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November 22, 2013

Bowled over

BOWL BOUND

It was all on the line this season for UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck. After three seasons where the Rebels were only able to tally six total wins, UNLV had to find a way to achieve success in this, Hauck's fourth year.

Mission accomplished after last night's 41-21 win at Air Force.

The fact that the Rebels were victorious in conditions that didn't favor UNLV in any way shows just where this program has come and where it is potentially headed. And where it's headed in the near future is a potential bowl game in New Mexico, Idaho, Texas or Hawaii.

But does it really matter where UNLV heads for this bowl game? This game could be played at Basic High School and the Rebels would be an excited bunch. Also, don't forget about the extended practice time that Hauck will finally get. That may be the biggest advantage of heading to a bowl game. With so many seniors on this roster, I can't help but be extremely happy for this bunch of players. Guys like Caleb Herring, Tim Cornett, Tim Hasson and Parker Holloway have worked awfully hard to reap this reward. There's no doubt they are deserving of what's ahead. CORNETT DELIVERS

Cornett has been a workhouse since the day he arrived in Las Vegas from Texas. In fact, he's been a lone bright spot through a tumultuous time over the last couple years. It was Cornett and a whole lot of nothing else.

Even with that being said, Cornett has saved his best for last. With conditions nearly unbearable in Colorado Springs last night, Cornett basically said to his teammates to get on his back and he will take care of the rest.

Cornett had 36 carries for 223 yards and four touchdowns against the Falcons. It was his first 200-yard game of the year. He capped off his phenomenal game with a 46-yard scoring burst late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

There's no national publicity coming Cornett's way, but make no mistake, there aren't many running backs around the country that are more important to their team's success than Cornett has been to UNLV's. The Rebels turnaround would've never happened without the senior's dedication.

DEFENSE PREVAILS With a frozen field and wind swirling to a tune of -9 degrees, UNLV's defenders were put in a position that they aren't accustomed to. Facing a flex option attack that not only has given the Rebels a ton of trouble in the recent past, but gives nearly every team it faces headaches, the job UNLV's front seven on defense did was remarkable.

The number 11 rushing team in the country, Air Force, was held to nearly 40 yards shy of average. You would think that the offense would have the major edge in this type of weather, especially at home.

Even more importantly was the fact that the Rebels' defense allowed the offense to roll out 27 consecutive points before eventually allowing the Falcons to move the ball down the field into scoring position.

The game plan was as solid as Rebel fans have seen against the AFA since joining the WAC and Mountain West. That's a testament to the coaches. But the defense went out and executed to a tee.

That's a major sign of improvement for a program that has routinely struggled in these situations.



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