RENO — UNLV ended eight years of misery, beating upstate rival UNR 27-22 tonight at sold-out Mackay Stadium.
The Fremont Cannon will be painted red and returned to Las Vegas.
It’s is UNLV’s first victory over the Wolf Pack since 2004, and the Rebels swarmed the field and danced.
The victory puts UNLV (5-3, 3-1 Mountain West) within one game of bowl eligibility.
UNLV went ahead 27-16 on a Tim Cornett 9-yard touchdown run and an 11-yard TD pass from Caleb Herring to Devante Davis. UNR (3-5, 2-3) made it interesting with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cody Fajardo to Aaron Bradley with 3:25 left, but the Rebels’ defense held in the end.
UNLV had the chance to take the lead, but Nolan Kohorst missed a 35-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the quarter, allowing UNR to remain in front 16-14.
Neither team scored in the period.
UNLV has outgained the Wolf Pack 366 yards to 355. Tim Cornett has rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries, and Caleb Herring has completed 20 of 30 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
UNR’s Brent Zuzo made a 43-yard field goal with 24 seconds left to give the Wolf Pack a 16-14 halftime lead over UNLV.
Caleb Herring threw two touchdown passes for the Rebels, a 16-yarder to Maika Mataele between four defenders and a 44-yarder to Devante Davis. The throw to Davis put UNLV in front 14-13 with 4:18 left.
The Rebels had the chance to take the lead into the second half, but questionable time management allowed the Wolf Pack to drive into position for Zuzo’s go-ahead try.
UNLV, though, had one last opportunity to go in front, but Nolan Kohorst missed badly from 49 yards.
The Wolf Pack outgained UNLV325 yards to 278.
Herring, however, completed 13 of 19 passes for 179 yards. UNR’s Cody Fajardo is 12-of-19 for 229 yards.
Brent Zuzo made a 40-yard field goal midway through the first quarter to give UNR a 3-0 lead.
The Wolf Pack, however, were threatening to score when the period end, facing a third-and-1 at UNLV’s 10-yard line.
UNR outgained the Rebels 161 yards to 80.
UNLV running back Tim Cornett is dressed and took the football field for pregame warmups, but the question is whether he will play.
That mystery will be solved when the Rebels (4-3, 2-1 Mountain West) play UNR (3-4, 2-2) at 3 p.m.
Cornett suffered a right knee injury in last Saturday’s 38-14 loss at Fresno State, and was listed as doubtful for this game.
The Rebels could use him. He averages 101.3 yards per game, and the Wolf Pack allow a 287.1 average.
With or without Cornett, the Rebels will try to break an eight-game losing streak to their archrival and take one more step toward bowl eligibility.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.