|Date of game: 10/10/2014
Recap: UNLV vs. Fresno State
Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Nicolai Bornand knocked through a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the UNLV Rebels a monumental 30-27 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs in Mountain West Conference action at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Rebels (2-5, 1-2 MWC) managed to snap a four-game slide, picking up their first win of 2014 versus an FBS opponent, as Blake Decker converted 29-of-40 passing for 332 yards and a score, shaking off one interception and five sacks along the way. Decker also scored once on the ground for UNLV as the team produced 146 yards on 46 running plays.
The Bulldogs (3-4, 2-1) were paced by Brian Burrell and his 302 yards and three TDs as he converted 25-of-44, but was also picked off twice as the visitors had a three-game win streak snapped. Josh Harper had a huge game receiving with 12 catches for 179 yards, both game highs, and a score.
The first half belonged to the Rebels as kicker Jonathan Leiva began the night's scoring with a 33-yard field goal at the 10:49 mark of the opening quarter. Just a minute into the second frame, Shaquille Murray-Lawrence capped a six-play, 78-yard drive with a three-yard TD run. A mere two minutes later, Decker hooked up with Kendal Keys for a five-yard touchdown as well, giving the hosts a commanding 17-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs found themselves scoreless at the break for the first time in four years. Fresno State entered the meeting having been outscored 118-64 in the first half so far this season.
The visitors were not scoreless for long however, as Burrell found a wide open Chad Olsen at the three-yard line and from there the receiver backed his way into the end zone. With the PAT, the FSU deficit was cut to 10 just 75 seconds into the second half.
Fresno State narrowed the gap to only three points late in the third when Burrell hooked up with Harper on a 27-yard TD pass play, finishing off an 11-play, 63-yard drive.
The Bulldogs had very little time to feel good about themselves as Decker completed a pair of passes and ran for 11 yards at one point in order to get UNLV down to the three-yard line with the quarter winding down. From there, the quarterback did the honors himself as he slipped into the end zone to push the Rebels lead back to double digits at 24-14.
Once again the Bulldogs were quick to respond, needing only five plays to account for 75 yards, with Burrell finding Olsen all alone in the left side of the end zone. With the PAT, the difference was again just three points barely a minute into the fourth.
Faced with a fourth and inches at the 13-yard line, the Bulldogs turned to Marteze Waller who took a Burrell handoff and stumbled not only for the first down, but the touchdown that put the visitors in front for the first time. Unfortunately, kicker Kody Kroening failed on the extra point, a miss that eventually proved crucial, which meant FSU held only a three-point lead with 7:21 to play in regulation.
On the ensuing possession the Rebels also had a fourth and short and managed to convert, but instead of getting into the end zone, Bornand was brought on to convert a 46-yard field goal to tie the score at 27-27 with 3:37 remaining.
With five seconds left in regulation, the Rebels moved the ball all the way down inside the 10-yard line, but Leiva ended up missing the chip shot from 27 yards away, sending the meeting into overtime.
Fresno State took the first possession of the bonus session and was forced into yet another fourth down. The Bulldogs chose not to attempt a field goal and instead Burrell just missed a lunging Waller at the goal line.
The Rebels were also prevented from gaining a first down in the extra period and that brought on Bornand, who specializes in longer kicks, but this time he made good on a 33-yard effort to bring home the victory.
FSU, which finished a mere 2-of-14 on third down, entered the meeting with a 12-4 advantage in the all-time series, winning five of the seven matchups played in Sin City and showing an unblemished 10-0 mark in the series dating back to 1984.Game Notes