Wyoming took their winning streak on the road this week to take on UNLV in Las Vegas. The Cowboys, who were winners of five straight, found themselves in an old fashioned shoot out in Sin City. The Cowboys came in at 7-2 on the season, their best start since the days in the WAC, and also boasted an undefeated conference record.
The Rebels had other plans for today, however. The Rebels have struggled at times over the season, including losing heart breakers to San Jose State and Idaho. They’ve also bounced between three different quarterbacks this season trying to find some consistency among injuries and bad play.
UNLV would start the scoring with a 30 yard field goal from Evan Pantels to put the Rebels up 3-0. Wyoming would respond with a field goal of their own from Cooper Rothe to make a 3-3. UNLV wasn’t done with their scoring yet when Jericho Flowers ran in a 34 yard touchdown run. The first quarter would end with the Rebels up 10-3.
The second quarter came around the so did the offenses. Wyoming would get the ball back at their own 46 and take just three plays to punch the ball in on a six yard Brian Hill touchdown to tie the game at 10. Wyoming would take their first lead of the game when UNLV quarterback Kurt Palandech fumbled the football on his own eight yard line and it was recovered in the end zone by Logan Wilson.
UNLV responded two drives later when UNLV running back David Greene rushed for a 27 yard touchdown to tie the game at 17. On the following drive Wyoming’s Josh Allen would fumble on a scramble and UNLV recovered at the Wyoming 29. Five plays later UNLV regained the lead when Evan Pantels knocked one through the uprights for a 20-17 lead.
UNLV extended their lead to ten when DJ May fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Palandech tossed a touchdown one play later to Xavier Campbell.
Wyoming wouldn’t score again until Josh Allen hit Tanner Gentry in the end zone on a one handed over the top catch from 48 yards out. UNLV would kick another field goal to extend their lead to 30-24 headed into halftime.
After a quick three and out by Wyoming UNLV would get the ball back and punch in another touchdown, another Xavier Campbell touchdown from one yard out. Wyoming would respond with a touchdown of their own on the following drive when Brian Hill ran across the goal line from 15 yard out.
UNLVs scoring assault did not stop, however. David Greene would score another Rebel touchdown on a one yard rush to put the Rebels 44-31.
Every time Wyoming had a score the Rebels had an answer. They couldn’t be broken in this game. UNLV was having uncharacteristic success against Wyoming’s defense in this game.
Wyoming responded on their next drive when Brian Hill would set up the drive with a 20 yard rush, followed by a 45 yard pass from Allen to Gentry. Wyoming would respond by stuffing UNLV on a three and punting the ball away. Austin Conway got a hold of the ball at his own 40 yard line and took it 60 yards to the house, putting the Cowboys ahead 45-44. Conway has been very successful in the return game this year, and finally broke one for a score. It came at a time when the Cowboys needed him the most.
UNLV wasn’t done scoring in this game and wasn’t ready to turn out the lights in Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels responded with a 76 yard Kurt Palandech scramble for a touchdown. Palandech is an impressive runner who left everyone in his wake on that run. After the teams traded punts in the fourth quarter Wyoming had one last chance to keep this game going.
UNLV’s drive stalled near midfield and were forced to punt. Rebel punter Nicolai Bornand hit what might have been the play of the game at the point by sticking a punt at the Wyoming two yard line, pinning the Cowboys at their own two with 1:06 left in the game. Eleven plays is all it took for Wyoming to march down the field in 66 seconds and score a touchdown when Josh Allen hit Tanner Gentry in the back of the endzone to tie the game at 52.
Wyoming would take the ball first in overtime and score in three plays, Brian Hill taking it in from 15 yards out. UNLV responded nearly as fast, scoring in three plays on a Palandech touchdown to Jericho Flowers.
UNLV started the second overtime much like they started the first one, a Palandech touchdown to Andrew Price. Wyoming also was not done scoring either. Josh Allen hit Jacob Hollister on a 19 yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 66.
Wyoming would get the ball first in the third overtime and on the second play Josh Allen threw an interception that would end Wyoming’s hopes. Four plays later UNLV kicked the winning field goal and go on to win 69-66.
The Rebels ran for 437 yards on the Cowboy defense, the most they’ve given up all season on the ground. Brian Hill had a steady, but quiet day, going for 127 yards and three touchdown. Allen finished the day 14-31, 334 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions. Tanner Gentry led all receivers with 184 yards and three touchdowns. Kurt Palandech had a career day for the Rebels. He went for 181 yards rushing and a score, plus 20/32 for 252 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
The combined 135 points between the teams ranks second all-time in NCAA history.
On the defensive side of the ball the Cowboys had four players record double-digit tackles. Leading the way was Lucas Wacha who had 16 with a sack. Logan Wilson recorded 13 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. Marcus Epps finished with 12 tackles, Andrew Wingard with 11.
Wyoming will head home for its final home game of the regular season next week as they take on Mountain West opponent San Diego State. The Aztecs are currently leading the West division of the conference and have secured their place in the Mountain West title game. The game will kickoff at 1:30pm in Laramie and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.