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Late defensive penalty helps keep OSU alive, Beavers down Rebels, 23-21

Updated Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 | 11:10 p.m.

UNLV vs. Oregon State

Malo Taumua (left) and Preston Brooks of UNLV drop after Oregon State kicked in the go-ahead field goal Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. Oregon St. won the game 23-21. Launch slideshow »

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Final, Oregon State wins, 23-21

UNLV came as close as humanly possible to pulling off a major upset behind backup quarterback Mike Clausen's inspired effort, but a huge defensive penalty moments later kept an Oregon State drive alive, leading to a 23-21 Beavers triumph at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Mike Clausen came in for Omar Clayton early in the fourth quarter, after the Rebels' starting QB hurt his knee and was visibly uncomfortable while limping around. The sophomore in turn went 6-of-8 for 59 yards and two touchdown passes, including a 10-yard strike to Phillip Payne with 4:16 to play to put UNLV up for the first time, 21-20.

After a Jason Beauchamp sack on Sam Canfield, the Rebels appeared to shut the door on the Beavers when Terrence Lee clocked the OSU QB from behind on a third-and-26 pass attempt. But a pass interference call was given to Deante' Purvis while the ball was in flight, keeping OSU's drive alive.

Justin Kahut finished the job, hitting a 33-yard field goal with :10 to play, improving the Beavers to 2-0 on the young season and dropping the Rebels to 1-1.

Jacquizz Rodgers paced the Beavers all night, finishing the game with 26 carries for 169 yards and a touchdown.

The Rebels will be back in action next Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, with Hawaii coming to town for an 8 p.m. kickoff.

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

4:16, fourth quarter, UNLV leads 21-20

Those who left early might be kicking themselves right about now.

UNLV stuffed Sean Canfield on a fourth-and-inches sneak play near midfield, and the measurement confirmation forced the Sam Boyd Stadium crowd to erupt.

In return, Mike Clausen led his second scoring drive of the game, going 2-for-3 with his arm, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Payne on his patented fade route. He also ran the ball twice for 21 yards on the drive.

UNLV's defense now has a chance to shut the door on a Pac-10 foe, with a stadium that has again found life and a visibly nervous OSU team, which has become penalty prone in the second half.

10:53, fourth quarter, Oregon State leads 20-14

Omar Clayton came up limping after taking a big hit from behind on UNLV's previous possession, and on the next offensive opportunity, sophomore backup Mike Clausen led the Rebels offense onto the field.

With Clayton resting a sore knee, Clausen took UNLV downfield and pulled his team to within one score, thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Rodelin Anthony on a jump ball over the middle.

Clausen looked smooth, going 4-of-5 on the drive for 41 yards, and has breathed new life into a previously dormant Sam Boyd Stadium crowd.

With just under 11 minutes to play, it will be interesting to see if the UNLV defense can feed off of the offense like it did in the second half a week ago. Not a bad start, as the Oregon State drive starts at the 15-yard line thanks to solid kick coverage.

7:17, third quarter, Oregon State leads 20-7

Malo Taumua came out from the locker room and back onto the field for the UNLV defense.

Didn't matter.

The Rodgers brothers, coupled with super-accurate quarterback Sean Canfield, are taking it to the Rebels defense at the moment, as another quick strike has bumped the Beavers' lead back to 13 points at 20-7.

Jacquizz Rodgers, who had a 45-yard jaunt to open the second half, added a 47-yarder on the Beavers' last drive, setting up a four-yard strike from Canfield to his brother, James. These came following a pair of facemasking penalties against UNLV to help extend the drive.

UNLV followed it up with a three-and-out, which included a three-yard Omar Clayton run and two short passing attempts. The Rebels' play-calling has gotten kinda bland as the game's progressed, and without a defensive stop here on Oregon State's next possession, this one could be getting ugly.

Jacquizz, for the record, now has 17 carries for 152 yards and a score.

10:42, third quarter, Oregon State leads 13-7

It didn't take UNLV long to take advantage of a huge Deante' Purvis kick return, scoring their first points two minutes and 14 seconds later on a 19-yard strike from Omar Clayton to Rodelin Anthony.

For Anthony, it was a crucial step in making up for a big first-half fumble which killed an impressive offensive drive.

It's going to be interesting to see how UNLV does against the run without Malo Taumua and Jason Beauchamp at the end spots. In their places are seniors Preston Brooks and Heivaha Mafi.

13:07, third quarter, Oregon State leads 13-0

Jacquizz Rodgers compounded UNLV's out-of-bounds kickoff to start the second half by ripping off a 45-yard run a play later, setting up the Beavers' second touchdown of the game.

He scored on a one-yard run, and Oregon State opted for the extra point instead of a two-point try to make up for a blown point after on its first score.

