No. 24 Boise St. 32, UNLV 7

Boise State’s dominant defense set the tone again, leading the

Broncos to another easy victory.

Senior cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins shut down the

Rebels’ corps of fast, young receivers, accounted for two turnovers

and teamed up on a second quarter touchdown that helped put the

game out of reach before halftime in a 32-7 rout of UNLV on

Saturday night.

With Boise State leading 18-0 minutes before the half, Taylor

chased down receiver Marcus Sullivan in the middle of the field and

stripped the ball. Gavins, trailing behind, scooped up the loose

ball and ran untouched 16 yards into the end zone.

Minutes before, Gavins squelched the Rebels’ best scoring chance

with an over-the-shoulder interception in the end zone, and Taylor

had a sack to go with his career-high nine tackles to help lead the

Broncos to their sixth straight win since losing the opener at

Michigan State.

”They’re very important to this team. They have that senior

leadership, and they have that senior mentality,” said Boise State

coach Chris Petersen. ”When those two guys are playing at a high

level, I think the rest of the guys feed off them. They’re really

important out there.”

They sure were Saturday.

The ability of Taylor and Gavins to lock down on Rebel receivers

enabled the front four – minus sack leader Demarcus Lawrence – to

put relentless pressure on UNLV’s redshirt freshman quarterback

Nick Sherry.

Lawrence, who has 5.5 sacks on the season, was suspended before

the game for violating team rules. Petersen declined to provide

details for the discipline after the game, but said Lawrence would

likely play next week at Wyoming.

The Broncos (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West) held the Rebels to just 210

total yards and forced three turnovers, giving the Broncos 22

takeaways this season. The Broncos, who came into the game allowing

a meager 14.6 points per game, have also gone five straight games

without allowing opponents to score in the first half.

”We’re playing great as a unit, and everyone’s doing their

job,” said Taylor, who helped hold UNLV to 71 yards pass, the

third time an opponent has been held to fewer than 100 yards

through the air.

The defense also sacked Sherry twice and knocked him around so

often that at the end of the game he needed help from a couple of

teammates to get to the locker room.

UNLV (1-7, 1-2) coach Bobby Hauck said he expects Sherry will be

fine, though plenty sore for the next several days.

”He got roughed up, that’s about all I know about it,” said

Hauck, whose team has now lost four straight. ”Give Boise credit,

they whipped our tail today.”

But the Boise State offense also did its job.

D.J. Harper rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries and had TD runs of

10 and 1 yards, and Jay Ajayi scored on a 4-yard run that gave the

Broncos an 18-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Joe Southwick turned in one of his best games of the season

thanks in part to an offensive line that gave him plenty of time to

pick apart the Rebel secondary. Southwick was 22 of 30 for 243

yards, and he could have had more had his receivers held on to a

couple of deep throws. Southwick exited the game late in the third

quarter after Harper’s second TD put the Broncos up 32-0.

The Broncos, locked in a tie for first with Nevada, offense

rolled up 394 total yards, but also played a big role in spoiling a

shutout for the defense.

UNLV’s only score came midway through the fourth quarter when

backup Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick took off downfield but

had the ball jarred loose by Rebel linebacker John Lotulelei. The

ball bounced into the hands of cornerback Kenneth Penny, who dashed

down the sidelines untouched for the touchdown.

Sherry was 14 of 31 for 71 yards and had six carries for

minus-12 yards. Bradley Randle led UNLV with 64 yards rushing on 16

carries and Tim Corbett added 61 yards on 16 carries.

For UNLV, it’s the second disappointing loss in two weeks. Last

week, UNLV gave up a 17-point lead at the half in losing at home to

rival Nevada. Early in the week, Hauck wondered about his team’s

ability to rebound after such a devastating loss, but was pleased

he didn’t see any emotional or physical let down.

”I thought it was a physical game. If you are lacking

intensity, then it wouldn’t be as physical,” Hauck said. ”So, I

wouldn’t say we were lacking intensity at all, I would just say

that we didn’t play well enough to beat that team.”