Utah State Slips By UNLV|
Nov. 09, 2013
By Jesse Granger
Special To UNLVRebels.com
LAS VEGAS - UNLV missed out on its second straight opportunity to become bowl eligible with a 28-24 loss to Utah State Saturday night.
The Rebels drove the field in 16 plays in a last-ditch effort for a comeback, and got as close as the Utah State 16-yard line, but fell short when quarterback Caleb Herring's final four pass attempts fell incomplete.
“We knew that there would be a substantial number of those shots that we would take in the game into man coverage,” coach Bobby Hauck said. “We need to take those shots, it’s man coverage they’re going to be on them, and we needed to make plays.”
The final two chances for the Rebels were back corner fades to Devante Davis, who finished the game with three catches for 84 yards, but the passes sailed out of the end zone.
“We like our guys in those matchups down the field,” said Hauck. “We had our chances and we just weren’t able to get it.”
Herring completed 17-of-39 pass attempts for 252 yards while throwing two touchdowns and one interception. His completion percentage of 44 percent was a season low.
Bruce Natson's eventual game winning touchdown came with 3:56 left in the game, and capped an 11-play, 82-yard drive to give Utah State the lead 28-24.
The 12-yard score came from the wildcat formation, which the Aggies ran extensively Saturday night. Natson finished with 71 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns.
With the win, the Aggies became bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.
Utah State (6-4, 5-1 Mountain West), which won the Western Athletic Conference last season, has now won 10 straight league road games. The Aggies conclude their season with two home games, against Colorado State and Wyoming.
Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson, who made his third career start, led Utah State's offensive attack, completing 16-of-28 pass attempts for 288 yards and one touchdown strike while registering a 155.3 quarterback rating.
UNLV sacked Garretson four times, a season high for the Rebels and the most for the team since Sept. 8, 2012 against NAU.
Running back Tim Cornett ran for 115 yards on 29 attempts and one touchdown. Cornett, who moved up to No. 2 in UNLV's all-time all-purpose yardage list, became only the second running back to rush for 100 yards against the Aggies' 19th-ranked rushing defense this season.
Cornett reached the century mark for the 15th time in his career, putting him only two behind UNLV’s all-time leader, Mike Thomas.
The Rebels (5-5, 3-3) suffered their second consecutive home loss, and remain one win shy of becoming bowl eligible. The last time UNLV appeared in a bowl game was in 2000. The Rebels have a bye next week before their final two chances at bowl eligibility at Air Force on Nov. 21, and senior night against San Diego State on Nov. 30.