Brewer: UNLV first-class in pregame memorial, and that’s what matters most

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Steve Marcus

First responders hold 58 white balloons, representing the 58 victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting, before a UNLV football game against San Diego State at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.

Sat, Oct 7, 2017 (10:58 p.m.)

The UNLV football program is improving. But by how much?

That was something we expected to learn tonight against San Diego State, the back-to-back Mountain West champions. Then, everything changed. Winning a football game didn’t seem so important.

What mattered was coming together as a community to continue our recovery from last Sunday’s mass shooting at a music festival on the Strip that left 58 dead and nearly 500 wounded.

UNLV nailed that part of tonight — everything from Clark County Fire Department draping a massive American flag outside Sam Boyd Stadium to the nationally televised pregame ceremony featuring police, first-responders and others who helped limit the casualties.

Like other vigils and events around town in the aftermath of the shooting, UNLV’s coordination was first class.

Yes, a 41-10 loss and scoreless second half wasn’t the result UNLV wanted, especially considering players desperately wanted a win for the city they represent.

But let’s not forget what they had to deal with this week. Many were mentally drained — just like you and me. It, after all, was the worst day in city history.

They were asked to play their hardest in a game with significant meaning for the community. And while they lost the game, it wasn’t because of their effort. They fought from start to finish, but even their best effort couldn’t circumvent that talent disparity.

San Diego State is undefeated and nationally ranked for a reason, and the Rebels run defense — which yielded nearly 300 rushing yards — is still an area of concern. But we can address that concern later. Much later.

Let’s heal first.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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