When a program is struggling, changes are inevitable.
For UNLV, switching quarterbacks Saturday was an attempt to jump-start its season that is rapidly disintegrating. The Rebels went with freshman Kenyon Oblad starting in place of Armani Rogers. That plan didn’t work out so well as Oblad was 24 of 55 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was also sacked five times in UNLV’s 38-13 loss to 16th-ranked Boise State at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“Our guys played hard. We didn’t get pushed around,” UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. “But we have to figure it out offensively. We have to do some things differently.”
The Rebels (1-4 overall, 0-2 Mountain West) actually put up a fight Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium, only trailing the Broncos 17-0 at halftime. But despite a less-than-stellar effort, BSU, a 24-point favorite, rolled and remained undefeated at 5-0 (2-0 MW).
And while the UNLV defense played a rare disciplined game, it still gave up enough big plays to share in the blame for the latest defeat. Conversely, it was the Broncos who were the undisciplined team Saturday, racking up 130 yards in penalties.
If you’re a UNLV fan and you’re searching for something to be optimistic about, on Thursday, the school opened its $34.8 million Fertitta Football Complex which will be the program’s centerpiece. Perhaps it, along with playing home games next year at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium will attract better players.
As for saving this season, the pressure mounts on Sanchez to make it to a bowl game and keep his job. Mathematically, that can still happen. Seven games remain, beginning next Saturday at Vanderbilt. But the reality is this is an Everest-like climb for UNLV. To ask this program to win five of those seven to get to 6-6 and be bowl-eligible might be asking too much.