ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — UNLV put together perhaps its most impressive drive of the football season to take the lead for good tonight, and the Rebels went on to beat New Mexico 56-42 at University Stadium.
The victory ended a 23-game road losing streak for the Rebels (3-2), who also have a winning record for the first time since 2009. They also have won three in a row for the first time since 2003.
Players doused coach Bobby Hauck with water as the clock was winding down.
UNLV takes next week off before returning home to play Hawaii on Oct. 12.
The Rebels have now beaten New Mexico (1-3) five of the past six meetings.
UNLV went ahead for good after a 15-play, 80-yard drive that took 6:49 off the clock. The Rebels capped it on Caleb Herring’s 7-yard touchddown pass to Devante Davis with 4:46 left for a 49-42 lead. Tim Cornett gave the Rebels a two-touchdown advantage with a 75-yard scoring run with 3:03 remaining.
Both offenses were strong, with UNLV finishing with 568 yards and New Mexico with 581.
Herring completed 24 of 34 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Cornett rushed for 179 yards and thre TDs on 25 carries. Davis caught 10 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Three New Mexico players broke 100 yars rushing.
The offenses cooled, with each team scoring a touchdown, giving UNLV and New Mexico at 42-42 tie entering the fourth quarter.
UNLV took its first lead of the game on Caleb Herring’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Devante Davis on the Rebels’ first drive of the second half.
New Mexico tied the game on Cole Gautsche’s 43-yard scoring pass to a wide-open to Carlos Wiggins with 2:27 left.
Defense was seemingly nowhere to be found, with UNLV and New Mexico going back and forth and taking a 35-35 tie into halftime.
The Rebels stayed in the game despite giving up 400 yards rushing, including 147 to Kasey Carrier. Cole Gautsche and Carlos Wiggins each rushed for 84 yards.
UNLV gained 308 yards. Caleb Herring completed 10 of 14 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Tim Cornett rushed for two touchdowns, gaining 52 yards on nine attempts.
New Mexico rushed for 222 yards, taking a 21-14 lead over UNLV after the first quarter.
The Lobos scored the first two touchdowns on runs of 22 and 62 yards before UNLV stormed back to score twice within two minutes.
Wide receiver Marcus Sullivan rushed for a 69-yard touchdown, and Tim Cornett ran it in from 4 yards.
But the Lobos went ahead on wide receiver Carlos Wiggins’ 10-yard run.
UNLV plays its game of the year up to this point when the Rebels meet New Mexico at 5 p.m. PDT at University Stadium in the Mountain West opener for both football teams.
The Rebels (2-2) come off back-to-back victories for the first time in fourth-year coach Bobby Hauck’s tenure. A third victory in a row would be the first since 2003.
But the Rebels also carry a 23-game road losing streak into this game against the Lobos (1-2).
If UNLV wins, that will help continue build momentum and could make the second half of the season meaningful. A loss, however, and the Rebels could begin yet another slide.
They will get wide receiver and return specialist Marcus Sullivan, who was on the field and dressed about an hour before kickoff. He has not played this season because of personal reasons.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.