The last game of the night was a good one, as UNLV looks to have taken that step forward as a program. Yes, they lost but UNLV looks much better and hung around with 24th ranked Oregon State Beavers. The game was a defensive battle for the first half with Oregon State getting the only touchdown, but also missed an extra point that almost came back to haunt them.
Two first half turnovers hurt UNLV who was moving the ball at a decent pace, one was an interception by Omar Clayton near midfield and then a fumble in the second quarter. That fumble was huge because UNLV was driving and inside Oregon State's twenty yard line.
A scary moment for UNLV came when starting QB Omar Clayton went down with a knee injury --the same knee he hurt last year-- but luckily he will be all right for next weeks game. Back up MIke Clausen who is nearly as good as Clayton and last year almost enginerred a win over BYU in Provo. Clausen was able to pass for two touchdowns and have the Rebels up 21-20 in the fourth.
However the Rebel defense was unable to hold off Oregon State as they made the game winning field goal to win 23-21. The last drive was a 12 play 87 yards to finish off the game as the clock expired.
Oregon State was lead by RB Jacquizz Rodgers who had 166 yards and a score; he was a pain all night in the Rebel defense, while their QB Sean Canfield had zero turnovers, 198 yards passing and two touchdowns.
UNLV was fine with either quarterback running the show, but the running game is lacking in this ofense attack. In Mike Sanford's option offense the running game is a key compenent to their success. Channing Trotter lead the way but with only 35 yards, and the second leading rusher was QB Mark Clausen who came in the fourth quarter.
The running game and turnovers were the main reason the Rebels lost the game. The defense held up well up until that last drive were Oregon State seemed to be making every play they needed to keep the ball moving forward.
The Rebels should be disappointed in the loss, but from where they have been a few years back it is good to know this program is able to compete with top 25 caliber teams.