LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 13: Tate Knutson #81 of the UNLV Rebels celebrates as Phillip Payne #4 flips the ball to an official after he caught a 21-yard touchdown pass against the Wyoming Cowboys during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium November 13 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A fast start turned into a painful loss for the Wyoming Cowboys (2-9, 0-7) who will now finish last in the Mountain West Conference this year. Alvester Alexander turned turned the first play from scrimmage into a 72 yard touchdown run. UNLV (2-4, 2-7) scored on Tim Cornett's first of four touchdowns on the night to equal the score. Wyoming answered with some razzle dazzle when David Leonard threw a pass on a reverse to TJ Smith. That gave Wyoming a 13-7 lead after the PAT was missed.
Everything that happened after that was all UNLV. The Rebels outscored the Cowboys 35-3 and secured their second victory for first year head coach Bobby Hauck. Obviously Wyoming didn't play their best football but have to congratulate the Rebels on a well executed game plan. The Rebels pounded the ball for 194 yards on the ground and Cornett could not be stopped near the goal line.
Omar Clayton was the best I've seen him play for a long time. The Senior was 14 of 19 for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 44 yards rushing on the day. Before the game it was expected that Caleb Herring would get a few snaps but Clayton ended up playing the whole game.
For Wyoming this disappointing season just got a lot worse. The loss last week to UNLV could be blamed on four turnovers. But this was a blowout by a team that just wanted it more. The game was just 21-13 at halftime but the Rebels poured it on and Wyoming could do nothing to stop them.
The Rebels had 24 first downs compared to just 14 for the Pokes. They also converted 6 of 13 third downs and perfect on both fourth down attempts. The offense for UNLV was able to move the ball quickly down the field and Wyoming could do little to stop them.
The offense for Wyoming came into the game averaging 17 points a game. Didn't really see them scoring less than that when facing that team that was giving up 39 per contest. Besides the two big plays in the first half the offense couldn't get any big plays when they needed them. Twice in the fourth quarter Wyoming failed on fourth down attempts in the red zone. Ian Watts missed a 44 yard field goal but he did make a career long 46 yarder.
Stupid penalties cost the Pokes. David Leonard had a 12 yard TD catch called backed after he was flagged for offensive pass interference after he pushed off a defender. Alexander was called for false start when the Cowboys were on the four yard line. Carta-Samuels completed a long completion to Chris McNeill that was called back because ACS was well past the line of scrimmage.
The Pokes were without leading tackler Shamiel Gary who missed the game due to a death in the family. Tashaun Gipson moved from CB to S while Marqueston Huff got his first start at CB. The loss of Gary was a blow to the secondary and Gipson wasn't impressive at the new position.
Near the end of the game RB Robert Herron suffered a hard hit and went straight to the turf. He was immobilized and taken from the field on stretcher and ambulance. He was moving his extremities and it is most likely a concussion. He will spend the night at a hospital in Las Vegas for observation.
So only one game remains for the Pokes this season. The Border War next week is in Laramie and the Pokes are looking to keep the Bronze Boot. This will be another ugly game on paper but always a close game when it is played. Forget the standings now - it all comes down to one game!.
Cowboy Joe: T.J. Smith never played in his career until last week. He's had two solid games in a row and it is exciting to see some production out of the TE spot. Smith had three catches for 59 yards and his first career touchdown.
Cowboy Low: Austyn Carta-Samuels never looked like he was on the same page as his receivers all night at it showed. David Leonard had the only passing TD tonight. ACS finished 13 of 22 for 111 yards and one interception.
Cowboy Foe: Tim Cornett had the best game of his young career tonight. Had 71 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Also had a 12 yard touchdown pass.