GAME: Washington State (1-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-12) at UNLV (0-2 overall, 0-0, Mountain West). WHEN: Friday, 6 p.m. PT, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. MEETING: 6th (WSU leads 5-0). COACHES: Bobby Hauck, UNLV; Mike Leach, WSU. RANKINGS: Both unranked. LINE: WSU by 8 1/2. TV: ESPN. RADIO: ESPN 710 and IMG College Sports Network.
It's hard not to admire Bobby Hauck's candor when he discusses his reeling UNLV football team, which hosts Washington State in a nationally televised contest Friday night in Las Vegas.
"We are very hard to love," Hauck, a former Huskies assistant under Rick Neuheisel, admitted this week. "We feel like we are letting people down, and we are absolutely ill about being where we are right now. We want people to be excited about us, but right now it's tough to do."
Where the Rebels are is 0-2 following a 2-11 record in 2010 and a 2-10 mark last season. This would seem to set up nicely for Washington State, coming off a scare against Eastern Washington at Martin Stadium Saturday.
But both of UNLV's losses have come on last-second field goals. Minnesota beat the Rebels in three overtimes with a 32-yarder, and Northern Arizona upended UNLV last week with a 33-yarder with 12 seconds to play.
"We just have to go back out there and go to work," said Hauck. "We got nearly a whole season left. I still think we've got the right stuff in our locker room and on our coaching staff. We just have to go out there and get it done."
UNLV has not had much success against members of the Pac-12 Conference and no luck at all against the Cougars, who are 5-0 against the Rebels.
Main question for the Cougars remains the status of quarterback Jeff Tuel, who was hit low in the fourth quarter against Eastern Washington, left the game and didn't return. Head coach Mike Leach refuses to comment on injuries, so Tuel's availability Saturday is unknown.
However, Tuel watched practice this week while wearing a knee brace as backup Connor Halliday took snaps with the first unit.
"Thought he's operated good, operated quick and thought he's done a lot of really good things from the neck up," Leach said of Halliday. "He's a guy that's really taken advantage of his time in the film room and practice, even though he started out without as many reps."
If Halliday starts Friday, it will be the second of his career.
Earlier this week, Leach punished his offensive lineman for a series of holding penalties and for allowing their fundamentals to break down against Eastern.
"We just had some bonehead dumb ones," said Leach, "that were off-the-charts dumb that we have to have better technique on."
While Hauck says the Rebels are "hard to love," Leach says he's impressed with what he's seen of UNLV, and adds that the Rebels team the Cougars will face Friday is far different from the one the Cougars crushed 59-7 last season in Pullman.
"They've got a lot of speed at key positions," said Leach. "Like us, they are still trying to harness things. They've lost two close ones and should have beaten a very athletic Minnesota team. This is a different team than last year, one that's much improved. I know they are disappointed with their results, but they've got some weapons."
WSU safety Deone Bucannon will not play in the first half against the Rebels. The Pac-12 suspended him as a result of an "unnecessary" hit he put on Eastern Washington receiver Greg Herd in the fourth quarter.
RIVALRY: Dates to Sept. 9, 1978, when WSU quarterback Jack Thompson completed 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-7 Cougar victory. WSU has won the four meeting since, including a 59-7 victory last season in Martin Stadium. The Cougars have played in Las Vegas once and left with a 40-13 win in 1991. Drew Bledsoe ran for two touchdowns and threw for one. Jason Hanson added an NCAA record 62-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (85-43, 1-1 WSU):Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach's offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.WSU STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 1-1. Home: 1-0. Road: 0-1. Neutral: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 North: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-0. Vs. Non-Conference: 1-1.
- Points For: 30(15.0). Rushing Yards Per Game: 51.5. Passing Yards Per Game: 238.0. Total Offense Per Game: 289.5.
- Points Against: 50 (25.0). Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game: 106.5. Opp. Passing Yards Per Game: 341.0. Total Defense Per Game: 447.5.
