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Rebels polish off Rams, 35-16, keep slim bowl hopes alive

Consistent Clayton, big defensive plays earn Rebels second MWC win

Colorado State vs UNLV

UNLV beats Colorado State 35-16 in Las Vegas Saturday night for the Rebels' first home win over the Rams in school history, keeping their bowl hopes alive.

Game Preview: Colorado State vs UNLV

With Colorado State coming to town, Rebels discuss bowl eligibility, Rodelin Anthony's health and Mojave-product Rashaun Greer.

Sanfordology: 7-on-7

UNLV head coach Mike Sanford breaks down the Rebels' 7-on-7 drill.

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Final, UNLV wins 35-16

Omar Clayton was a consistent 10-of-17 for 147 yards and two total TDs, the UNLV defense came up with a big play here and there and the 4-6 Rebels can hold on for another week to their slim bowl hopes following a 35-16 victory over Colorado State on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

With a slow, sluggish game showing a tied score at 7-7 late in the first half, UNLV imposed its will in a 55-second drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Clayton to senior Jerriman Robinson. That broke the score open, and UNLV would lead the rest of the way.

Mike Clausen ran in a pair of five-yard TDs in the second half, and Channing Trotter's 6-yard TD plunge in the closing minutes shut the door on CSU's hopes of attaining bowl eligibility, and gave UNLV another meaningful week of football.

The Rebels travel to face Air Force next weekend in Colorado Springs. The Falcons improved to 6-4 earlier in the afternoon with a sound 35-7 beating of Army.

If UNLV can somehow get past Air Force, the Rebels will face another do-or-die scenario against San Diego State two weeks later back at Sam Boyd Stadium.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats, photos, video and The Rebel Room Postgame podcast, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

11:10, fourth quarter, UNLV leads 28-10

UNLV came into today's game with only two interceptions to its credit on defense. That ranked 120th in the FBS. Yes, dead last.

Now, with Marquel Martin's early fourth quarter pick. They're tied with several others for last. But still, it was important, as it led to Mike Clausen's second five-yard TD run of the game, which puts this one practically out of reach. UNLV leads Colorado State with 11:10 to go, 28-10.

The key play on the drive was a beautiful 28-yard strike from Omar Clayton to Jerriman Robinson down the left sideline, setting the Rebels up in the red zone. Everyone knew what was coming a snap later, when Clausen came in for the consistent Clayton. But CSU couldn't do anything to stop it.

UNLV appears headed to a 4-6 mark, and its slim postseason hopes live to last another week.

End of third quarter, UNLV leads 21-10

UNLV's offense hasn't had much time with the ball, and it's starting to look like Colorado State planned it that way.

The Rams continue to chug down the field aided by powerful runs and porous Rebels run defense, but in the third quarter only came away with three points following two lengthy drives and will need much more than that to avoid elimination from bowl contention.

UNLV leads 21-10 after three quarters, but has only had the ball for a little over 15 minutes.

CSU kicker Ben DeLine missed a short field goal attempt earlier in the drive after a Quinton Pointer tackle for loss stuffed the Rams in the Rebels' red zone. He atoned for it with a 29-yard boot to finish off the quarter.

UNLV appears headed to a 4-6 record, and one more touchdown would seal it up seemingly for good.

No one's numbers really pop off the page tonight, though Omar Clayton remains efficient. He's 9-of-12 for 119 yards and a TD, with another 27 yards and a score coming with his legs.

11:46, third quarter, UNLV leads 21-7

UNLV began to tilt this one strongly in its favor to open up the second half, with Mike Clausen's five-yard run capping an 8-play, 75-yard drive that took just a tad over three minutes.

Omar Clayton produced the big play, connecting with Michael Johnson for 18 yards on a third-and-10 for the Rebels in their own territory. From there, the ground game took over.

Channing Trotter, Chris Brogdon and C.J. Cox each had double-digit runs, and Clausen came in for Clayton to finish off the final five hashmarks.

