A week after UNLV football “fought back from the abyss” with a stunning win over Hawaii, the Rebels dug their own grave. Las Vegas Sun sports writer Ray Brewer put it this way: “UNLV made Southern Utah look like Southern California during the days of Reggie Bush ... Of all the embarrassing defeats the program has endured over the years, this is the worst.” The very next day, Tony Knap—the winningest football coach in UNLV history—died (sometimes the universe spreads the symbolism a little thick). Current coach Bobby Hauck acknowledged the black cloud hanging over the program, saying prep for the October 8 rivalry game against Reno’s Wolf Pack would be a “toughness check for everybody.” That goes for fans, too. This is the time to rally hardest. This is the time for red wigs, fake mustaches and spirited smack-talk in the face of dismal stats and ridicule. I’ve seen momentum bend and heroes rise to the will and faith of crowds. I’ve seen jokes become giants. There is untold power in a packed stadium, and right now, UNLV needs one the way misery needs company. Not for the sake of this season so much as the future of a college town that keeps putting all its eggs in one basket(ball). Rebels are, by definition, defiant. Let’s defy some odds.
Wed, Oct 5, 2011 (3:57 p.m.)