Posted: 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013
UNLV and New Mexico basically traded touchdowns for three hours before the Rebels managed to pull away in the fourth quarter, beating the Lobos 56-42 in Albuquerque. Rebels quarterback Caleb Herring was impressive yet again, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns, while halfback Tim Cornett managed 179 rushing yards and three scores of his own. New Mexico, on the other hand, ran for nearly 500 yards on the ground -- including 192 from Kasey Carrier -- and managed to control the tempo for the majority of the contest. They simply couldn't get it done come the end, leading to the loss.
While UNLV walked away with a solid 14-point victory, they actually didn't hold a lead until early in the third quarter (42-35). And despite a strong offensive start for both teams, it was the Rebels' defense that really held their own in the second half. New Mexico had just 140 total yards in the final 30 minutes (after 441 in the first half) and the Rebels shut them out for the final 17 minutes of the contest. Obviously doesn't make up for the 42 points allowed, but of course, a win's a win at the end of the day.
Caleb Herring, QB/UNLV
Since taking over the quarterback job for himself, Herring has completely transformed the UNLV offense into a dynamic, play-making group that's not only more balanced, but a whole lot more dangerous. Herring is an accurate passer and can single-handedly keep this team in games, if not with them with his arm. Best of all, he avoids mistakes, which has been essential to the Rebels' current three-game winning streak.
Tim Cornett, RB/UNLV
The newly-balanced UNLV offense obviously wouldn't be complete without the running game, headed up by Cornett. In this contest in particular, he was able to take a good deal of pressure off of Herring. Plus, his 75-yard touchdown late in the fourth virtually sealed the victory. If the Rebels are going to continue their torrid pace, they'll need him to be in peak form.
UNLV's now won three straight games with Herring leading the way, riding a high-powered offense to overwhelming victories. But what about the defense? This was the third time they've allowed 42 or more points this season, and the Mountain West season is unlikely to help that issue. If they're going to continue winning, it'll take a stronger effort on that side of the ball to take the pressure off Herring and co.
New Mexico's in a similar defensive boat as UNLV, since their defense was the one that allowed 56 points. But the offense continues to show promise behind running back Kasey Carrier. It's tough for him to stand out when the D's forcing them to play from behind. It'll be interesting to see if that group can show improvement as they enter the heart of the conference slate.