- PAC-12 Ranks: Scoring Offense -- 10th (15.0); Scoring Defense -- 6th (25.0); Total Offense -- 11th (289.5); Total Defense -- T10 (447.5; Rushing Offense -- 12th (51.5); Rushing Defense (5th (106.5; Pass Offense -- 7th (238.0); Pass Defense -- 12th (341.0); Pass Efficiency -- 10th (116.6).
- Cougars are 16-4 overall against current members of the Mountain West Conference dating to 1953 when WSU faced Texas Christian. WSU has won nine of its last 10 against MWC opponents dating to a 1990 loss against Wyoming. WSU beat UNLV last season but lost at San Diego State 42-24.
- WSU's defense has tallied six sacks through the first two games after recording 17 all of last season. The switch to a 3-4 has seen more linebackers in the backfield as five of the six sacks have come from LBs.
- Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel enters Friday's game (if he's cleared to play) in eighth place on WSU's career top-10 list for completions with 369 and eighth in career passing yards (4,245) after throwing for 229 yards at BYU and 171 against Eastern Washington.
- Junior WR Marquess Wilson enters the week as the Pac-12's active career leader in receiving yards with 2,502, No. 37 all-time in conference history. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history.
- Andrew Furney, who had a pair of field goals against BYU, had a 60-yarder against Eastern. That marked Furney's career-long and the second longest in WSU history behind Jason Hanson's 62-yarder at UNLV in 1991. Furney's 60-yarder tied for the second longest in conference history and is the longest by a WSU player in Martin Stadium.
- With the win over Eastern, WSU is 25-9 against unranked, non-conference opponents since the opening of the 2001 season. The Cougars own wins over Idaho (seven times), Montana State (3), Nevada (2), New Mexico (2), Boise State, Purdue, Colorado, Grambling State, Baylor, Portland State, SMU, Idaho State, Eastern Washington and UNLV (2011).
|Tackles||Bucannon 10, Taliulu 16, Horton, Long, Monroe, 11|
|Sacks||Long 2.0, Monroe 1.0, Hoffart 1.0, Mayes 1.0|
|Interceptions||Bucannon 1, Coen 1|
|Passes Defensed||Taliulu 2, Su'a 2, Bucannon 1, Washington 1|
|Forced Fumbles||Monroe 1, Su'a 1, Mayes 1|
|Oregon||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. Tenn. Tech, 12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net|
|Stanford||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. USC, 4:30 p.m., FOX|
|Oregon St.||1-0||0-0||Sept. 22 at UCLA, 12:30 p.m., ABC|
|California||1-1||0-0||Saturday at Ohio State, 9 a.m., ABC|
|Washington||1-1||0-0||Saturday vs. Portland St., 1 p.m., FX|
|WSU||1-1||0-0||Friday at UNLV, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|Arizona||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. S. Car. St., 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|Arizona St.||2-0||0-0||Saturday at Missouri, 4 p.m., ESPN2|
|UCLA||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|USC||2-0||0-0||Saturday at Stanford, 4:30 p.m., FOX|
|Utah||1-1||0-0||Saturday vs. BYU, 7 p.m., ESPN2|
|Colorado||0-2||0-0||Saturday at Fresno, 5 p.m., CBS|
UNLV HEAD COACH: Hired in December of 2009, Bobby Hauck (84-40, 4-23 UNLV) is in his third year as head coach of the Rebels, who went 2-11 in 2010 and 2-10 in 2011, and have started out 0-2 this season. Prior to joining UNLV, Hauck coached at Montana (2003-09). He also coached special teams and safeties at Washington under Rick Neuheisel from 1999-01. Hauck graduated from Montana in 1988.
COMING UP: The Cougars open Pac-12 Conference play by hosting University of Colorado Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. on FX in Martin Stadium. The Cougars came from behind to beat the Buffaloes 31-27 in Boulder last season.Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||WSU Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/8/12||vs. E. Wash||---||---||W||24-20||1-1|