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Veterans Day carries extra meaning for UNLV’s Tony Sanchez

Updated November 10, 2017 - 9:46 pm

Veterans Day is personal for UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez, whose brother Joey is serving his third tour in Iraq.

“I’m so proud of him,” Sanchez said in a spot videotaped by the Mountain West. “He believes in what he does, just like the other servicemen and women. We’re so thankful for the blanket of freedom they provide for us every single day. I coach this great game of college football. I get to recruit all these young men. And often times we don’t even think about the freedoms we have every single day, so I want to thank all of our servicemen and women for the sacrifices they make.”

Veterans Day is Saturday. Clark County schools were off Friday.

The Rebels played Brigham Young on Friday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Breaking 1,000 grand for Thomas

Lexington Thomas entered Friday’s game with 1,063 yards rushing, the first UNLV running back to hit 1,000 since Tim Cornett in 2013 when he helped lead the Rebels to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Cornett rushed for 1,284 yards that season, the second consecutive year he broke 1,000 and a figure that ranks fourth in school history. It’s also a number Thomas can reach, and he might make a run for the third-place total of 1,408 yards by Mike Thomas in 1974. The top two seasons in Rebels history are Mike Thomas’ 1,741 yards in 1973 and Ickey Woods’ 1,658 in 1987.

Lexington Thomas had 2,212 career yards before facing BYU, which put him sixth. The next closest is Michael Morton’s 2,536 yards from 1978 to 1981.

Untimely timeout for the Rebels

UNLV looked as if it had pulled off a big defensive play to force BYU to kick a short field goal late in the first half. But the Rebels had called timeout before the play, so it didn’t count.

Cougars freshman quarterback Joe Critchlow then hit wide receiver Aleva Hifo in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead with 27 seconds left. It was a sensational catch by Hifo, who just got his right foot inbounds.

The start was the first for Critchlow. Beau Hoge was expected to start, but a series of injuries kept him off the field. BYU’s regular starter, Tanner Mangum, is out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury.

Not so independent BYU

BYU is nearing the finish of its seventh season as an independent, but it’s almost as if the Cougars never left the Mountain West. UNLV was their fifth MW opponent of the season, and the Cougars finish at Hawaii on Nov. 25. BYU was 1-3 against MW teams before Friday.

It was the last of three Friday night games for the Cougars. They lost their two previous Friday games to Utah State (40-24) and Boise State (24-7).

This was the first of two Friday games for the Rebels. They play next Friday at New Mexico.

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

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