A strong defensive stand by UNLV to follow this one up could prove pivotal for the Rebels, who have scored on back-to-back quick drives.

Halftime, UNLV leads 14-7

Mike Sanford might want to consider leaving Omar Clayton in for good instead of going back and forth between his junior stalwart and sophomore Mike Clausen.

Clayton threw a 13-yard TD pass to cap a 55-second drive, finding a wide open Jerriman Robinson, giving the Rebels a 14-7 halftime lead over pesky Colorado State.

Clayton was stellar when he was in in the first half, completing eight of his nine pass attempts for 101 yards and a TD. He also ran four times for 27 yards and another score.

Yet, for some reason, the Rebels are still giving Mike Clausen a healthy amount of snaps.

Either way, the Rebels still have a lead at the break, despite only having the ball for 10:33 in the first half. Colorado State has committed six costly penalties, and has been conservative on offense with 21 rush attempts, producing 99 yards. Through the air, CSU is 8-of-15 for 64 yards.

There's no reason UNLV should lose this game. If it does, it'll be the Rebels' own doing. The best thing they could do right now is let Omar Clayton take them home. But with this team, you just never know.

1:49, second quarter, game tied 7-7

Want a quick way to kill momentum? UNLV found it. After Omar Clayton scored on a beautiful 28-yard run — and was 5-of-5 throwing the ball at the time — he was pulled on the next drive in favor of Mike Clausen ... who promptly went three-and-out.

From there, Colorado State made UNLV pay, by chewing up tons of clock by utilizing trick passes and the ground game. John Mosure finished it off in the wildcat formation, with two runs to mop up the final nine yards on the drive, tying it up at 7-7.

Now, as UNLV scrambles for another score before the break, Clayton is back in.

14:25, second quarter, UNLV leads 7-0

The Rebels just capped off a 76-yard drive with the game's first score, but how they picked up the yards was pretty intriguing. Mike Sanford essentially switched quarterbacks on each snap, but it was his starter — junior Omar Clayton — who made the biggest play.

Clayton shot up the left sideline and showed nice acceleration on a 28-yard touchdown run, which gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead to start the second quarter.

Why Sanford isn't specifically committing to Clayton is mysterious. On top of the TD run, he's 5-of-5 throwing the ball so far for 40 yards.

6:08, first quarter, game tied 0-0

After UNLV's defense forced a Colorado State punt to start the game, the Rebels let go of an opportunity to draw first blood with the Rams on the ropes early.

Ryan Wolfe had three catches on the opening possession, and then had a nice run for a first down on a second down play, but a 15-yard penalty was called against senior guard Joe Hawley for tripping — of all things. Add a Chris Gipson sack — CSU's 17th of the year — and a false start penalty to boot, and UNLV had to punt it right back.

These two teams look rough early on, folks. It's kind of apparent as to why both currently stand at 3-6.

Pregame

Welcome to Sam Boyd Stadium, for a game which will have an atmosphere unlike anything we've seen for a UNLV football contest so far this season.

It's home game No. 6, but this will be the first time you'll be able to visibly see the fans' displeasure with this program.

Sure, the current slide that has the Rebels at 3-6 with three games to play started a while ago, but the stadium has still seen revenue from fans of visiting schools which travel well — i.e. Utah, BYU, etc.

Lets just say it wasn't brutally tough getting into the Boyd parking lot this evening. And now, about 25 minutes away from kickoff, I'd say there's about 8,000 people here.

The thing is, this has the potential to be one of the season's more entertaining home games. Why? Two high-powered offenses with poor defenses. This could easily turn into a 45-41 contest.

We'll be here for the play-by-play the whole night.

Early prediction? 45-41, UNLV. I dropped that previous potential score for a reason. I think the Rebels' dwindling postseason hopes breathe life for another week, but Air Force should shred them up next weekend in Colorado Springs.

Be back after kickoff.

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  1. BOWL GAME?
    Are you kidding me?
    BOWL GAME?