Rebels football:

Blog: Cornett carries UNLV to bowl eligibility in 41-21 victory at Air Force

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UNLV running back Tim Cornett, right, runs for a short gain as Air Force defensive back Christian Spears comes in to cover in the first quarter of an NCAA football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Updated Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 | 10 p.m.

UNLV vs. Air Force

UNLV running back Tim Cornett, right, runs for a short gain as Air Force defensive back Christian Spears comes in to cover in the first quarter of an NCAA football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Launch slideshow »

UNLV 41, Air Force 21

Game over

It was far more interesting than it should have been, but in the end UNLV is bowl eligible for the first time since 2000. Tim Cornett ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, in the Rebels' 41-21 victory tonight at Falcon Stadium.

The Rebels led 27-0 and then after they failed to convert an onside kick, Air Force went on a 21-6 run over the next three quarters. UNLV came up with a stop that essentially iced the game with 2:12 remaining and Cornett put things away for good with a 46-yard score. Cornett has scored four touchdowns in a game before but never all of the on the ground.

Caleb Herring finished 15-for-18 for 141 yards and also ran for 56 yards and two scores. The Rebels averaged more than six yards per play as the Falcons couldn't stop them the entire night. The only thing that got in UNLV's way was itself, including a missed field goal and a fumble at the 1-yard line.

The Rebels will take bowl eligibility any way they can get it, but they really had to sweat this one out. UNLV wraps up the regular season at home next week against San Diego State. Pretty much every league-affiliated bowl except the Las Vegas Bowl is still in play.

Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' victory.

 

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The temperature has dropped approximately 30 degrees in the past several hours. Add that to the layer of snow blanketing the Air Force Academy this morning and you’ve got a recipe for a serious problem for the Rebels.

The air is hovering around 19 degrees and dropping as we get closer to kickoff. UNLV sports information director Mark Wallington said this would be the lowest temperature the Rebels have ever played in. Bettors have pushed the side from Air Force minus-1 to minus 2.5 at some local sports books.

The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Las Vegas time and will air on ESPNU.

We don’t have much to go on when trying to figure out how UNLV will play in this weather. They only play one, maybe two games per year where snow could be a factor and almost never goes well. But how much of that is the weather and how much is the fact UNLV traditionally isn’t good on the road?

This year’s team hasn’t been that same nightmare away from home. In fact, a victory today would give the Rebels their first winning road record for a season since 2003.

The closest thing to these conditions last year was a November game at Colorado State that I often wonder why I even showed up for. UNLV was probably the better team on the field but the Rebels collapsed immediately, committing multiple turnovers in the first quarter.

Even before it started playing from behind UNLV was committed to trying to throw the ball. I didn’t agree with that decision, and while things may be a little different with Caleb Herring at the helm this time around I think it’s still so important for the Rebels to run far more than pass. Tim Cornett has one career fumble, and with a bowl game on the line and everyone’s hands shaking, that’s who you want to rely on.

Bern’s prediction: I feel like I've had a very good feel for this UNLV team on gameday this season but I'm sort of at a loss today. The Rebels are without a doubt the better team, but Air Force is a tricky matchup in any conditions let alone freezing temperatures. UNLV got to where it is by beating the teams it's supposed to beat. I know because of the conditions Vegas disagrees but I'm going to stick with the better team in a low-scoring game. UNLV 20, Air Force 18

Season: ATS 7-3, O/U 6-3-1

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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