LAS VEGAS — Boise State redshirt junior Curtis Weaver had three sacks Saturday night against UNLV to set the Mountain West Conference all-time career sacks record with 29.5.
That total is also just 2 1/2 shy of Chris Wing for No. 2 on Boise State’s all-time list. The previous Mountain West record was 28.5, held by two people including TCU’s Jerry Hughes.
“It’s a blessing,” Weaver said. “I thank God every day. That’s the first person to thank, and then the support system of my mom, my family, my friends, my brothers in the locker room and the coaches. They put me in the right position.”
Weaver has nine sacks through five games, and the three Saturday were his second-most in a game this year. He had four sacks against Portland State earlier this year.
Boise State’s single-season sack record is 20 by Wing in 1996.
HIGHTOWER HAS BIG GAME TO LEAD OFFENSE
Boise State’s coaches, players and fans already knew how fast John Hightower was. Those that follow UNLV or tuned in on TV found out quickly Saturday night.
The speedster showed off his wheels as both a receiver and a runner, combining for 156 total yards and a touchdown in Boise State’s win over the Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Hightower had a 35-yard run on a reverse that set up Boise State’s first touchdown, and then burst past his defender and caught a perfectly thrown pass from Hank Bachmeier for a 76-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
“John is amazing,” wide receiver Khalil Shakir said. “There’s not many like him. When you see him out there making those plays, it’s like ‘wow’.”
The senior finished with four catches for 105 yards and two rushes for 51 yards. It was his third career 100-yard receiving game.
VELAZQUEZ NAILS 52-YARD FIELD GOAL
Boise State punter Joel Velazquez connected on a 52-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. It was the first-career field goal for Velazquez, who attempted the long kick because he has a stronger leg than kicker Eric Sachse.
“It was the best performance he’s had all season,” BSU head coach Bryan Harsin said of Velazquez, who also averaged 42.9 yards on eight punts Saturday. “This is exactly what he was asked to do and he responded to it.”
Velazquez missed a 51-yarder in his only other career attempt earlier this season against Portland State. He did make an extra point last year against San Diego State.
The 52-yarder tied for the sixth-longest field goal in Boise State history, and was the longest since Kyle Brotzman also made a 52-yard attempt on Dec. 4, 2010, against Utah State.
OFFENSIVE LINE FINALLY GETS BACK TOGETHER
Boise State’s much-hyped offensive line looked like it was supposed to Saturday night for the first time since the season opener against Florida State. Right tackle John Ojukwu was injured against the Seminoles and missed the last three games before returning against UNLV. Left tackle Ezra Cleveland also missed a game earlier this season.
Both returned Saturday, and the line of Cleveland at left tackle, John Molchon at left guard, Garrett Larson at center, Eric Quevedo at right guard and Ojukwu at right tackle started after playing together for roughly 20 minutes coming in.
All five starters up front returned from last year and the group was expected to be a strength of the offense. But the injuries forced shuffling that included Molchon starting at three different spots and two others making their first-career starts in Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez and Garrett Curran.
Boise State struggled to run the football and allowed a high number of hits on quarterback Hank Bachmeier through four games, so getting the original starting five back along the offensive line should pay big dividends moving forward.
Akilian Butler’s 23-yard touchdown run was the second rushing touchdown of his career. His first was against in Hawaii back in 2015. … The announced crowd of 24,681 was the biggest for a UNLV home game since UNLV came to Boise in 2015.