defense.At his weekly news conference, New Mexico coach Bob Davie acknowledged as much.
His defense, he said, needs "some real dudes."
Davie said he believes the program is on solid footing. But he noted that lack of experience and maturity remains a stumbling block for the 2014 Lobos (1-2).
Because of attrition and NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions from 2009 to 2011, the New Mexico roster includes only three fifth-year seniors and 11 fourth- or fifth-year players.
"This is a huge challenge here, and we're making some progress," Davie said. "We've got some guys, (but) we need some real dudes that can go out there and play 95 plays and keep executing and not cave in.
"And that is a process."
Next game: vs. Fresno State, 6 p.m. MT Friday, ESPN2
Notable: Sophomore inside linebacker Dakota Cox was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week after making 18 tackles against New Mexico State. Cox has 45 tackles in UNM's first three games. The Lobos entered the New Mexico State game relatively healthy after a bye week, but that won't necessarily be the case against Fresno State. Outside linebacker Richard Winston (knee) is out, as, probably, is defensive end Nik D'Avanzo (knee). It's a day-to-day scenario, Davie said, for slot receiver Carlos Wiggins (hamstring) and running back Teriyon Gipson (ankle). As for starting quarterback Cole Gautsche's balky hamstring — Gautsche played the entire first half at NMSU, but sat out the second — Davie said, "I have no idea."
— Rick Wright, Albuquerque Journal
Utah State coach Matt Wells said a decision as to who will start against BYU at quarterback won’t be made until next week.
Chuckie Keeton sat out the second half of USU’s win over Wake Forest and Saturday’s loss at Arkansas State due to a left knee injury, the same left knee in which he tore the ACL last season against BYU.
“Doctors will clear him or not clear him,” Wells said. “And he has to feel right and be right.”
Wells said the earlier the Aggies can decide who will start the better, although, “I can’t rush it,” he said. “We need to know from his knee if he is able to do it. Is he going to be able to protect himself and go full speed. His individual health is my main concern.”
In Keeton’s absence, Darell Garretson went 27-of-46 for 268 yards, throwing two touchdowns passes and an interception, against the Red Wolves.
Wells said Garretson played “good,” against Arkansas State, but also noted his interception from the Red Wolves’ 6-yard line was one of the game killers.
“The plays aren’t all where we want them to be, but there is improvement and that needs to happen,” Wells said.
The Aggies’ offense is struggling to convert opportunities into points, something that is frustrating to the Aggies, particularly since they felt they could have put Arkansas State away in the second quarter.
Nevertheless, Wells is trying to keep a positive spin on things.
“You ask if there’s concern, yes there is,” he said. “But all of our goals, everything that we want to achieve in this year as far as the Mountain West is concerned and our bowls are right in front of us. You’re hurt and you’re crushed because you missed an opportunity to beat a really good team on the road and get to win number three.”
Next game: Oct. 3 at BYU
Notable: If statistics are any indication, prepare for a lot of penalties when Utah State and BYU play Oct. 3. Out of 125 schools, the Aggies are the fifth-most penalized team with 38 penalties for 367 yards. BYU is tied with Marshall and Tulane as the most penalized with 44 penalties for 372 yards. The Aggies’ average of 91.75 penalty yards per game ranks as the fifth-most while BYU’s average of 105.3 is the highest in the country. Running back Joe Hill missed the Arkansas State game with an injured ankle and remains questionable for the BYU game. “We’re hoping to get some guys healed up this week,” Wells said.
— Lya Wodraska, The Salt Lake Tribune
Say one thing about this team, it has a flair for the dramatic.
The Cowboys (3-1) forced a fumble deep in their own territory after they were held to a four-and-out with just over 2 minutes to play, then connected on an 88-yard pass play and kicked a game-winning 18-yard field goal with 15 seconds on the clock for a 20-19 home victory over Florida Atlantic last Saturday.
It was Wyoming's second fourth quarter come-from-behind victory of the season.