UNLV got a glimmer of hope moments later, however, as Deante' Purvis ran the ensuing kick back to the Beavers' 36-yard line thanks to a couple of monstrous blocks. The Rebels need a score in the worst way to keep within range and avoid letting this one get out of hand.

One quick injury note — Rebels defensive end Malo Taumua is out with a foot injury at the moment, still getting treatment in the locker room.

Also, tonight's attendance is 25,967, with about 8,000-10,000 of them wearing orange.

Halftime, Oregon State leads 6-0

UNLV's second turnover of the game turned into the first score of the contest, a few minutes down the road.

Sean Canfield completed a one-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal to tight end Brady Camp with just over a minute to play in the first half. Justin Cahut, who missed a field goal attempt earlier, also whiffed on the extra point try, sending the Beavers to the half with a 6-0 edge.

So much for that shootout.

The score was set up by a big 27-yard run by backup tailback Jovan Stevenson. Then, after two failed run tries to punch it in, Canfield went play-action and lofted a jump-ball into the back-right corner of the end zone.

UNLV certainly doesn't look intimidated tonight, but the execution on the offensive side of the ball simply isn't there.

Omar Clayton is 12-of-17 for 120 yards, but has one interception to his credit.

Meanwhile, Sean Canfield on the other side has 75 yards on 10-of-11 accuracy.

UNLV has two turnovers, Oregon State has none, and that's the difference. Both of UNLV's turnovers — plus having a drive get stuffed on a fourth-and-one run — have killed the Rebels' momentum. And they've now left OSU with a key opportunity to put its foot on the throat, getting the ball to start the second half.

Here are some other numbers of note from the first half at Sam Boyd Stadium ...

— Ryan Wolfe has six catches for 83 yards and has been UNLV's best offensive player, hands down.

— Sophomore linebacker Nate Carter has made several big plays in place of the wounded Jason Beauchamp, who saw his first action late in the first half despite a tender right ankle.

—  Jacquizz Rodgers has modest numbers so far, with 35 yards on 10 carries and another 33 on five catches. But each touch has kept a drive moving, with the exception of a one-yard loss in the first quarter on third-and-short.

— Channing Trotter has eight carries for 23 yards.

— UNLV out-gained OSU in total yardage in the first half, 156-133.

Unless UNLV takes care of the ball better, this one's going to get out of hand pretty quick. The defense can only hold for so long ...

6:45, second quarter, game tied 0-0

Rodelin Anthony tried to hurdle a trio of Oregon State defenders after a third-down catch and wound up fumbling away another promising Rebels drive.

It was set up by a pair of phenomenal plays by fellow senior receiver Ryan Wolfe.

First, Wolfe caught a third-and-11 pass from Omar Clayton, then carried four OSU defenders past the first down marker. Two plays later, he went up over an OSU defender to pick an underthrown Clayton pass out of the air down the middle of the field, gaining 34 yards in the process.

But UNLV continues to make mistakes, which can hurt any team dearly. The Beavers, in turn, have a drive of their own going near midfield now.

End of first quarter, game tied 0-0

Channing Trotter falling short on a fourth-and-one run stuffed a promising UNLV drive just past midfield, and gave the Rodgers brothers another chance to get things going on the other side.

The Trotter run was preceded by a couple of interesting calls by Mike Sanford & Co., putting two quarterbacks on the field for a play, then faking a direct snap to Phillip Payne before splitting the sophomore receiver out wide.

Either way, UNLV's defense is getting chewed up by Oregon State's frequent use of the screen play. Other than that, the Rebels have looked all right.

In the first quarter, Jacquizz Rodgers had three carries for 18 yards. Pretty modest. On the other side, Channing Trotter had 10 yards on four attempts.

As for the QBs, OSU's Sean Canfield is 4-of-4 for 37 yards, while Omar Clayton is 6-of-10 for 50 yards and his first pick of the year.

And on the Jason Beauchamp front, he still has yet to play, but is pushing around and stretching with some of the backup linemen on the sidelines. So who knows whit's in store.

4:35, first quarter, game tied 0-0

First off, UNLV senior Jason Beauchamp, who led the Mountain West in tackles a year ago, appears to be out tonight. He has yet to play as Oregon State is two possessions into the game.

The second Beavers drive began following an Omar Clayton interception toss on second-and-13. Safety Lance Mitchell picked the ball off right at midfield, but the Rebels defense made a huge dent two plays into the drive, as Quinton Pointer came on a corner blitz and blew up OSU quarterback Sean Canfield. An offsides call moments later set the Beavers up with a third-and-20, which they could not convert despite a 15-yard completion.

Justin Kahut missed a 47-yard field goal attempt moments later.

That was UNLV's second momentum-swinging defensive play of the game, as Starr Fuimaono ended OSU's first drive with a tackle for loss on star tailback Jacquizz Rodgers on third-and-three.

