Rebels Victorious In Wild, Record-Breaking Affair|
Nov. 12, 2016
Special to UNLV Athletics
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Junior quarterback Kurt Palandech rushed for 157 yards and threw for a career-high 252 yards to lead UNLV to a thrilling 69-66 triple-overtime victory over Wyoming on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The game marked the highest combined scoring game (135 points) in UNLV and Mountain West history, and is the highest scoring game of the 2016 season. It is also the second highest scoring game in NCAA history.
"It was an emotional roller coaster," UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. "It's one of those deals where you try and make one more play than they do."
The Rebels (4-6, 3-3 Mountain West) rushed for 401 yards, led by Palandech's performance. Sophomore running back Xzavier Campbell ran for 83 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown. David Greene also posted a strong day, rushing for a career-high 70 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.
"We felt like to give (Palandech) an opportunity (to succeed) we were going to have to run the football," Sanchez said. "That's a huge deal to be able to run for 401 yards against a team like that. Today, it was a big day."
Devonte Boyd posted his 11th career 100-yard receiving game, grabbing 10 passes for 127 yards. Boyd only needs one more 100-yard game to tie the school record, which is held by Ryan Wolfe. Jericho Flowers also had a good day, catching three passes for 65 yards with a touchdown. Flowers also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter.
UNLV took an early lead in the first quarter, following an Evan Pantels 30-yard field goal. Wyoming (7-3, 5-1) answered on the ensuing drive, tying the game (3-3). The Rebels recaptured the lead after Flowers scampered 34 yards to score.
The Cowboys tied the game again early in the second quarter, before taking advantage of a UNLV fumble to take a 17-10 lead.
After the two teams traded punts, UNLV marched 71 yards on seven plays to tie the game at 17, following a Greene 27-yard touchdown run.
Then, Salah Boyce forced a fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, which Bailey Laolagi recovered. The Rebels needed only one play to extend their lead, as Palendech found Campbell for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
The Cowboys cut into the lead following a 48-yard touchdown pass, but the Rebels responded traveling 54 yards on eight plays to enter the half up 30-24.
UNLV pushed its lead to 37-24 after a Campbell one-yard touchdown run. Wyoming answered after Brian Hill ran 15 yards for a score, but UNLV punched right back with a Green one-yard touchdown run.
Wyoming continued the fireworks after Tanner Gentry caught a 45-yard pass from Josh Allen, and eventually took a one-point lead when Austin Conway returned a punt 60 yards for a score (45-44).
UNLV, however, responded when Palandech ran 76 yards and converted the ensuing two-point conversion to take a 52-45 lead.
Wyoming pushed the game into overtime after marching 97 yards to tie the game at 52.
In the first overtime, Wyoming scored first, but UNLV responded when Palandech found Flowers for his second touchdown pass of the game. Palandech threw for another touchdown in the second overtime, this time to Andrew Price to take a 66-59 lead. The Cowboys answered on their offensive possession, forcing the game into a third overtime.
"That was absolutely exhausting," Sanchez said.
UNLV returns to the field Friday for a meeting with Boise State in Boise, Idaho. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.