In a game that was reminiscent of the old WAC days, someone had to lose at some point. The gods of college football ordained that it would be Wyoming.
The game started out innocuously enough. UNLV came out of the gate and punched Wyoming in the mouth, jumping out to a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Cowboys would quickly respond as Brian Hill took it to the house. On the ensuing UNLV possession, quarterback Kurt Palandech fumbled the ball in the end zone. UW jumped on it to take a 17-10 lead with 14 minutes left in the half.
UNLV answered with three consecutive scoring drives, two touchdowns and a field goal, to go up 27-17.
With 1:13 left in the first half, Josh Allen found Tanner Gentry for a beauty of a 48 yard touchdown pass to come within three points. UNLV would then hit a 27 yard field goal to go up 30-24 going into the half.
Both teams scored twice coming out of the second half, with UNLV still holding a 44-38 advantage. It wasn’t until a punt early in the fourth quarter that Wyoming decided to make it interesting.
UNLV punter Nicolai Bornand got off a short 37 yard punt. Wyoming returner Austin Conway said “Thank you very much” and brought it back 60 yards for a touchdown. Wyoming took its first lead since the beginning of the second quarter.
While Conway was returning the punt, a faint sound was heard from the UNLV sideline. It was Pavendech, who was singing “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.” And he sang for 76 yards as he gave UNLV the lead back in one play.
Flash forward to Wyoming’s final drive. Josh Allen and Co. are backed up on the three yard line. Allen marched Wyoming down the field to the Rebel 19 in eight plays (three of which were spikes). On the next play, Allen found Gentry for the game tying touchdown with no time left.
We’re going to go into overtime.
Naturally, both teams scored on each of their possessions in the first and second overtime. The game was still tied, 66-66. Coach Bohl and Coach Tony Sanchez stared each other down, waiting for the other to blink.
Allen ended up blinking first.
On Wyoming’s possession in triple OT, Allen was looking for Jake Maulhardt. Instead, he found UNLV DB Torry McTyer. UNLV got the ball back and kicked the game winning field goal three plays later.
In a game that went full Big 12, Wyoming looked incredibly sloppy. For a majority of the game, the offense wasn’t doing nothin’ for no one, and the defense could tackle for beans.
UNLV would convert 8-19 3rd downs and their only 4th down attempt. When they needed five, they got six. When they needed seven, they got nine.
Allen had arguably his worst game since Nebraska, completing 14 of 34 passes for 334 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. The yardage and touchdowns, I’m perfectly fine with. The interceptions and completion percentage, I’m not.
Hill did his thing, rushing for 119 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts.
All of the issues Wyoming has had over the course of the year came together in one instant. The defense couldn’t tackle if you paid them, and as a result, UNLV ran for 401 yards. 157 of them belonged to Pavendech.
The lone bright spot of the game was Tanner Gentry, who caught five passes for a measly 184 yards and three touchdowns. No big deal.
All things said and done, this loss could potentially blow up Wyoming’s hopes for a) the Mountain West Championship and b) the long shot at the Cotton Bowl. If the Cowboys want either of those things, they need to beat San Diego at home and New Mexico on the road. For insurance, they would also like to see Boise State drop another game before the season ends.
See you next week at the War.