RENO– Missed chances in the first half.
The beginning quarterback opted for an apart shoulder.
UNR taking over the energy in the 2nd half.
Previous UNLV football groups probably would not have actually held up against all that hardship, composing the same ending to the same script when it concerns the Rebels’ competition with their upstate neighbor.
This team had a not the same conclusion in mind.
UNLV found a method– an interception return for a goal, a late basket, a secondary that wouldn’t let UNR wide receivers get open on the Wolf Pack’s last drive– and the Rebels left Mackay Stadium with a 23-17 success on Saturday, taking the Fremont Cannon home with them.
A cannon that soon will be painted red.
“We got the cannon back, and awesome, awesome, incredible night and sensation,” said UNLV linebacker Ryan McAleenan, whose 52-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 4th quarter was the play of the game. “I am so pleased, I can’t even explain it.”
This was the second time in a row the Rebels have actually won at Reno. They also defeated UNR 27-22 two years earlier, but the Wolf Load won last period’s conference 49-27 in Las Vegas.
That defeat was Bobby Hauck’s last game as UNLV’s coach. This was Tony Sanchez’s very first video game as UNLV coach in this series, and what a debut it was– not just beating the Rebels’ primary competitor, but likewise ending UNLV’s nine-game roadway losing streak.
Sanchez ended up being the first Rebels coach to beat the Wolf Cram in his first game versus them because Jeff Horton in 1994. That Horton success was huge because it provided the Rebels a share of the Huge West Conference title and put them in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Saturday’s success was essential because the Mountain West’s West Division is way down, and UNLV (2-3, 1-0 MW) might be a factor in the race.
However if baseball momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher, that’s true in football when it comes to the next week’s starting quarterback. Blake Decker separated his left (nonthrowing) shoulder late in the first half and didn’t return. His status will not be understood up until at least Monday or Tuesday.
Sanchez, though, was confident Decker would return in time to face San Jose State on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Decker’s absence indicated Kurt Palandech was contacted for the 2nd time this season in an emergency circumstance. He went in versus UCLA on Sept. 12 and completed 4 of 15 passes for 4 lawns with an interception returned for a touchdown.
Palandech was much better against UNR (2-3, 0-1), finishing 6 of 8 passes for 48 lawns, and hurrying for 29 yards on 5 brings. Palandech completed a 25-yard pass late in the second quarter to establish his own 12-yard goal run, giving UNLV a 13-0 lead.
“Having the ability to get some (repetitions) throughout the previous video games was an aid,” Palandech stated. “There’s nothing like video game experience, no replacement.”
His goal was a key score entering into halftime because UNLV controlled the half, outgaining the Wolf Load 246 backyards to 102 and totaling 16 first downs to UNR’s five, however otherwise having bit to reveal for it.
“We really felt we should’ve had a bigger lead entering into the half,” Sanchez stated. “That’s exactly what you worry about, when you have those chances and you don’t take advantage of them. Then you let that group hang around.”
UNR returned and cut UNLV’s lead to 13-10 with 10:47 left in the game on Tyler Stewart’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Jerico Richardson.
The Wolf Pack had an opportunity to take the lead or go ahead one series later, however Stewart’s pass was tipped by UNLV protective end Jeremiah Valoaga into the hands of McAleenan, who had plenty of open field in front of him. His interception return put UNLV up 20-10 with 8:27 left.
“I was attempting to get to the corner of completion zone as quick as I could,” McAleenan stated.
UNR came right back, however, moving 75 yards in nine plays. Don Jackson’s 1-yard goal run with 4:50 left brought the Wolf Load within 20-17.
Nicolai Bornand’s 45-yard field goal with 1:53 staying extended the Rebels’ result in 23-17.
The Wolf Pack got one final chance, reaching the Rebels’ 43-yard line, but Stewart threw 4 successive incompletions versus a UNLV secondary that didn’t let UNR’s receivers get open. Stewart completed 20 of 44 for 202 yards.
UNLV’s defense likewise held UNR to 141 backyards rushing; the Wolf Load had balanced 210.5 per game. The Rebels produced 167 backyards hurrying, including 76 on 16 carries by Keith Whitely.
For UNLV, there were a lot of heroes, beating a UNR team that had actually won 9 of the previous 10 conferences.
Sanchez changed that on this night, and soon the cannon will not be blue.
“It’s not truly about me,” Sanchez said. “It’s huge for the people who made this (training) move. It’s huge for the children that have actually worked so hard, for our senior citizens who have actually been through a lot shift, for our young guys.
“Wins are hard to come by, but when you win competition week, when you come home with the cannon in the back of your truck, that’s a heck of a deal.”
Contact Mark Anderson at [email protected]!.?.! or 702-387-2914. Follow him: @markanderson65