Iowa State came alive as the third quarter began and got right back into the game.
The Cyclones put together by far their best drive of the game to get on the scoreboard midway through the quarter.
Then, UNLV finally committed its first turnover of the season, and it proved to be costly.
Ryan Wolfe caught a pass in the left flat and was hit low almost immediately. The ball came loose, and Iowa State’s Jesse Smith picked it up and ran 41 yards down the left sideline to the UNLV 10.
Iowa State took just two plays to punch the ball into the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown run by Austen Arnaud.
UNLV drove right back down the field and capped a long drive with a Frank Summers touchdown run with just eight seconds remaining in the quarter to regain control with a 28-14 lead.
It was starting to get a little too close for comfort after Iowa State looked so bad in the first half.
Howard struggles on first scoring drive
On Iowa State’s first touchdown drive, the Cyclones had success testing senior cornerback Geoffery Howard.
The cornerback committed a pass-interference penalty on third down to keep the drive alive.
Howard initially had good coverage on the play, and the pass had virtually no chance of being caught, but at the last moment, he reached out and prevented the receiver from coming back to the ball.
On the next play, Howard was badly burned down the right sideline on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Austen Arnaud to R.J. Sumrall.
The fans have been noisy on both sides in this game. Iowa State brought a lot of people with it for this trip. Most of them probably expected this to be an easy trip when they booked it months ago.
But UNLV fans have been vocal, too. Of course, with the exception of about a two-minute stretch in the third quarter, the Rebel fans have had a great deal more to cheer about.