Junior defensive end hopes to secure bragging rights for his next trip home
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009 | 2:30 a.m.
More than anything, UNLV junior defensive end Malo Taumua would just like a more pleasant trip home on his next voyage to the
"It's for bragging rights," he said of the Rebels upcoming showdown with 2-0
Taumua's heard it from
Now, as a junior, he feels he'll have more to do with the Rebels fate, rather than watching from the side.
"When we played them my freshman year, I was getting picked on a lot because I was a freshman," he said. "Now I'm a junior. I'm aware of more things, I'm focused."
The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Taumua has also transformed himself into the heart and soul of an improving UNLV defense.
Through two games, the vocal and animated Taumua has four tackles, a sack and an interception.
A year ago, he had a fall camp which gave every indication that he'd have a monster sophomore season. Overmatched at times and swallowed up by double teams on the interior line, he's already on pace to smash his numbers from 2008 at his new defensive end post.
Though Taumua isn't the only Rebel who sees the showdown with 8 p.m. as a game that carries added meaning. On top of the other four players who consider the
"You try not to put extra added incentive to it and keep it in perspective and keep it just a game," said UNLV offensive line coach Keith Uperesa, who recruits