Last season, both these teams were sitting at the bottom of the MWC, written off as easy wins by the upper teams. This season, Wyoming had turned it around, beat Boise State and was sitting in control of their own destiny for the MWC Championship game. First they had to go through UNLV, a team who under Tony Sanchez, has been trying to reverse their fortunes as well.
Both these teams got their posses together, left the defense at home and let the scoring loose.
After the dust had settled, it was UNLV who was left standing, 69-66.
After being passed over early in the season for transfer Johnny Stanton, and redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Sneed, Kurt Palandech finally got his true opportunity to start the game. He did not disappoint, passing 17/29, 209 yards, 1 TD and rushing for 154 more yards, including a 76-yard touchdown run. Behind Palandech, the three UNLV running backs combined for 206 yards and 3 TDs.
For Wyoming, when Josh Allen was able to complete the ball (he was 14/31), he did so for 334 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. As much as the Rebels struggled on defense against Allen, they did manage to limit Brian Hill to 119 yards and 3 TDs.
These gaudy stats are all fine and dandy, but if you would like a sense of how crazy this game really was, let’s take a look at the fourth quarter:
Indeed it was fitting for a game like this to end in a 3OT shootout, but the UNLV defense showed up just in time to assure the Rebels the victory. Torry McTyer picked off Josh Allen (for the second time today) in the end zone as Wyoming was threatening to score. With primary kicker Evan Pantels on the sideline with an apparent injury from the third quarter on, Nicolai Bornand, the backup was clutch to seal the win for the Rebels.
With Donnel Pumphrey and San Diego State looming next week, Wyoming will need to fix their rush defense after giving up 401 yards to the Rebels. UNLV on the other hand, will have to prepare for a ranked Boise State next week.