2:00 PM ET, October 25, 2008
LaVell Edwards Stadium, PROVO, UT
PROVO, Utah -- No. 21 BYU was in danger of going from the nation's longest winning streak to a losing streak in barely a week.
The Cougars rallied for a late touchdown and 2-point conversion, then intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired in a 42-35 win over UNLV on Saturday.
"Obviously your nerves get a little bit going when you have situations like that," said Austin Collie, who had his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game for BYU. "But the defense pulled through and did exactly what they needed to do and we got the win."
• Max Hall's fourth TD pass of the game with 1:46 remaining was the game-winner for the Cougars, extending their home winning streak to 17 games and home conference win streak to 11 games.
• The 17-game streak is tied with Boise State for second-longest active home win streak in the FBS and also ties the school record set from 1989-92.
• BYU's Austin Collie had his sixth straight game with at least 100 yards receiving, breaking the MWC record for most consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards (previously set by J.R. Tolver of San Diego State in 2002).
• UNLV has lost four straight games. In the last three losses they have held the lead with less than three minutes remaining. The Rebels also extended their road conference losing streak to 18 games.
-- ESPN research
BYU came close to back-to-back losses by allowing the Rebels to match them nearly score-for-score until the end.
Max Hall threw for four touchdowns and led the Cougars (7-1, 3-1 Mountain West) on a 74-yard drive to win it after UNLV had gone up 35-34. Hall threw a 6-yard touchdown to Dennis Pitta and then the 2-point conversion to Harvey Unga to put BYU up 42-35 with 1:46 left to play.
UNLV (3-5, 0-4), which gained 463 yards and converted 11 of 15 times on third down, wasn't done. The Rebels drove to the BYU 14, but a sack pushed them back to the 25 and Omar Clayton's pass to the end zone on the final play was intercepted by Andrew Rich.
"Even though it took quite a while, eventually it did hold," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said of the Cougars' defense.
The Rebels, who fell to 3-13 against BYU, never let the Cougars get ahead by more than a touchdown.
"There were times when we had it and they turned around and came right back. They're a very resilient team," BYU linebacker David Nixon said.
Collie had seven catches for 113 yards and set up BYU's first touchdown with a 75-yard return on the opening kickoff. The Cougars set up another score by forcing UNLV to punt from its end zone and partially blocking it.
Casey Flair, who needed three catches to tie the UNLV career record of 187 receptions, caught eight passes for 92 yards and Ryan Wolf had 10 catches for 136 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown from Clayton that gave the Rebels their first lead of the game with 6:49 left.
The Rebels answered nearly every score by BYU until the very end.
"We've just got to do a little bit more," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "I thought it was a very physical game and I thought we bounced back from a lot of very, very tough hits and came back and played."
The Cougars had the nation's longest winning streak until last week's visit to TCU. By rallying Saturday, they avoided a losing streak and won for the 17th straight time at home.
Clayton was 26-for-40 for 321 yards and a touchdown. He was knocked woozy in the first half and backup Mike Clausen had two touchdown runs for the Rebels. UNLV's Frank Summers also ran for two touchdowns as UNLV outgained BYU 463-454.
The Rebels survived a failed fake punt from their own 34, holding to BYU to just a 39-yard field goal by Max Payne to put BYU up 34-28 with 8:36 left to play.
BYU's kickoff went out of bounds for the second time in the game and the Rebels got it at the 40. On first down, Clayton found Phillip Payne for a 22-yard pass and Payne held on despite getting sandwiched between BYU's Scott Johnson and David Tafuna.
Payne stayed down for several minutes and Sanford fumed at the officials, wanting a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit. The call never came, but the Rebels scored five plays later and led by a point.
UNLV was coming off a one-point loss to Air Force and has lost four straight.
"We just didn't make enough plays," Sanford said. "Unfortunately, that's been a recurring theme."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Andrew Ridge intercepted Omar Clayton's pass in the end zone on the final play to seal BYU's 17th straight home win.
Gameball goes to... Max Hall. BYU's quarterback passed for 247 yards and four touchdowns for the Cougars.
Stat of the game... 6. BYU's Austin Collie recorded his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||11-15||7-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||0-0|
|TD||12:25||Andrew George 8 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||7|
|TD||06:33||Frank Summers 6 Yd Run (Kyle Watson Kick)||7||7|
|TD||01:34||O'Neill Chambers 20 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||7||14|
|TD||13:18||Mike Clausen 1 Yd Run (Kyle Watson Kick)||14||14|
|TD||07:18||Harvey Unga 2 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick)||14||21|
|TD||04:51||Frank Summers 1 Yd Run (Kyle Watson Kick)||21||21|
|TD||07:52||Fui Vakapuna 1 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||21||28|
|TD||02:46||Mike Clausen 2 Yd Run (Kyle Watson Kick)||28||28|
|FG||14:11||Mitch Payne 26 Yd||28||31|
|FG||08:36||Mitch Payne 39 Yd||28||34|
|TD||06:49||Ryan Wolfe 15 Yd Pass From Omar Clayton (Kyle Watson Kick)||35||34|
|TD||01:46||Dennis Pitta 6 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Max Hall Pass To Harvey Unga For Two-Point Conversion)||35||42|