"Sometimes when you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t," first-year coach Craig Bohl said. "More than anything this team has a belief. We'll figure out a way to win the game. It may not look very clear, but we will find a way to get it done."
It may not look very pretty, either.
Wyoming has scored no more than 20 points in a game this season. Against Florida Atlantic, the 88-yard play — a catch-and-run by senior receiver Dominic Rufran — and its 80-yard touchdown drive to start the game were impressive. But it had only 166 yards in between.
Senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard has been sacked 16 times in four games, and taken several other hard hits.
However, Wyoming allowed only one touchdown in five trips to the red zone by Florida Atlantic. The Cowboys have allowed 14.6 points per game in their three wins and 23 points per contest overall.
More than half the points Wyoming has allowed came in one game — a 48-14 loss at No. 2 Oregon on Sept. 13. The Cowboys face another top-10 team Saturday at No. 9 Michigan State. Wyoming is an early 32-point underdog. It was a 43-point underdog at Oregon.
Michigan State lost 46-27 at Oregon on Sept. 6. Bohl doesn't think having a common opponent will be a factor in terms of preparation because Oregon runs a fast-paced spread offense. Michigan State — much like Wyoming — runs a pro-style offense with spread concepts and a 4-3 defense.
Next game: at No. 9 Michigan State, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2)
Notable: Junior right guard Jake Jones (appendicitis) has been cleared to practice and likely will start Saturday. Jones missed the last two games. ... Senior kicker Stuart Williams was the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week. He made a career-long 50-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter, along with the game-winning field goal. ... Wyoming has had three MW players of the week in the first four weeks of the season. ... Wyoming will receive $1 million from Michigan State for this game. ... Bohl and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio interviewed to be the defensive backs coach at North Dakota State in 1984. Bohl got the job. ... This will be Wyoming's only game this season on natural grass.
— Robert Gagliardi, Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Fresno State played three quarterbacks in its 56-16 victory over Southern Utah and all three — Brian Burrell, Brandon Connette and Zack Greenlee — threw touchdown passes.
The Bulldogs haven't had three quarterbacks throw touchdown passes in one season since 1994, but that didn't further clutter a quarterback competition that had been dragging. Coming out of the game, Fresno State has a starting quarterback, though for whatever reason coach Tim DeRuyter wasn't revealing who will be taking the first snap on Friday in the Mountain West opener at New Mexico.
"I think people will probably figure it out, but we'll see come Friday," said DeRuyter, who has announced a starting quarterback on game days. "We've come to some conclusions on where we need to go in the future. We have a better feel for what all three guys can do and we're going to focus it down to one quarterback and one backup and a third guy will play as the reps play out."
The only surprise will be if it is not Burrell, who against the Thunderbirds again struggled early and was pulled after three series only to come back and lead the Bulldogs to a touchdown just before the half and then three touchdowns in four possessions in the third quarter.
Connette, who did not play in a blowout loss to Nebraska the previous week due to a right hand injury, was erratic with his throws in completing 5 of 11 passes for 51 yards and the touchdown. Greenlee, a redshirt freshman, did not see his first snaps in a college game until the fourth quarter.
Burrell has completed a modest 62 of 114 passes (54.4 percent) for 584 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions, and the slow starts obviously are a problem.
The Fresno State offense has yet to produce any points in the first quarter — it has been outscored 52-2, the only points coming against Nebraska on a safety.
The ugly ...
Fresno State has completed only 40.5 percent (15 of 37) of its first-quarter passes for 80 yards.
It has gained 159 yards on 35 rushing plays (4.5 ypc), but 100 of those yards came on just three plays, a 49-yard run by Marteze Waller against Southern Utah and a 32-yard run by Burrell and a 19-yard run by Waller at USC. With the other 32 plays, they have netted only 59 yards (1.8 ypc).
It also has had 18 drives that started in the first quarter and punted on 13 of them (72.2 percent), with three drives ending on downs, one on a missed field goal and one by an interception.“We have to get (Burrell) started earlier, but it wasn't all just him. We've got guys not running the right routes, not blocking. We get some explosive plays and we're not able to capitalize," DeRuyter said.
