UNR stayed undefeated and bolstered its national ranking with a 44-26 win over UNLV Saturday night in the 36th Battle for the Fremont Cannon. The Rebels hung tough early before the crowd of nearly 29,000 at Sam Boyd Stadium, but the Wolpack running game eventually put the game out of reach. The score was tied at 14 midway through the second quarter, when UNR took the lead for good on a three-yard run by Vai Taua and a 22-yard scoring pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick to Taua for a 28-14 halftime lead. After the teams exchanged field goals early in the second half, Taua essentially sealed the game with a 72-yard touchdown dash late in the third quarter to put the Wolfpack up 38-17. UNLV was able to move the ball, with quarterback Omar Clayton completing 14-of-23 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, and receive Philip Payne catching eight passes for a career-high 170 yards. But the Rebel defense couldn’t slow down UNR’s “pistol” running attack, as the Wolfpack finished with over 500 yards in total offense, nearly 400 of that coming on the ground. Taua finished with 188 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while Kaepernick added 97 yards and another score on the ground, along with 13-of-17 passing for 124 yards and a TD. At 5-0, UNR is off to its best start since 1991 and is now ranked #21 in the AP poll. UNLV fell to 1-4, and the Rebels now head out for a tough road game at West Virginia next Saturday.
“I thought our guys fought hard, thought Reno did a nice job, they were well
prepared and played a good game,” UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck said. “They just
outplayed us. We had a few opportunitites and they didn’t allow us to
capitalize on them and that’s disappointing.”
UNR has now won six straight against UNLV, the longest streak by either team in the history of the series. The Wolfpack also lead the all-time series 21-15. UNLV has now lost eight straight games against ranked opponents, dating back to a win at Arizona State on September 13, 2008.