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Rebels can’t overcome miscues, fall to Louisiana Tech

RUSTON, La. – This was different from Utah State.

UNLV had an opportunity to win that game a week ago but failed to capitalize at key times.

The Rebels, 27½-point underdogs on Saturday, didn’t have as realistic a chance at Louisiana Tech, but they played well enough to make the football game competitive.

Like the loss at Utah State, however, they gave away too many opportunities – a stumble and fall on a kickoff return headed to the end zone, a fumble in Bulldogs territory, a blocked punt, a failed fourth-and-1 and a dropped pass that should’ve been a touchdown – that resulted in a 58-31 loss.

"We had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on that we need to win down here," Rebels coach Bobby Hauck said. "Against a team like that, we’ve got to make those breaks and take advantage of them, and we didn’t. They got away from us."

The defeat forced UNLV (1-5) to leave Joe Aillet Stadium with its 18th road loss in a row. The Rebels return to Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday to play UNR.

Kenneth Dixon rushed 102 yards and four touchdowns to help Louisiana Tech (5-0) score more than 50 points for the fourth time this season.

The Bulldogs ran off 31 points in a row in the second half to take control, the third game in a row the Bulldogs put together that kind of run.

Louisiana Tech amassed 622 yards on 97 plays. Colby Cameron passed for 316 yards and a touchdown, Quinton Patton caught nine passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, and Ray Holley rushed for 139 yards and a score.

"They’re very, very high-tempo," said UNLV defensive end Parker Holloway, who batted three passes. "They get the ball quick, and they go at you. It was very hard to deal with."

UNLV’s offense didn’t exactly sit still, totaling 536 yards.

Devante Davis caught eight passes for 186 yards and a touchdown, including seven for 180 in the first half.

"They gave us one on one with Devante, so we took advantage of it before they took it away," UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry said.

Sherry passed for a personal bests of 378 yards and four touchdowns.

Tim Cornett gained 111 yards on 23 carries, his fourth 100-yard game this season.

"Offensively, Coach (Brent) Myers did a great job with the game plan," Davis said of UNLV’s offensive coordinator. "I felt like we needed to make some more plays for him. The game would’ve been a lot closer."

UNLV threatened to make it a game, scoring 17 consecutive points to close to within 27-24 early in the third quarter on Sherry’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Sullivan.

But Sullivan’s drop late in the third quarter underscored the night for the Rebels. He was all by himself on a deep route but let a sure touchdown pass slip through his hands.

Sullivan, who caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, earlier had the chance for a kickoff return for a touchdown but stumbled untouched at midfield.

"He had a good night in some ways, and he had some missed opportunities," Hauck said. "Those are things that get us over the top in this one, and we didn’t make the plays.

"I think he gets excited when he has all the grass in front of him."

Sullivan’s slip proved even more costly when tight end Jake Phillips lost a fumble two plays later – the Rebels’ first of the season. That turnover led to a Bulldogs touchdown.

The Rebels’ most extraordinary sequence took place with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Chase Lansford had one punt blocked, but the play was ruled dead because of a whistle in the stands. Then Lansford’s second punt was blocked as well, setting up a Louisiana Tech touchdown.

The Rebels missed a chance to score early in the second quarter, with fourth-and-1 at the Bulldogs’ 2-yard line. Bradley Randle rushed up the middle and appeared to pick up the first down, but the officials gave the Rebels a questionable spot – and Louisiana Tech the ball.

"You guys (media) had a better look at that than I did," Hauck said. "Upstairs, we thought we got it."

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

HOW THEY SCORED

Louisiana Tech – 58
UNLV – 31

UNLV 7 10 7 7 — 31
La. Tech 20 7 17 14 — 58

FIRST QUARTER

Louisiana Tech 3, UNLV 0, 12:35 — FG Matt Nelson 27. Drive: 10 plays, 64 yards, 2:25. Key play: Colby Cameron completes a 20-yard pass to Ray Holley to the Rebels’ 33-yard line.

UNLV 7, Louisiana Tech 3, 9:42 — Taylor Barnhill 33 pass from Nick Sherry (Nolan Kohorst kick). Drive: 9 plays, 82 yards, 2:53. Key play: Tim Cornett rushes 20 yards to the Bulldogs’ 33 to convert a third-and-3.

UNLV 7, Louisiana Tech 6, 6:07 — FG Nelson 33. Drive: 13 plays, 58 yards, 3:35. Key play: Cameron completes a touchdown pass to Quinton Patton, who pushes off and is called for offensive pass interference, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.

