NCF Nation: Mike Clausen

Lunchtime Links

August, 31, 2010
As you finish off that chocolate chip cookie for dessert ...

Doug Martin will start at tailback for Boise State.

Fresno State will redshirt Derek Carr, with Kelly O'Brien serving as the backup to Ryan Colburn.

TCU has depth on the defensive line.

Houston CB Jamal Robinson hopes to continue his resurgence.

San Diego State WRs DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown are among the best receiving duos in the Mountain West.

Austin Dantin will start at quarterback for Toledo.

Mike Clausen has been named the starting quarterback at UNLV, winning the job over Omar Clayton.

Other conference links:


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Spring superlatives: UNLV

April, 15, 2010
UNLV is getting a makeover this spring under new head coach Bobby Hauck, who is looking to install a power running game and refine the 4-3 defensive scheme. Hauck acknowledged that he doesn’t necessarily have all of the personnel to implement everything he wants to do this spring, but he’s slowly trying to turn the Rebels into the contender many thought they could be a year ago.

Here’s a look at the strongest and weakest positions for UNLV this spring:

Strongest position: Quarterback

Key returners: Senior Omar Clayton (60 percent completion percentage, 2,230 yards, 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions), junior Mike Clausen (completed 52 of 88 passes, 463 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions)

Key departures: None.

The skinny: Even though Clayton has more than 20 starts in his career, Hauck opened the quarterback competition this spring. Both Clayton and Clausen have the ability to lead the team and have the ability to be a dual threat, which might come in handy as the running game, which was weak last season, continues to progress. Clayton and Clausen also are competing with freshman Caleb Herring for the starting role.

Weakest position: Defensive line

Key returners: Senior tackle Isaako Aaitui (31 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks), senior end Malo Taumua (26 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack)

Key departures: End Heivaha Mafi (37 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks), tackle Martin Tevaseu (28 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack)

The skinny: The UNLV defense struggled last season and was one of the worst scoring and total defenses in the country. Linebacker Jason Beauchamp, who led the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss, is gone, which will put even more pressure on the defensive line to produce. It had trouble stopping the run and getting to the quarterback last season. The defensive line returns two starters with 52 total starts between them, and players such as Preston Brooks, whose season was cut short because of a shoulder injury, and Nate Holloway could a make a difference in Hauck's 4-3 scheme.
New Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry has been lauded for his promotion of competition during his first week of spring practice, but when the Warhawks donned pads for the first time Monday, Berry took competition to a whole new level.

Louisiana-Monroe made every player live during sessions involving the offense and the defense -- including the quarterbacks.
“With our offense, the quarterback has got to be live,” Berry told the Monroe News-Star. “We can’t evaluate them if they’re not. So much of our offense is predicated on those guys making plays.”

Berry said prior to spring practice that every position was open, including the starting quarterback spot that Trey Revell won after spring practice a year ago. Senior Zach Rhodes, sophomore Cody Wells and redshirt freshman Kolton Browning are also competing for the starting job.

Revell passed for 1,739 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 10 games last season. Wells, who started two games last year but played in all 12, threw for 762 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Rhodes, who took a hiatus from football in 2009, played in six games as a redshirt freshman at SMU in 2007. He transferred to Louisiana-Monroe after the year and sat out the 2008 season because of NCAA transfer rules.

Berry has been known for his reliance on his quarterback's playmaking abilities. At UNLV, quarterbacking duo Omar Clayton and Mike Clausen were both dual threats. Clayton is the only UNLV quarterback to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 in a single game.

Posted by’s Graham Watson

UNLV junior quarterback Omar Clayton is practicing with the team this week, but it is unclear whether he’ll start Saturday’s game against Hawaii.

Clayton suffered what was originally diagnosed as a bruised knee when he was hit from behind during the third quarter of last week’s game against Oregon State. Clayton limped around the next few plays before coming out of the game. There was some fear that Clayton might have aggravated the torn MCL he suffered against TCU during the ninth game of last season.

“Omar had an MRI and it showed nothing significant,” coach Mike Sanford said. “He basically bruised his knee and might have had a little bit of a, like a low hamstring pull. He came to practice on Sunday, he moved around pretty darn well. He was still a little stiff at that point. My expectation is that he’ll be able to play.”

Sophomore backup Mike Clausen replaced Clayton and was 18-of-26 for 170 yards, one touchdown and an early interception. But he was key during the fourth quarter when he went 6-of-9 for 58 yards and threw two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came with just over 4 minutes remaining and gave the Rebels a 21-20 lead and a chance for the upset. But Oregon State marched down the field and hit the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

Sanford said he would hold off on naming a starter until the week of practice concluded because he wanted to see how Clayton’s health progressed. However, if Clayton is healthy enough to play Saturday, he's expected to start the game.

Non-AQ helmet stickers, Week 2

September, 13, 2009
Posted by’s Graham Watson

Case Keenum, QB, Houston: Led Houston to a 45-35 upset of No. 5 Oklahoma State by completing 68 percent of his passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.

Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan: Completed 33-of-46 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-27 win against Michigan State. He became the Mid-American Conference's all-time leader in total offense with 12,166 yards in his career.

Aaron Opelt, QB, Toledo: Passed for 319 yards and rushed for another 109 in a 54-38 upset win over Colorado. Opelt accounted for six total touchdowns -- four passing, two rushing.

Tyler Albrecht, K, Louisiana-Lafayette: Made a 48-yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining to give Louisiana-Lafayette a 19-17 win over Kansas State. It was his first collegiate kick.

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU: Had a career-high and team-best 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss with 1.5 sacks in the 30-14 win against Virginia.

Greg Alexander, QB, Hawaii: Completed 25-of-35 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns. Alexander's yards passing were the most against Washington State since 1989.

Honorable mention

Mike Clausen, QB, UNLV: Came in in the fourth quarter and led the Rebels to two touchdowns and nearly helped them defeat Oregon State.

Zach Maynard, QB, Buffalo: Completed 68 percent of his passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns in a 54-27 loss to Pittsburgh.

Austin Pritchard, LB, Western Michigan: Finished with 12 tackles and his 22-yard field goal block in the fourth quarter gave WMU the opportunity to score the go ahead TD late in the game. It was the first blocked kick of his career.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International: Had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against No. 4 Alabama.

Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii: Had seven catches for 194 yards and a touchdown in the 38-20 win against Washington State.

Dwight Dasher, QB, Middle Tennessee: Dasher accounted for 320 of the Blue Raiders' 436 yards of total offense in a 31-14 win against Memphis. He completed 18 of 26 passes for 231 yards and added a team-high 89 yards on the ground.