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Rebels Outshine Rainbow Warriors In Thriller

Nov. 4, 2017

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LAS VEGAS ( - UNLV (4-5/3-3) passed for a season-high 281 yards, including a career-high 244 by senior Johnny Stanton, to hold off Hawai'i (3-6/1-5) and take home the Island Showdown Trophy presented by the California Hotel, 31-23, Saturday evening at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Rebels won back-to-back Mountain West games for the first time since 2013 and downed Hawai'i at home for the fifth consecutive time by scoring three touchdowns in a span of eight minutes in the third quarter. Hawai'i had the ball last and was throwing into the end zone as time expired to end the thriller.

Stanton completed 18 of 26 attempts, including two touchdowns, to go with 27 yards and another score on the ground. Brandon Presley led all receivers with a career-high 95 yards on four grabs, including a 52-yard touchdown. Lexington Thomas, who added a three-yard touchdown, finished with 98 yards to put him over 1,000 yards on the season. Defensively, Dalton Baker had 11 total tackles while Jericho Flowers added 10 takedowns to go with three pass breakups and a forced fumble.


Hawai'i had taken its first lead of the game, 13-7 in the third quarter, when Johnny Stanton found Brandon Presley over the middle on a third down situation. Presley broke a tackle to sprint for a 52-yard touchdown that started 21-0 run for the Rebels.


Each team successfully recovered an onside kick in the third quarter. Hawai'i did it coming out of halftime while UNLV pulled it off just after scoring a touchdown that put the Rebs up 21-13.


Johnny Stanton, who two weeks ago was playing on defense as a linebacker, started his second straight game at quarterback and earned his second straight victory. In addition to setting a career-high in yards with 244 the former Nebraska signee and JC transfer completed a career-high 18 pass attempts.


"It's been three years playing Hawaii (since I got here) and every game so far has ended like that. It always comes down to the end. They are a good football team. They are tough and physical. I think both teams were dealing with a bunch of injuries and both teams fought hard down to the end."

-UNLV Head Coach Tony Sanchez


-The home team has now won eight of the last nine games in this series

-UNLV won its third straight over the Rainbow Warriors and ninth in the last 14 outings

-Johnny Stanton made his sixth career start at quarterback for the Rebels but regular starter Armani Rogers entered the game in the team's third offensive series. Rogers missed the previous six quarters after being knocked out against Utah State. Stanton then returned to start the third quarter behind center

-Lexington Thomas' 98 net yards on 24 carries gave him the 10th 1,000-yard rushing season in UNLV history and the first since Tim Cornett went for 1,284 in 2013. With three regular-season games remaining, Thomas' total of 1,078 already ranks eighth on the program's single-season list

-UNLV either led or was tied at halftime for the fourth consecutive week

-UNLV's 281 yards passing marked the most in a game for the Rebels since Blake Decker's 357-yard day vs. Boise State Oct. 31, 2015

-UNLV has only won at least five straight games at home vs. just two other opponents: seven straight over CS Fullerton from 1977-86 and six straight over Idaho State from 1969-2015


UNLV hosts BYU for the first time since 2009 on a special Friday game in what will be the home finale for the Rebels. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be shown by ESPN2.



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