PROVO, Utah — Max Hall threw for four touchdowns and No. 18 BYU avoided a second straight loss by rallying to beat UNLV 42-35 Saturday.
Austin Collie had his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game for the Cougars (7-1, 3-1 Mountain West), who were matched nearly score-for-score by the Rebels until the final drive. BYU’s Andrew Ridge intercepted Omar Clayton’s pass in the end zone on the final play to seal BYU’s 17th straight win at home.
The Cougars had the nation’s longest winning streak until last week’s visit to TCU and were in danger Saturday of falling into a losing streak when UNLV (3-5, 0-4) went up 35-34 with 6:49 left to play.
But Hall led BYU 74 yards and threw a 6-yard touchdown to Dennis Pitta with 1:46 remaining, then completed a pass to Harvey Unga for the 2-point conversion and BYU led 42-35.
The Rebels drove within range to tie it, but BYU’s Matt Putnam sacked Clayton at the UNLV 25 with 7.4 seconds left and forced the desperate attempt at the end.
Clayton was 26-for-40 for 321 yards and a touchdown. He was knocked woozy in the first half and backup Mike Clausen had two touchdown runs for the Rebels. UNLV’s Frank Summers also ran for two touchdowns as UNLV outgained BYU 463-454.
UNLV converted 11 of 15 times on third down and BYU was 7-for-11 in third-down conversions.
Hall was 24-for-31 for 245 yards and Collie had seven catches for 113 yards. BYU needed every yard of offense because the Rebels were picking apart the defense.
UNLV survived a failed fake punt from their own 34, holding to BYU to just a 39-yard field goal by Max Payne to put BYU up 34-28 with 8:36 left to play.
BYU’s kickoff went out of bounds for the second time in the game and the Rebels got it at the 40. On first down, Clayton found Phillip Payne for a 22-yard pass and Payne held on despite getting sandwiched between BYU’s Scott Johnson and David Tafuna.
Payne stayed down for several minutes and UNLV coach Mike Sanford fumed at the officials, wanting a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit. The call never came, but the Rebels scored five plays later and led by a point.