"The thing that has been impressive to me is even if he didn't start out well, when we do bring him back in, he has learned from his mistakes, he can communicate on the sideline and he goes out and corrects those things and leads us up and down the field."
Next game: at New Mexico, 6 p.m. MT Friday, ESPN2.
Notable: The Bulldogs defense again gave up some big plays in the victory over Southern Utah -- passes of 77, 61, 32 and 28 yards. Those four plays accounted for 52.8 percent of the 375 yards they allowed. They have now allowed 23 explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards, the most in the conference. Boise State is ranked 11th with 18. ... Fresno State will actually have two game captains this week at New Mexico in inside linebacker Kyrie Wilson and right guard Cody Wichmann. The Bulldogs' coaches usually select game captains every week to go along with team captains Derron Smith and Josh Harper based on performance on and off the field, but the past three weeks they didn't feel anyone merited a selection. ... The Bulldogs played 202 minutes this season before they got their first lead, then gave it up in just 98 seconds when Southern Utah went 70 yards for a touchdown in just five plays on its next drive. ... The 56 points scored on Southern Utah marked the eighth time in 30 games under DeRuyter that the Bulldogs have hit the 50-point mark. ... Fresno State rushed for 389 yards against Southern Utah, its most in a game since rolling up 503 in a 70-14 victory over Hawaii in 2004. The Bulldogs passed for 291 yards, marking only the second time under DeRuyter that the Bulldogs have gained more yards on the ground than through the air. Two years ago at Nevada, they had 280 rushing yards and 220 passing yards, but the temperature at kickoff was 33 degrees and it was in the 20s by the end of the game. It was a toasty 88 degrees at kickoff for Southern Utah.
— Robert Kuwada, The Fresno Bee
After playing three Pac-12 opponents in the first four games, the Rainbow Warriors have a bye this weekend. They will practice three times this week, take the weekend off, then practice for three days before taking a direct flight to Houston in advance of the Oct. 4 game against Rice. The Warriors will have played five non-conference games before opening the MW schedule against Wyoming on Oct. 11.
The Warriors are trying to settle their quarterback situation. Ikaika Woolsey, who has started the first four games, was pulled in the second half in each of the past two games. His primary backup, Jeremy Higgins, suffered a season-ending fracture in his left (throwing) hand against Colorado this past weekend. Higgins' career has ended. He is a fifth-year senior who used his redshirt season in 2011 after transferring from Utah State. Because he played in UH's fourth game, he is not eligible for a medical hardship or second redshirt year that would extend his career to a sixth season.
Taylor Graham, who transferred from Ohio State in January 2012, ascends to No. 2 quarterback. He started the first three UH games in 2013 before suffering a torn muscle in his left (non-throwing) shoulder.
Beau Reilly, who initially signed with Colorado State before going on a two-year church mission, is now the No. 3 quarterback. He spent this season as a scout tight end and receiver. Former USC quarterback Max Wittek is the scout quarterback. Wittek must redshirt this season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
Next game: Oct. 4 at Rice
Notable: Daniel Lewis, who played safety the first three weeks, was used at running back against Colorado. With running back Joey Iosefa expected to miss at least two more weeks because of a fractured ankle, Lewis and walk-on Jason Muraoka are needed as backups to Steve Lakalaka. Against Colorado, the Warriors were without injured starting safety Trayvon Henderson, inside linebacker Tevita Lataimua and nickel-corner Nick Nelson.
— Stephen Tsai, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
The Wolf Pack are coming off of a bye after a 2-1 start that included a 24-13 victory over Washington State and a 35-28 loss to Arizona.
Coach Brian Polian gave his team the weekend off (they would normally have had a walk-through on Friday and a short practice on Sunday), and several Wolf Pack players took advantage of the break to get out of town. Quarterback Cody Fajardo tweeted a picture of himself with a large trout on Friday.
