UNLV lost its first chance this season to become bowl eligible, but they could have come out of their 34-24 loss to the San Jose State Spartans looking worse.
They could have played the second half of the game the way they played the first: giving up easy points and not giving their defense a second to breathe. The Rebels let San Jose State score on its opening drive for the first time this season.
Things didn’t improve heading deeper into the first quarter, as Caleb Herring was picked off on a 3rd-and-long by Spartan CB Bene Benwikere to end the Rebels’ first drive.
It was downhill from there as an end-around pass led to a 30-yard touchdown for SJSU with 4:21 left in the first quarter. Some fans blamed it on the excitement from the Fremont Cannon and UNLV’s victory over UNR last week.
The Rebels were able to scrape together a 20-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but the Spartans beat it with a 31-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-3 with 4:29 left.
A late Spartan field goal left the score at 24-3 going into the second half. It wasn’t quite time to give up, though. UNLV started out strong in the second half and gave SJSU a run for their money. A 19-yard touchdown pass made it a two-score game.
A one-yard sneak by Herring on fourth down made the score 24-17 with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
Another touchdown by each team and a Spartan field goal left the score at 34-24 with 2:56 left in the fourth. UNLV attempted a field goal with 48 seconds left and Nolan Kohorst missed wide right, effectively ending the game and leaving UNLV with three more chances to go to a bowl game for the first time since 2000.
The Rebels play Utah State next week.