“It’s tough, and I’d rather not be in overtime.”
Double that, NO, TRIPLE. On Saturday, UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez found himself in an overtime game for the third time since he took over as head coach of the Rebels in 2015, and for the first time he was on the winning end of the decision. This game was remarkable even for a triple OT game, a Nicolai Bornand 40 yard field goal being the difference in a 69-66 decision.
“That was an absolutely exhausting game,” Sanchez said. “Coach Craig Bohl and his team did a really good job coming on the road. I thought our guys did a really good job. We talked to our guys over the last couple of weeks to start fast, play focused, and make great plays.”
UNLV quarterback Kurt Palandech had a career day, like many do in a game that features over 1,100 yards of total offense and 135 points. Few athletes have a better attitude than Palandech, who was quick to praise his receivers after Saturday’s win.
“(Devonte) Boyd’s a great player and having a play-maker like that you just try to give him the ball anyway you can. He does a good job getting open for me and the offensive line was doing a good job giving me time enough to find him. And then in overtime, we had guys stepping up like Jericho Flowers finding a window there up the middle and Andrew Price making a big time catch up the goal line. Those guys were stepping up for me and I was just trying to give them the ball.”
Shockingly, Palandech out-rushed Wyoming Cowboys running back Brian Hill who entered Saturday’s game as the country’s third leading rusher. That was a pleasant surprise for Sanchez, who expected to rely heavily on Xzaviar Campbell. Campbell saw an increase in his workload, filling in for injured running back Lexington Thomas. Campbell compiled an impressive 83 yards on 19 carries. Sanchez was pleased with Campbell’s enhanced role.
“Another guy we’re proud of. It just goes to show it’s easy for a guy like that to be down in the dumps and come in and all of a sudden. You got Lexington hurt during the week and he was a lot more hurt than people thought. Then you’ve got Charles Williams who is roughed up. That goes to show the kind of character these kids have. It’s really easy when you go into week ten to kind of not be there mentally because you haven’t got the opportunity that you wanted. So for Campbell to stay focused on the play he did today, breaking tackles to get the hard yards, that just shows these guys are bought in.”
The Rebels are definitely going to need to buy in if they’re to capitalize on Saturday’s success. Boise State is up next for UNLV. The Broncos trampled Hawaii 52-16 last week and have climbed to #22 in the Associated Press poll.
“We’ve got a great group of guys in that locker room. They fight their tails off.”
Hope the Rebels have something left in the tank. UNLV and Boise State kick off from Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho Friday night at 6pm PT.