Reno, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Caleb Herring threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns as he guided the UNLV Rebels to a thrilling 27-22 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon at Mackay Stadium.
Herring converted 29-of-42 passes, with eight of those completions going to Devante Davis who turned them into 121 yards and two touchdowns as the Rebels (5-3, 3-1 MWC) won for the fifth time in the last six outings. Running back Tim Cornett, who was questionable for this game due to injury, contributed a game-high 122 yards and a score on 26 carries.
Nevada (3-5, 2-3), which had won eight straight games in the series, was paced by quarterback Cody Fajardo who converted 24-of-40 for 357 yards and two scores, but he was also intercepted once. Richy Turner caught eight passes for a game-high 149 yards and a score but still the team bowed for the third straight outing.
The Pack scored the only points of the first quarter on a 40-yard field goal by Brent Zuzo, the kicker adding a 22-yard conversion at the 12:55 mark of the second to provide the hosts with a 6-0 advantage.
Herring and the Rebels then put together a nine-play, 75-yard drive on their ensuing possession, culminating with a 16-yard TD pass to Maika Matalee to give the visitors a 7-6 edge.
With just under six minutes to play in the first half, Fajardo hooked up with Turner on a 61-yard TD pass play top return the lead to the Pack.
The teams continued to trade scores to close out the first half as Herring and Davis combined on a 44-yard TD pass, while Zuzo countered for Nevada with a 43-yard field goal to make the score 16-14 for the hosts at the break.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Cornett stepped up for the Rebels with a nine-yard TD run at the 11:46 mark of the fourth, giving the lead back to UNLV.
Herring drove the Rebels down into scoring position once again late in the period and the team capitalized with an 11-yard TD reception by Davis in the corner of the end zone. Ahead by 11 with just under six minutes remaining in regulation, UNLV opted to try for a two-point conversion but the squad came up short as Herring was forced to scramble and found a receiver just shy of the goal line.
Nevada refused to give up and went on the attack, eating up 72 yards on eight plays in just over two minutes as Fajardo hit Aaron Bradley with a nine-yard TD pass.
Like UNLV, the Pack also took a chance on a two-point conversion and while a pass attempt fell incomplete, it appeared Nevada would be given a second chance due to a penalty. However, after review, it was determined that the pass had been tipped and that wiped away a potential pass interference call, leaving the hosts with a five-point deficit.
On the ensuing kickoff return, Nevada was flagged for a pair of late hits out of bounds, adding 30 yards to the return by UNLV and setting the Rebels up near midfield with just over three minutes left. Unfortunately, UNLV could not move the ball and ended up having to punt.
Luckily for UNLV, the defense came up big and stopped the Wolf Pack on fourth down, preserving the long-awaited win for the Rebels.
Despite picking up their fifth win of the campaign, the Rebels are still shooting for their first winning regular season since 2000 when they produced an 7-5 mark and finished 8-5 for head coach John Robinson after posting a 31-14 triumph over Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Fajardo came into the matchup with a streak of 187 straight pass attempts without an interception, a Mountain West Conference record and the second- longest active streak in the country.