Clayton's pick wasn't anything alarming. He looks comfortable, and UNLV has moved the ball well against the Beavers. I still think this will be a shootout. Both teams just had to clean out the barrels a little bit first.

Pregame, Part Deux

After a brief saunter on the Sam Boyd Stadium grounds ... or at least outside of the stadium ... and it's an absolute zoo.

Plenty of Beavers.

This is pretty much a neutral crowd, as we're about five minutes from kickoff.

Also lots of, um, beverages obviously consumed outside. But it's warm, comfortable and there's no wind present, which means the stage is set for a shootout here tonight, in the final game to kickoff today in all the land.

No official word on Jason Beauchamp, but it's sounding more and more like the Rebels' senior defensive leader will be a go when this one kicks off in a few minutes.

It's just about here, so stay tuned for your in-game updates, and remember, if you're tweeting from wherever you are, don't forget the #unlvfb tag so it can appear in our in-game blog.

Pregame

Can't keep your UNLV football thoughts to yourself? If you're sharing them on Twitter, please be sure to put #unlvfb in them this weekend. We'll be showing your tweets before, during and after the game so you can see what the rest of Rebel Nation is thinking.

Less than two hours to go, and it's nothing short of a big game atmosphere just outside of Sam Boyd Stadium. Plenty of red, plenty of orange floating around the drinking grounds — er, parking lots — surrounding Sam Boyd Stadium.

And this game has been creating quite a buzz all day (no pun intended ... swear).

The ESPN Gameday crew this morning pegged UNLV as one potential upset special on this fine Saturday. And the fellas up in Bristol, Conn., have proven they know what they're talking about. Two of their other picks included Houston over No. 5 Oklahoma State (the Cougars were 45-35 victors in Stillwater earlier today) and the storied bunch from Louisiana-Laffayette to down Kansas State (the Ragin' Cajuns lead to start the fourth quarter).

And with that, UNLV has a golden opportunity both not only to make some national noise by getting the best of a nationally-ranked foe, but also winning over a fan base that can be fickle, to say the least.

(Brief sidenote: I wonder if it's coincidence that the stadium sound crew is playing 'The Rising' by Bruce Springsteen right now on the P.A. system.)

Basically, our prep work all week leading up to this one suggests that this should be a shootout to say the least. These two teams each have defenses with plenty to prove. The Rebels showed some holes against Sacramento State, while the Beavers lost two-thirds of last year's unit, including the entire secondary.

But plenty of firepower on each offense. Between UNLV's Omar Clayton and his gang of receivers and Oregon State's Rodgers brothers, expect to watch some fun ones.

Before ending this first update, here are some links to take in and some news and notes from around the league ...

— Here's a look at some picks from insiders across the press box from us.

— Also, some notes from the fine folks at the Oregonian.

— So much for a letdown from BYU or the Cougars looking forward to their home opener with Florida State next Saturday. A 54-3 thrashing down in New Orleans against Tulane ought to win over a few more voters ...

— Colorado State letdown? Well, a little bit. It took a late touchdown to defeat mighty Weber State, 24-23, in Fort Collins.

— Don't forget about TCU, who opened up its '09 campaign later than anyone in the league. The Horned Frogs easily dispatched of Virginia, 30-14. Coupled with loss to William & Mary, don't expect Al Groh to be off the market too much longer.

— Tease of the week? Wyoming. After leading Texas in the second quarter, 10-6, the Cowboys gave up 35 unanswered. Boom. Roasted.

Talk to you closer to kickoff with some more notes.

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  1. heres a thought..... 45 yards rushing on 18 attempts...... STOP RUNNING THE BALL!!!!

  2. The ball landed 15 yards away from where the infraction occurred. Unequivocably uncatchable by any human being...past, present, or future.

    Still, it's no excuse for letting them skip their way into FG position.

    UNLV defense at its finest.

  3. Do not go into the tank as is usual after a brutal loss for rebels. Also this was a horrible call that will cost UNLV a bowl game due to the fact that I counted this game as a loss before the season. Still a chance if they do not tank.

  4. As I posted earlier, I knew this was going to be a donnybrook!! The Beavers were indeed fortunate to get out of Vegas with a win!! UNLV has a good football team best wishes for a win against Hawaii next Saturday evening.

  5. thought #2 3rd and 26 dont get a PI to give them a first down.... let him try and catch it.... 4th and 6 is better than first and 10.... i hate to call a player out, but with 3 ppenalties for 0 some yards..... all personal fouls.... you can thank purvis for this one....

    good job 26

  6. **** 30 some yards ****

  7. Yeah, you hate to call out one guy.

    But Purvis just kept killing us over and over and over and over.

    He made some plays tonight. But killed us in critical situations.

    There's no chance the WR would have caught that ball.

    Once again UNLV finds a way to blow a late lead and give the game away.

    Defense is not very good a tackling this year. . . again.