Louisiana Tech 13, UNLV 7, 2:48 — Quinton Patton 6 pass from Cameron (Nelson kick). Drive: 10 plays, 62 yards, 2:28. Key play: Javontay Crowe forces a fumble from UNLV tight end Jake Phillips, and Andre Taylor recovers at the Rebels’ 38.

Louisiana Tech 20, UNLV 7, 1:40 — Holley 9 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 1 play, 9 yards, 0:05. Key play: Louisiana Tech’s Malon Lee blocks Chase Lansford’s punt to give the Bulldogs possession at UNLV’s 9.

SECOND QUARTER

Louisiana Tech 27, UNLV 7, 8:25 — Kenneth Dixon 1 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 10 plays, 98 yards, 2:57. Key play: Cameron completes a 55-yard pass to Patton to the 43.

Louisiana Tech 27, UNLV 14, 5:22 — Devante Davis 27 pass from Sherry (Kohorst kick). Drive: 7 plays, 88 yards, 2:53. Key play: Davis makes a sensational 22-yard catch down left sideline while falling backward to move the ball to the Rebels’ 40.

Louisiana Tech 27, UNLV 17, 0:44 — FG Kohorst 25. Drive: 10 plays, 72 yards, 0:44. Key play: Sherry completes a 67-yard pass to Davis to convert a third-and-16.

THIRD QUARTER

Louisiana Tech 27, UNLV 24, 12:25 — Marcus Sullivan 46 pass from Sherry (Kohorst kick). Drive: 6 plays, 67 yards, 2:35. Key play: Sherry completes a 14-yard pass to Sullivan to convert a third-and-3 to the Bulldogs’ 46.

Louisiana Tech 34, UNLV 24, 10:42 — Dixon 10 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards, 1:43. Key play: Cameron completes a 23-yard pass to Jacarri Jackson to the Rebels’ 10.

Louisiana Tech 37, UNLV 24, 7:30 — FG Nelson 43. Drive: 7 plays, 29 yards, 1:02. Key play: UNLV fakes a punt, but Lansford is stopped short of the first down at Louisiana Tech’s 45.

Louisiana Tech 44, UNLV 24, 4:39 — Dixon 15 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 6 plays, 60 yards, 1:16. Key play: Cameron completes a 19-yard pass to David Gru to UNLV’s 41.

FOURTH QUARTER

Louisiana Tech 51, UNLV 24, 12:07 — Dixon 7 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 7 plays, 49 yards, 1:39. Key play: Jamel Johnson intercepts Sherry to give Louisiana Tech possession at UNLV’s 49.

Louisiana Tech 58, UNLV 24, 2:42 — Hunter Lee 17 run (Nelson kick). Drive: 8 plays, 55 yards, 4:27. Key plays: Lee rushes every play.

Louisiana Tech 58, UNLV 31, 1:33 — Anthony Williams 13 pass from Sherry (Kohorst kick). Drive: 6 plays, 59 yards, 1:09. Key play: Sherry completes a 22-yard pass to Trey Mays to the Bulldogs’ 13.

A — 21,850.

TEAM STATISTICS

UNLV, LaT
First downs – 23, 35
Rushes-yards – 39-158, 51-306
Passing – 378, 316
Comp-Att-Int – 22-46-1, 31-46-0
Return Yards – 0, 32
Punts-Avg. – 3-26.0, 3-45.3
Fumbles-Lost – 2-1, 2-0
Penalties-Yards – 3-35, 5-72
Time of Possession – 30:50, 29:10

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — UNLV, Cornett 23-111, Randle 12-28, Sullivan 1-11, Lansford 1-8, Sherry 2-0. Louisiana Tech, Holley 22-139, Dixon 16-102, H.Lee 8-55, B.Davis 3-11, Cameron 2-(minus 1).

PASSING — UNLV, Sherry 22-46-1-378. Louisiana Tech, Cameron 31-45-0-316, Griffith 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING — UNLV, D.Davis 8-186, Sullivan 6-90, A.Williams 2-30, Barnhill 1-33, Mays 1-22, Cornett 1-9, Phillips 1-7, Randle 1-2, Er.Johnson 1-(minus 1). Louisiana Tech, Patton 9-116, Holley 4-37, H.Lee 4-34, D.Banks 3-26, M.White 3-14, Gru 2-33, Stuart 2-14, J.Greenwalt 2-9, Jackson 1-23, Dixon 1-10.

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