LOGAN, Utah - Trailing by seven entering the fourth quarter, UNLV was right there with a chance to upset Utah State and end its long, dreadful road losing streak.
But the truth was the Rebels already had their chance - and they blew it.
UNLV twice drove inside Utah State's 10-yard line in the third quarter, only to settle for field goals.
The Aggies didn't waste their chances, using two long screen passes in the fourth to score two touchdowns and hand the Rebels a 35-13 defeat at Romney Stadium.
"We got to the red zone a lot," said UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry, who was 18 of 39 passing for 188 yards and a touchdown. "We just didn't finish.
"I think it could've been a little bit closer, but we left a lot of points out there."
This was the 17th road loss in a row for UNLV (1-4), which figures to be a substantial underdog at Louisiana Tech next Saturday.
Utah State (4-1) continued its best start since 1978, and a Las Vegan is a key to their success. Running back Kerwynn Williams, a Valley High School graduate, caught seven passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. It was the highest reception yardage total for a nonreceiver at Utah State since 1959.
Williams also rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries, playing an integral role against his hometown school, the same one that didn't offer him a scholarship. His position coach, Mike Sanford, was UNLV's head coach at the time Williams was coming out of Valley.
"I don't think my effort was anything special at all," Williams said. "I just came out with a strong intensity and tried to play as strong as I had any other game."
Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton actually had the best night, completing 20 of 33 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns. His big plays turned back any UNLV momentum and later sealed the victory.
Keeton completed touchdown passes of 50 and 74 yards, the latter on a screen to Williams that turned a 20-13 lead into a two-touchdown advantage 16 seconds into the fourth quarter. Keeton also tossed a 65-yard screen pass to Joe Hill that set up the Aggies' final touchdown.
Utah State finished with 564 yards.
"It's not really that we don't know what we're doing out there," UNLV linebacker Tim Hasson said. "We feel like we're in the spots. We feel like we've got to finish. We're close. Nothing against them, but we expect our defense to make plays. We feel like our defense is one of our strong points on our team, and we feel like we let our team down tonight.
"You look at the score and think they ran through us, but it comes down to certain plays, and certain plays we don't expect them to get."
But UNLV's offense was far from blameless.
The Rebels moved the ball, totaling 305 yards, but set the tone when their first drive ended at Utah State's 37-yard line.
Trailing 17-7, UNLV had the chance to get within a possession late in the first half, but a personal foul turned third-and-3 at Utah State's 20 into third-and-15. Sherry was intercepted on the next play.
The true missed opportunities occurred in the third quarter when UNLV twice advanced inside the 10.
On the first one, the Rebels squandered first-and-goal at the 6. They had fourth-and-2 at the 4 on their next scoring chance, and Sherry appeared to sneak into the end zone before fumbling. But it didn't matter because the Rebels were called for a false start.
Nolan Kohorst made short field goals to end both drives to bring UNLV to within 20-13 entering the fourth quarter.
But the Rebels could have been ahead 21-20, and then perhaps it's a different game. Utah State, instead, capitalized when Williams took the screen pass 74 yards - ending the Rebels' last legitimate chance.
"The big play hurt us," coach Bobby Hauck said. "The explosive play - we didn't have enough, and they had too many."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.