Oct. 22, 2016
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Special to UNLV Athletics
By Paul Delos Santos
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV dug itself a big hole in the first half, which it was unable to dig out of in a 42-23 loss to Colorado State on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Rams (4-4, 2-2 Mountain West) scored 35 points in the first half and held the ball for nearly 21 minutes. Colorado State converted 80 percent (8-of-10) on third down in the first half, forcing the Rebels to stay on the field longer. The UNLV offense also struggled, managing only 72 yards of offense in the first 30 minutes.
"That first half was pretty embarrassing," UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. "We definitely were not in a rhythm in the first half."
UNLV quarterback Dalton Sneed struggled throwing the ball, completing 7-of-23 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Rebels (3-5, 2-2). Sneed, however, was effective on the ground, compiling 96 yards on 15 carries.
"He made some great plays in the second half," Sanchez said. "We'll keep working with him."
After spotting the Rams a 35-0 lead, UNLV's offense came to life on the first drive of the second half.
Sneed engineered a five-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a Lexington Thomas 37-yard touchdown reception. On the ensuing Colorado State drive, Darius Mouton forced a fumble, which UNLV recovered. The turnover led to an Evan Pantels 27-yard field goal to cut the Rams lead to 25.
The next three possessions resulted in punts, but the Rebels closed the gap to 18 after David Greene finished a 12-play, 88-yard drive.
UNLV added its final score of the game after Sneed found Mekhi Stevenson for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Devonte Boyd caught three passes for 62 yards, while Charles Williams rushed for 41 yards.
Troy Hawthorne led the way with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Tau Lotulelei registered 11 tackles (seven solo), while Kenny Keys made 10 tackles with a pair of pass breakups.
UNLV returns to the field next Saturday when the Rebels travel to San Jose State. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST.
UNLV legend and Hall of Famer Randall Cunningham honored
In between the first and second quarter, UNLV honored former quarterback/punter Randall Cunningham, who will be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in December. Cunningham will become the first UNLV player inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining former UNLV coach John Robinson as inductees.
The celebration was part of National Football Foundation's On-Campus Salute series, where each inductee accepts a Hall of Fame plaque that is displayed on campus. Cunningham accepted his plaque, which will be proudly displayed on UNLV's campus.