The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

October 8, 2010

Runnin’ Rebels begin their journey to Morgantown

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has never been to Morgantown. But he could almost design a brochure about what the town is like on a football Saturday.

“Morgantown is known for being loud and their fans are passionate about the game,” Hauck said. “It’s a college town. It’s a cool place to play. I’ve not been there but I’ve talked to a lot of people who have worked there or been there.”

It will be a cross country trip for the Runnin’ Rebels.

“Certainly the travel is difficult, especially when you go west to east,” Hauck said. “They’re three time zones away. There are some things that play into making this a hard game. The number one thing is that they’re pretty darn good, too.”

The Rebels left Las Vegas Thursday.

“We’ll try to keep it as consistent as we can,” Hauck said. “Traveling across three time zones and playing an early game, I think the smart thing to do is to go on Thursday.”

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Much has been made of the health of Noel Devine heading into Saturday’s game.

So much so that there’s the possibility of moving one of the Mountaineers’ slots, Tavon Austin or Jock Sanders, to his spot as a contingency plan.

Sanders, who is tied for the lead in team receptions (24) with Austin, has done this before.

“They don’t really talk about it because they know that I’m always in the running back room and that I’m prepared if I’m needed to go back there,” Sanders said. “Coach Beatty talks to everyone in the room and I’ve got it down. I’m prepared if that were to happen.”

He rushed for 66 yards in place of Devine last year against Louisville.

Austin, a former high school running back, is good with the idea.

“I’ll have to do whatever it takes to help the team,” said Austin, who also leads the team in receiving yardage (314). “I pretty much have the wide receiver position down. I might see more time as a back because I’m not as used to it, but I’ll do what’s asked of me. They might put me in motion or do other things.”

Sanders offered up another idea, freshman Trey Johnson.

“He’s been outstanding so far,” the senior said. “Knowing that you’re behind someone like Noel, you’re watching from the sidelines and picking things up. Every time that Trey has a chance, he’s made the best of it. He’s making plays and that’s why his name is coming out of the coach’s mouth.”

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With a home contest with South Florida coming five days after Saturday’s UNLV game, which means the start of the Big East campaign, there is a concern that the team might take the Rebels, a big underdog, lightly.

Not so, says safety Terrence Garvin.

“Right now, we’re focused on UNLV,” he said. “That’s the next game that we’ve got. We have to win this game. We’ve only been watching UNLV.”

Garvin is a member of a defense that has lived up to its billing this season.

“So far we’ve been playing pretty well,” he said. “We can always get better. We still have a lot of stuff to improve on. We have to get better and play faster.

“Our coaches tell us things to look out for every week. I study film and when I’m on the field, I try to make things happen. I need to know where I’m at, at all times. Those things help you play fast.”

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The game kicks off at Milan Puskar Stadium and will be televised locally by WOAY-TV.

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