First, lets talk about UNLV. Just when you think that you have this team figured out you get a game like today in Fort Collins. CSU has had QB troubles all season and stopping the run needed to be paramount. They just did not get it done. In the current offensive scheme, the Rebels go to the line of scrimmage and then look to the sideline for the play that they should run. This only slows down an offense that is coming from behind. On offense, there were moments that shined for UNLV. Then some gaffs that were unexplainable.
Ed Graney, the RJ Columnist, is a man who is sharpening the axe for Coach Sanford. He laid out a plan for post season for the Rebels today. He noted the games that UNLV "should win" to get them bowl eligible. In the article, he mentioned games with Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico,San Diego State and today's game against Colorado State. Well, one game down that did not go in the Rebels favor. Wyoming is down right dreadful. San Diego State for what ever reason gives UNLV fits. Not like UNLV is Cal Poly SLO and could not take the Aztecs behind the shed. They could and should. But, if UNLV can not stop the run as they showed today - Wyoming who can not throw - will run. Air Force - well they run on 95% of their plays. New Mexico - continued to win tonite even without their starting QB as they played solid defense and ran the ball over the Cowboys at home. Nevada showed the world, that as long as you dont just run the ball up the middle, hello ASU, UNLV has a hard time stopping the most basic principle of defense - stop the running game.
Nevada continued to win against the dreadful Idaho Vandals on the road. They did have Texas Tech in a look ahead game at Mackey and could have pulled off the upset. When it comes to execution, Coach Ault beats the team that he should and then needs to find a way to beat Boise or Fresno to make strides.
Missouri continues their winning ways at Lincoln tonite. Can not complain about the work of former Palo Verde Star Mike Smith at Left Tackle for the Huskers
Oklahoma's local kids played well once again - Demarco Murray of Gorman gaines 96 yards and 2 TDs. Ryan Reyonlds of Gorman leads the Sooners in tackles and even Quintin Carter of Cheyenne got in to make some plays as is known as the "hardest hitter on defense" by his Sooner teammates.
Preston Davis of Shadow did what he could in the loss against Nevada with 2 grabs for 58 yards.
UNLV continued to get great contribution for Las Vegas kids with Ronnie Paulo of Western with 10 tackles, Mr "give me more time Coach" Beau Orth made things happen today - one tackle, one forced fumble. No Jacob Hales of Vegas today. And our Freshman All American Phillip Payne of Western did not get a TD grab, his 6 td catches so far have put him on the National Radar. CSU took notice and limited him to 2 grabs for 37 yards.
Utah with their big win, continues to make the BCS news. Stevenson Sylvester of Valley had 4 tackles - 2 for loss. Deshawn Richard of DP - no time in the game - same for Eddie Wide of CM
Nevada had a great game from former Palo star Brandon Marshall with 6 tackles, 1 sack with 2 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.
Keola Antolin of Gorman now Arizona saw time in a blowout over Washington (who them and Washington State should be begging for Nevada kids to come up and play for them - you would not be sitting on the bench if you walked on with them) and had 12 carries for 33 yards. Juron Criner of Canyon played and did not have a grab.
Lawrence Guy of Western and now ASU continues to have a great Freshman campaign with 6 tackles - 1 sack today against Cal. On the other side, DJ Campbell of Cheyenne got time with a couple tackles. Green Valley Star Brett Johnson is starting at Safety for the Bears he had 7 tackles and a forced fumble against the Devils
All the way from UCONN, Aaron Bagsby had 2 tackles with 1 for loss tonite against North Carolina.
On the Southern Utah front, Tysson Poots had alot of attention in their game today as he ended up with a handful of grabs and no touchdowns. Poots has had a great season and the Coronado star has really shined at this level, which makes one wonder when the Big Sky will spend a little more time in Nevada with their stars.
The big announcement of Karrington Armstrong of McQueen providing a verbal commitment to Oregon this week was a good one. The loss tonite against USC got a little out of hand after jumping up early on a tight Trojan team. Remember that Palo will have Torrin Harris joining the Trojans next year and there still is hope for USC fans that Keenan Graham could find his way to becoming a Trojan.
Like most who have ever gone to Lincoln to watch a Cornhusker game, you would be hard pressed to find fans nicer and more concerned about their players than Nebraska fans. He loved his visit. But, still will make trips to LA, Colorado, Wisconsin and possibly VA Tech. He is a genuine kid, who wants the right things out of college and wants to experience the environments before he makes a decision. LA has shown him love with Rick Neuheisel personally showing him around this Summer the UCLA campus. USC took notice about the fact that they have not shown enough attention to Graham. They have pumped up their attention and now when Graham goes to LA - he gets the love from both LA schools. Just wait for this saga to continue.
So back to the Rebels. With 3 wins, UNLV needs to get 3 more to get to the postseason. Wyoming and SDSU should be wins. Now where is the last one goig to come from Air Force or New Mexico? Forget about TCU and BYU, they are playing on a different planet right now. So count, TCU, BYU and Utah in the bowl picture. If BYU runs the table - they go to the BCS. Utah should come to Vegas. TCU goes to New Mexico. Now we are left with two open slots with New Mexico coming strong with their win against Arizona (which looks better and better as the poor Pac 10 beats up on each other). Air Force needs to beat Army - which should not be an issue. Colorado State is back in the picture. Wyoming and SDSU are already out. The Rebels need to back up their early success with their wins over Iowa State and ASU. Having BYU stub their toe would not be a good situation for UNLV, as it would set the stage for BYU to come back to Vegas. Utah to land in New Mexico, TCU in Fort Worth and San Diego up for grabs.
With recruits trying to make the decision if UNLV is really turning the corner, they have to pick up a big win to right the ship. With so many local kids making plays, UNLV is proving that Freshman can come in make plays without suffering any.
Nevada on the other hand has Fresno (who is still hurting with out Jon Monga of Foothill on their front line) and Boise State who could run the table to become the BCS darling once again. Whether San Jose can continue their winning ways is a question mark, as the remainder of the conference just does not look like they will pick up the slack. Utah State will look for a new Coach after the season. Idaho might be in the same boat. LA Tech needs more home games to get people to remember their win over Miss State. Hawaii gets a softer Non Conference schedule coming down the pike with Washington State and Cincy ending their season.
Bowl games are about selling tickets something that Nevada continues to struggle with at home and UNLV who never travels well unless it is an NCAA Basketball game. Nevada continues to put themselves in position to be a bowl team once again. With the heat already starting up in Las Vegas, expect a bowl game or bust situation for Mike Sanford and his staff at UNLV. With a remarkable 7 game home schedule,it situates really well for UNLV's chances. But, if he does not make it, I expect a house cleaning at UNLV led by the local media.
If you have some other former Nevada stars with big games this past weekend, please post them on the message board.
Congrats to the Gorman Duo in Murray and Reynolds for staring with Greer this weekend.
We should all be looking to cheer on our former local athletes staring for their colleges. It only helps with more kids getting the chances to play college.