Some day, UNLV will beat Nevada in football, but it wasn’t this season

Some day UNLV will beat Nevada in football, but it wasn’t this year at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Nevada rolled over UNLV, 44-26, for its sixth straight victory Saturday night in the state rivalry for the Fremont Cannon.

Not that the result wasn’t expected. The Wolf Pack from Reno was a consensus 21-point favorite. It really wasn’t a matter of if, but how much.

One statistic from the game tells volumes. Nevada had 374 yards rushing and the Rebels had 80. Vai Taua had 188 yards and four touchdowns, including a 72-yard TD run, in 19 carries.

Taua missed last year’s game with a dislocated elbow. Just think what the Wolf Pack could have done with him. They won 63-28 without him as then-freshman Mike Ball from Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas scored five touchdowns.

Ball missed Saturday’s game because of a team suspension. It is a good thing Taua and Ball didn’t play together in either game or who knows what would have happened.

Of course, Nevada had senior quarterback Coin Kaepernick who was 13 of 17 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown and added 97 yards rushing and one touchdown in nine carries.

And that was a comparative off night for Kaepernick. The previous two years against UNLV he had about a gazzilion yards in combined total offense. Actually, it was “only” 797 yards and six touchdowns in those two games.

The Wolf Pack now lead the series against the Rebels, 21-15. Nevada coach Chris Ault is 13-7 in those games.

But back to UNLV beating Nevada some day. Ault, who has done a terrific job at Reno with a smaller budget than UNLV, isn’t going to coach forever.

At the start of the season, I figured Ault might only coach one or two more years.
The Wolf Pack could be undefeated going into the Boise State game Nov. 26 in Reno.

This is Nevada’s best chance to beat Boise State in about 10 years. If the Wolf Pack could upset the Broncos, Ault may want to go out on top. And yes, I realize beating Boise is a big if.

Also, When UNLV hired Bobby Hauck away from Montana, I thought he was a good hire. With Ault possibly retiring in a year or two and Kaepernick being a senior, I thought Hauck had a chance of ending Nevada’s total domination of the Rebels down the line. At least in some years.

Meanwhile, I never thought I would see the day when Nevada was ranked higher than USC, Texas and Penn State, three perennial elite national programs.

But the Wolf Pack team is ranked ahead of USC, Texas and Penn State this week. Nevada is No. 21 in the AP media poll and No. 23 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

USC’s football budget is so much higher than Nevada’s, the Pack’s budget would be mere tip money to Pete Carroll or Lane Kiffin.

Also, Nevada is No. 18 in the Sagarin ratings.


JAYMIE MORRIS ATTENDANCE — Family and friends of Jaymie Morris gave her a surprise 50th birthday party at a tailgate Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Jaymie is the daughter of the late Bill “Wildcat” Morris and Vivienne Morris.

Since the first Rebel football season in 1968 when Jaymie was 8 years old, she has missed only ONE home UNLV football game with the exception of her college years at Nevada and some time spent in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Even when she was in Flagstaff, she commuted to Las Vegas frequently.

But more than making up for any home games missed while out of town was the fact that Wildcat and Vivienne (my cousin) took their kids to ALL away games as well for much of the 1970s.

Jaymie went with the family to Japan for a Rebel football game in 1978 and to China for a three-week trip with the Rebel basketball team in 1979.

Overall, I  know of hardly any others who have attended more Rebel football games in history than Jaymie Morris. Yes, there is Jack Cason. But who else?