Three officials looked at each other, as if waiting for someone to make a call.
No one did, and for the third time this football season, UNLV was on the bad end of a questionable pass interference - or, in this case, a noncall.
Perhaps the pass to wide receiver Trey Mays down the left sideline was uncatchable, but there was little disputing the impact of the noncall, which snuffed UNLV's last rally with 1:18 left and allowed Wyoming to exit Sam Boyd Stadium with a 28-23 victory Saturday.
"It's interesting how we've been victimized in some games," UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said, treading carefully so as not to draw the wrath from the Mountain West Conference's offices.
"We thought that was pass interference on our sideline," Hauck added. "But they call it like they see it. I don't agree with them all the time.
"We believe in our conference's system for evaluating the referees and the education process. So we'll send those plays in, and they will do their critique of it and put it on their teach tapes, and we'll get a response back, which is great."
UNLV is accustomed to such teachable moments, with a pass interference penalty weighing heavily in its 42-37 loss to UNR and an offensive interference call playing a substantial role in its 24-13 defeat at San Diego State.
The Rebels (2-10, 2-5 MWC) were trying to pull off a game-winning rally against Wyoming (4-7, 3-4) when this noncall occurred. They had driven from their 19-yard line to the Cowboys' 32 and faced a fourth-and-11.
Quarterback Caleb Herring scrambled to his left and fired down the sideline to Mays, who was shoved out of bounds at about the time the ball went by.
The call "could've gone either way, but at the end of the day, we didn't get it done before that," Mays said. "We left a lot of plays on the field. We didn't have to leave in the refs' hands."
He's right, the Rebels had opportunities - and might have won if Herring had secured the ball on a fake field goal in the third quarter.
Herring set up as the holder on what appeared to be a 43-yard field-goal attempt, but he took the snap and dashed toward the end zone.
Officials ruled a touchdown, bringing the Rebels to within 28-23 pending an extra point. But a video replay determined Wyoming cornerback Marqueston Huff forced Herring to fumble before he reached the goal line, and the ball went through the end zone for a Cowboys touchback.
"(Huff) never quit on it," Herring said. "I assumed I had a free run into the end zone. I relaxed at the end of the run, though."
That missed opportunity looked even bigger when Herring came back later to complete a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mays with 5:10 left. The try for two points failed, leaving the Rebels behind 28-23, forcing them to go for a touchdown rather than a field goal on their last-minute drive.
Herring made his first start of the season at quarterback, replacing Nick Sherry (back), and he completed 22 of 36 passes for a career-best 268 yards and two touchdowns.
His Wyoming counterpart, Brett Smith, completed 25 of 33 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns, but just about all of that production came in the first half. UNLV limited Smith to 6-for-9 passing for 65 yards in the second half while shutting out the Cowboys.
"Did Wyoming's offense come out in the second half?" Cowboys coach Dave Christensen asked. "I didn't see them."
UNLV cornerback Kenny Brown said the defense opened the game too energized on Senior Day before finally settling down.
"We just starting playing more confident," Brown said. "We got comfortable. We realized that a lot of things they were doing weren't out of our control. We knew we could stop what they were throwing at us."
But it was a disappointing ending for Brown and his teammates before another disappointing crowd.
An announced crowd of 10,717 showed up, the smallest at Sam Boyd since 4,472 attended the 1995 season finale against New Mexico State. UNLV averaged 15,208 fans at home games this season, its lowest figure since 10,972 in 1995.
The Rebels have one more chance to make an impression this season when they play at Hawaii on Saturday, and maybe being on an island will help UNLV get past the many disappointments this season has brought.
"Everybody's tired," Hauck said, "of us being almost good enough to win."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.