JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's David Veikune bore down on UNLV quarterback Rocky Hinds during the second half last night.
Quick Warriors keep Rebels on the run
It was a bleak night for Nevada-Las Vegas at Aloha Stadium.
The Rebels did so few things well in the 42-13 loss to Hawaii that it appeared they just weren't ready to play.
"I am shocked," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "I would not have thought, judging by the way we prepared, never in a million years, that we would have played like this."
Whether it was at the line of scrimmage or in the open field, Hawaii played with passion and emotion. UNLV didn't. The Rebels, at times, appeared to be going through the motions.
Instead of having an extra burst to make a tackle, many times UNLV players chased and flailed in vain, without a sense of real purpose.
On offense, Rebels quarterback Rocky Hinds showed his athleticism by eluding Hawaii's constant rush. But instead of making plays -- with a pass or a run -- more often than not Hinds didn't connect with his receivers or make the right decisions under pressure.
The constant haranguing on Hinds didn't help, and neither did the knee he sprained in last week's loss to Iowa State. He did engineer one scoring drive late in the third quarter, but by then, the outcome was all but decided as the Rebels trailed 42-7.
"I wasn't 100 percent, but I felt good enough to play," said Hinds, a transfer from USC. "Every time I scrambled, they (the Warriors) were there. There really weren't too many times I think I could have run. I felt I could have played a lot better. A couple of things I felt OK about, but there's a lot of things I need to improve on. The coaches were all saying I should have stayed in the pocket more."
Hinds finished 13-for-37 for 166 yards and an interception. He said the UH pressure didn't fluster him, although the many different looks the Warriors gave caused some confusion.
"(The UH defense) had a mixture of about 15 different things," Sanford said. "At times, it was a three-man rush. Sometimes it was a four-man, five-man, six-man or seven-man rush. Rocky has to stand in the pocket against the pressure. It wasn't the same Rocky we know. His problems were a microcosm of what our team was going through."
The Rebels' running game fared much worse than the passing game, especially in the first half, when they were held to 3 net yards on the ground. They finished with 39 net rushing yards.
Defensively, as is the case when most visitors come to Honolulu to play the Warriors, UNLV didn't have an answer for all of Hawaii's zigging and zagging receivers.
"Actually, we were prepared for that," linebacker Beau Bell said. "But our scout team couldn't simulate Hawaii's quickness. Hawaii looked quick on film and they really are that quick. We had to adjust to that speed and quickness and it took a while to do. And we just didn't rally to the ball."
Any chance UNLV had of coming back in the second half was squashed early after the break. The Rebels were hit with a 15-yard unsporstmanlike-conduct penalty after the third-quarter kickoff and on the next play Leonard Peters intercepted a Hinds pass and rumbled untouched 33 yards for a score to make it 35-0.
Despite the disappointing loss, UNLV won the turnover battle 4-1. Robert Travers Jr. and John Guice intercepted one pass each and KC Asiodu and Elton Shackleford each recovered a fumble.