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Rebels rally in fourth quarter, ride QB Sneed to crucial win at Hawaii

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Eugene Tanner / Associated Press

UNLV tight end Tim Holt, left, congratulates wide receiver Devonte Boyd, right, after Boyd caught a pass for a touchdown in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Hawaii, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Honolulu.

The UNLV football team could have easily stopped fighting in its 41-38 victory Saturday night at Hawaii.

With the score tied and about 10 minutes to play, the Rebels appeared to force the game’s first turnover when it recovered a fumble. But Hawaii called a timeout to give officials time to review the call, which they reversed.

UNLV’s offense was already on the field and seconds away from starting a potential game-winning drive. Instead, its defense was called back into action.

Two plays later, Hawaii scored for a 38-31 lead. On both plays, runs by Hawaii’s Paul Harris, the Rebels showed little resistance.

So, when the Rebels finally did get the ball back, this time trailing by seven points, you could not have blamed the two-win team for easily being defeated.

Well, maybe not.

The Rebels went on a 10-play, 80-yard drive and evened the score on sophomore Lexington Thomas’ second touchdown of the game, a 34-yard run with 4:58 to play.

The game featured six ties and four lead changes, including the winning points by UNLV — Evan Pantels’ 28-yard field goal with 49 seconds remaining.

With less than three minutes to play the Rebels finally got that turnover. Darius Mouton recovered a fumble that was forced by Tau Lotulelei and appeared to return it for a touchdown. While an illegal block erased the points, UNLV still received the ball in Hawaii territory to setup the winning points.

UNLV improves to 3-4 overall on the season, halfway to becoming bowl eligible in coach Tony Sanchez’s second season. It was their first in Hawaii since 2000.

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UNLV quarterback Dalton Sneed, left, hands off the football to running back Lexington Thomas, right, during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Hawaii, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Honolulu.

One week after completing just two passes for nine yards against San Diego State, redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Sneed had a nice bounce-back game. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns in the back-and-forth affair. The Rebels had 536 yards of offense.

He hooked up with Devonte Boyd for a 2-yard scoring strike at the 3:37 mark of the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. After Hawaii scored the next two touchdowns, Sneed dumped the ball off to Thomas, who did the rest in a 37-yard touchdown.

David Greene had a pair of short touchdown runs for the Rebels. The first came 34 seconds before halftime when the Rebels drove the length of the field in the final two minutes of the half to even the score at 21.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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