Three stars of the game
LAS VEGAS -- Let's face it, there were a heck of a lot more than three stars in the Cowboys' 45-14 thrashing of UNLV Friday in Las Vegas.
But, the headline says we can only choose three.
1st star: Trey Smith
This guy is the first one to credit everyone else. He did again Friday after reeling off a career-high 164 yards on 24 carries. Trey Smith talked more about celebrating the touchdown run of Brett Brenton than he did his big night. He gave a shoutout to the offensive line, coaching staff, Levi Williams and others. After Xazavian Valladay was lost for the game early in the second quarter, the sixth-year senior took over. He bashed and gashed his way through the Rebels defense. He even busted a 28-yard touchdown run. "It was great," Craig Bohl said of Smith's night. "Certainly our line did a great job of creating some holes, but there were a lot of plays where there was nothing there. He kept his feet moving, legs driving, spun and made some great, great runs. It was heart warming to see." Valladay is receiving an MRI when the team returns to Laramie. Television cameras showed a bag of ice behind his left knee after he took a low hit that upended him. If the Louisville transfer is the guy going forward, he just gave you a glimpse of what he can do.
2nd star: Logan Harris
The Cowboys really missed their big offensive guard against Colorado State. The Torrington product came down with mono before the Border War, forcing him to miss weeks of action. Bohl said Logan Harris would make the trip to Las Vegas, but didn't know if he would play much. He did. And he was a dominant force up front. "It was a huge lift," Bohl said. "... Having Logan in the trenches adds so much more stability and leadership to our football team." Harris blew open big holes all afternoon, helping lead the Cowboys to a season-high 399 rushing yards. The Rebels picked up just one sack and four tackles for loss. "It was huge," Levi Williams said. "It's been a bit of a mix and match the last two games. Having him back was huge. It gives us a little bit more experience on the offensive line."
3rd star: Chad Muma
Sometimes it's easy to forget Chad Muma is a first-year starter. Sure, he's seen plenty of playing time, but when you are behind guys like Cassh Maluia and Logan Wilson, you just have to wait your turn. Muma registered a team-high 10 tackles in the victory over UNLV. He added 3.5 tackles for loss. Oh, and he sacked UNLV signal callers three times. He was a blitzing fool. "It was exciting today," Muma smiled, adding that he saw something on film earlier in the week. "It was definitely very exciting to get back out there and finally play again." Muma, one of four team captains this fall, has seamlessly made the transition to starter and team leader from his middle linebacker spot. Muma didn't just make plays Friday afternoon in Vegas, like usual, he showed up with bad intentions. His physicality and speed sets him apart. His sure tackling and smarts makes him one of the best linebackers in the country. "I think so," Bohl said when asked if this was Muma's best performance to date. "However, we knew there was going to be some weaknesses and blitzes at times ... It was great to see Chad make those plays."