AMES, Iowa (AP) -- UNLV couldn't believe how it lost to Iowa
State -- and coach Mike Sanford put the blame squarely on the
officials for not reviewing the final play of the game.
UNLV players, angry that officials ruled Shane Steichen's pass
into the end zone on the final play incomplete, refused to leave
the field for about 15 minutes following Iowa State's 16-10 victory
The Rebels congregated at midfield, yelling at officials and
shaking their helmets before coaches were finally able to convince
them to head to the locker room.
After the game, review official Tom Ahlers said that he "deemed
it a reviewable play, reviewed it, and did not overrule the play."
Problem was, nobody told Sanford.
"I really don't believe we lost, because the play wasn't
reviewed," said Sanford. "It was too controversial to not review
The bizarre sequence of events began on the game's
second-to-last play, when UNLV's Casey Flair dropped the ball on
the Iowa State 11 following a catch. The Cyclones (2-0) asked for a
replay to determine whether Flair had even made a reception, but
the play was ruled a catch and the Rebels (1-1) had one last shot
with 7 seconds left.
Steichen threw the ball into a gaggle of players at the back of
the end zone. The players from Iowa State acted as if the game was
over, but UNLV's Aaron Straiten then came out of the end zone
holding the ball.
Officials ruled that the pass was incomplete, setting off the
protests from UNLV. Iowa State players involved in the final play
said they saw Straiten grab the ball out of bounds.
They also saw UNLV's actions following the game, and weren't too
happy about it.
"I was right there. He was out of bounds," linebacker Tyrone
McKenzie. "They disrespected us by doing that. But if that's what
they want to do, and that's how they take a loss, let it be."
Stevie Hicks rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown for Iowa
State, which nearly blew a 13-point lead as its offense failed to
put an opponent away for a second straight week.
The Cyclones led Toledo by as much 20-8 in the opener, but
needed triple overtime to escape with the win. Against UNLV, Iowa
State's offense -- which returned 10 starters from a year ago --
could only muster a field goal in the second half.
"I'm real disappointed we only put up three points in the
second half...I can't even put into words how disappointed I am,"
Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "We need to get a lot better
Down by six midway through the fourth quarter, UNLV kept a drive
alive by converting a fourth-and-1 on its own 29 and a
fourth-and-seven to the Iowa State 14 with 1:28 left.
UNLV pulled within 16-10 on a 3-yard TD pass by Steichen early
in the fourth quarter, one possession after freshman kicker Ben
Jaekle missed a 23-yard field-goal try.
Iowa State took a 13-3 halftime lead after scoring touchdowns on
back-to-back possessions to close out the half.
Down 3-0 midway through the second quarter, Iowa State moved
into Rebels territory on a 29-yard pass from Bret Meyer to Walter
Nickel, and Hicks capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run.
Meyer opened the Cyclones' next possession with a 44-yard
completion to Jon Davis, and Ryan Koch ran in from a yard out to
give Iowa State a 13-3 lead. The Cyclones missed the PAT on a
Rebels starting quarterback Rocky Hinds, a touted USC transfer
who threw for 322 yards in his first collegiate start last week,
injured his right knee early in the second quarter and did not
return. UNLV officials said Hinds will have an MRI when the team
gets back to Las Vegas.
Steichen finished 19-of-27 for 180 yards. Meyer threw for 203
yards to lead the Cyclones.