Utes leave Rebels beaten and battered, 42-21

SALT LAKE CITY – UNLV left Rice-Eccles on Saturday night with the distinction of still never having won a football game here in their 40-year history. But as bad as a 42-21 setback to the No. 22 Utes (2-0) was, it wasn't as ugly as the injury report afterward.

Starting linebackers Starr Fuimaono (knee), arguably the team's most valuable defender, and Ronnie Paulo (ankle) both left the game early in the second quarter and watched the second half on crutches.

Fuiamono, who had a team-high 14 tackles in UNLV's season-opening 27-17 victory over Utah State, will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the damage to a left knee that buckled on him while getting double-teamed on punt coverage.

"They said it might be a torn MCL," Fuimaono said. "I felt a pop. I just felt my knee give out. … Hopefully it's not too bad and I can come back."

Paulo, who had 12 tackles against Utah State, went down a play later. "I was chasing a running back down the sideline and one of my teammates collided with my ankle," Paulo said. "I go into rehab and hopefully I'll be back next week."

The Rebels (1-1) seemed to dominate most of the first half while building a 14-7 lead behind the running of senior tailback Frank Summers (87 yards on 23 carries with 82 yards coming before intermission) who had touchdown runs of 2 and 3 yards.

But after Fuimaono and Paulo went to the sidelines, Utah scored five touchdowns in a span of 17 ½ minutes beginning on a 2-yard touchdown run by Matt Asiata with 51.6 seconds left in the first half.

"It hurts," Summers said of losing Fuimaono and Paulo. "They made big plays today before they got injured. Once they went down, where they (had been) the ball was going, and that's where the plays were being made. It hurts to lose guys like that but we're a team and we've got to have guys behind them step up and pick up the stick and make plays after they go down." Meanwhile, the offense, which was at times dominate in the first half, managed just 11 net yards in the third quarter including minus-six on the ground.

"Two completely different ballgames between the first and second half," tailback Frank Summers said. "Whenever you come out and play in a hostile environment like this and play a good team like this you've got to play four quarters. It seemed like we didn't do that tonight.

"It was night and day between the first half and the second half for us. I could tell and I think the players could tell. No excuses. Hats off to the Utes. They played a great second half." UNLV is now 0-7 in games against the Utes in Salt Lake City. The Rebels have now lost 16 straight conference road games dating back to a 24-20 win at BYU on Oct. 8, 2004.

Things don't get any easier for the Rebels who next week travel to No. 15 Arizona State.

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