On Wednesday of last week, Polian followed through with his promise to end practice about 20 minutes early if 260-pound defensive lineman Dupree Roberts-Jordan could complete a long route with a catch from offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich. Roberts-Jordan made the catch and got mobbed by teammates.
Next game: at San Jose State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday, CBS Sports Network
Notable: The Wolf Pack are expected to get safety Duran Workman back. Workman, a senior starter, injured his knee when he intercepted a pass in the Washington State game. He did not play against Arizona. Left tackle Austin Corbett spent most of last week in a protective boot to expedite the healing process of his sprained ankle. He has played with the sprain the last two weeks. Defensive tackle Rykeem Yates is questionable. He was suspended for the Arizona game for a violation of team rules, and Polian said he wasn’t sure if Yates would be reinstated this week. The Wolf Pack are still looking for their first road win in the Polian era. Nevada is 0-7 (6-2 at home) since Polian took over in 2013.
— Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal
SAN DIEGO STATE
The opening drive in Saturday’s game against Oregon State could not have gone any better for San Diego State.
It had razzle-dazzle, with a reverse and flea-flicker. The line opened holes for D.J. Pumphrey to run for 29 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler connected on a third-down pass inside the OSU 5.
The first seven points looked so easy it figured this might be a fantastic shootout against the Beavers and Sean Mannion.
SDSU drove 75 yards on that first possession and then only 140 over the final 56-plus minutes in a 28-7 defeat that gave the Aztecs two straight losses heading into Saturday’s Mountain West opener against UNLV.
“That is absolutely horrible, no matter who you’re playing,” coach Rocky Long said after watching the film on Sunday.
“After that first drive, we had no rhythm. We were out of sync,” said receiver Lloyd Mills, whose 36 rushing yards on the first-drive reverse eclipsed his 35 yards on three catches.
“There was a lot of (OSU) pressure on Quinn, but it’s the offense as a whole. We’ve got to step it up.”
The Aztecs hadn’t been limited to fewer than 19 points since losing 42-7 to Ohio State last September, and Long was clearly perturbed by the anemic output. Long said he wasn’t overly displeased with the running game, which averaged 4.7 yards per carry, but sounded fully disgusted with an air attack that produced 106 yards compared to OSU’s 275.
Long blamed much of the struggles on the offensive line, which included a new starter in center Lenicio Noble.
“I thought the pressure on Quinn was ridiculous,” Long said. “The number of people in his face or hitting him after he threw the ball was ridiculous. So maybe that’s the worst of it, our pass protection is the most critical deal we have to fix.”
Kaehler was sacked three times for 27 yards in losses and hurried on many occasions. He threw two interceptions – the second while getting knocked on his back — to give him six for the season (he has two TDs), and the Aztecs converted only 4 of 11 third downs and didn’t convert once on fourth down.
For a team that returned its quarterback, a dynamic rusher in D.J. Pumphrey and figured to have explosive receivers, the Aztecs take some heavy questions into a rematch with the Rebels, who blew them out 45-19 in the regular-season finale last year.
Is Kaehler experiencing the growing pains of higher expectations, or did the Aztecs already see his best last year? Is the loss of senior receiver Ezell Ruffin a crippling blow to the otherwise young receiving corps that continues to make route-running mistakes? Will the offensive line look better against its peers in the MW?
“I thought we’d play better than we did,” Long said Saturday. “You don’t go into the next game with a whole lot of confidence.”
Next game: vs. UNLV, 6 p.m. MT Saturday, ESPN3
Notable: Long said Lenicio Noble saw his first Division I action in replacing senior Zach Dilley at center because the redshirt junior was performing better in practice. The coach said Noble “played well,” other than one assignment error that led to a sack. Lloyd Mills continues to be SDSU’s biggest breakout player on offense. He has taken over the starting role for injured Ezell Ruffin, and he had 71 total yards against OSU, running a reverse for 36 yards and making three catches for 35. He already has scored a punt return touchdown.
