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UNLV vs. BYU final score: Rebels defense has poor third quarter, fall 42-23 to Cougars

UNLV's passing game and defense failed them in a poor effort against BYU.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV was looking for a huge upset when they traveled up I-15 to take on former Mountain West foe BYU, and for the first half the Rebels were hanging tough against the Cougars. In the first 30 minutes of the game UNLV was trailing just 21-13 but the third quarter is when BYU stepped up its game and UNLV reverted to its old self as they allowed the Cougars to outscore them 21-10, and that was the game.

UNLV had a big chance in the first quarter when they were down 14-10 and fresh off a Shaquille Murray-Lawrence touchdown, and then the Rebels forced a fumble on the kickoff. UNLV took over with the ball at BYU's 38-yard line and made it to the 5-yard line for a first-and-goal. Yet, the UNLV offense stalled had to settle for a short 21-yard field goal to make it 14-13. A touchdown there could have made a difference in this game.

Things started to unravel after that as BYU out scored UNLV 21-3 to put the game out of reach.

UNLV's offense struggled and starting quarterback Blake Decker has been banged up all year left this game after yet another big hit and was replaced early in the third quarter. On the day he completed just 10 of 25 passes for 90 yards and an interception.

For the second straight week it was Jared Lebowitz who came in and replaced Decker. He did throw his first career touchdown pass to Devonte Boyd, but overall he struggled as well by completing only 10 of 20 passes for 141 yards.

All of the scoring ended in that third quarter and UNLV had nothing to give in the fourth quarter and BYU with a 19-point lead didn't need to do anything on offense and just relaxed.

UNLV's struggles on defense were very clear as they allowed Christian Stewart to throw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, and while his accuracy was not that amazing at 18 of 32 that just meant those completions were big plays. The front seven of UNLV was getting to Stewart but they were not able to secure the tackle, and Stewart made the Rebel defense pay for not taking him down when they had the chance.

The rush defense was not any better as BYU averaged 6.5 yards per carry and they didn't even have starting running back Jamaal Williams in the game. The Cougars rushed for 267 yards and the high rusher was Paul Lasike who had just 70 yards.

The few bright spots for UNLV was receivers Devonte Boyd who caught five passes for 70 yards and a score and running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence who rushed for a game high 143 yards, including a 68-yard score.

This was the sixth-straight road loss for UNLV in which they fell by double digits. The Rebels go on the road next to face Hawaii and at this point it is very possibly that this losing by more than 10 points could continue.