— Tod Leonard, San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN JOSE STATE
The Spartans are making a change at quarterback. After starting the first three games, senior Blake Jurich is heading to the bench and junior Joe Gray will make his starting debut Saturday against Nevada.
San Jose State coach Ron Caragher didn’t waste time making the public announcement. Instead of drawing it out over the course of the week and waiting until game time, the Spartans’ second-year coach made the announcement at his first opportunity at Monday’s news conference.
“I’m excited to give him the opportunity and see how he performs,” Caragher said of Gray.
The decision speaks mostly to the desire and need to see how Gray responds to the starting job.
Jurich had some success during his three games at the helm, including a 22 of 25 passing performance in the season opener that included 250 yards and three touchdowns passing and a rushing touchdown.
But his accuracy wasn’t as good as those numbers indicated and his performance took a major turn downward last week against Minnesota. Two interceptions came on awful decisions, including one just before halftime in which he underthrew a ball he was trying to throw away out of bounds.
That all sets it up for Gray to get a shot. He was the favorite for the job all along and Caragher even acknowledged for the first time Monday what had been obvious: Gray had the edge entering fall camp.
But, in a bit of a surprise, Jurich had a good camp and won the job to start the year. With it becoming increasingly clear the Spartans offense wasn’t performing to its capabilities, Caragher is making the switch and SJSU is banking on Gray getting its season back on track.
Next game: vs. Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday, CBS Sports Network
Notable: Wide receiver/returner Tyler Ervin had a limited role against Minnesota because of a case of turf toe. He still returned kicks and punts in the game, but didn’t catch any passes and had just a single carry. San Jose State will wear its new gold helmets on Saturday and is planning a Gold Out to accompany its all-gold look that also includes gold pants and helmets. It’s the first time since 1972 that the Spartans will wear non-blue helmets. That year they wore metallic gold helmets, a different look from the matte old gold helmets they’ll now wear. ESPNews has picked up SJSU’s homecoming game Oct. 4 against UNLV.
— Jimmy Durkin, San Jose Mercury News
The numbers tell the story when it comes to UNLV's struggles.
UNLV is 88th nationally in total offense with 379.5 yards per game, tied for 112th in scoring offense with an 18.5-point average, 124th in total defense with a 566.0-yard average, 116th in scoring defense with a 41.2-point average and tied for 113th in turnover margin at minus-5.
The Rebels also are 0-4 against the point spread, and they didn't come close to meeting the betting line in three of those games.
Coach Bobby Hauck said to look no further than himself for the 1-3 start.
"I'd say the head coach needs to do a better job," he said.
Now it's a matter of the head coach and his staff finding a way to rescue the season before it's too late. Hauck has said repeatedly this is his best team, but it certainly hasn't played like it.
Maybe the Rebels will at some point.
They will need to soon before their chances of making much of the season gets away. UNLV enters Mountain West play at San Diego State on Saturday, so this is a good time to begin a turnaround.
Hauck, though, cautioned against taking drastic steps to spark that turnaround.
"We're always trying to improve, and that's what we're doing now," he said. "As I said after the (Houston) game (on Saturday), I don't think panic is a good trait in anything for anyone, specifically for football. That's not what we're going to do. We're going to try to figure out what we do well and build on it."
Next game: at San Diego State, 6 p.m. MT Saturday, ESPN3
Notable: Star wide receiver Devante Davis is among a handful of players trying to overcome injuries. He took an injured wrist into Saturday's 47-14 loss at Houston, and left the game early in the third quarter after catching one pass for zero yards. "I hope he can go," Hauck said. "He tried to go last week and wasn't real effective, so maybe this week he'll be a little better." ... Another injury was to safety Peni Vea, who had to be immobilized and was taken off the field on a stretcher. He had feeling in his extremities, and Hauck said he would be OK. ... The Rebels have lost six games in a row at San Diego State. Their last victory there occurred in 2000. ... Former UNLV coach Jeff Horton is the Aztecs' assistant head coach and running backs coach.
— Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal