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Jefferson finished with 111 passing yards and 64 yards on the ground for Air Force (8-4, 5-3 MWC), which has won its last four meetings with UNLV.
Omar Clayton passed for 224 yards and one touchdown in defeat for UNLV (2-9, 2-5).
Air Force jumped out to 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game when Jefferson threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Zach Kauth.
UNLV then scored 17 unanswered points to give the Rebels a 17-7 advantage by the middle of the second quarter. Tim Cornett got things going with a two-yard touchdown run, and after a 32-yard field goal by Nolan Kohorst, Clayton threw a 36-yard scoring pass to Phillip Payne.
With less than two minutes left in the first half, the Falcons cut their deficit to 17-14 on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Jefferson.
The Falcons came out hot in the third quarter, scoring two more touchdowns to regain the lead at 28-17. A 54-yard scoring scamper by Jonathan Warzeka was followed by a two-yard rushing touchdown by Jefferson.
UNLV made the score 28-20 with a 32-yard field goal by Kohorst.
With just under 10 minutes left in the game, Air Force pushed its advantage to 35-20 with another Jefferson touchdown run, this time from two yards out.
After falling behind 17-7, Air Force has put together 21 straight points to now lead UNLV 28-20. To start the third quarter Air Force scored on a quick three play 88 yard drive in 61 seconds to give the Falcons their first lead since being up 7-0 back in the first quarter.
Air Force then stopped the Rebels offensive drive and did the complete opposite of the prior drive with a 11 play 67 yard drive which featured Tim Jefferson passing the ball in addition to the Falcons running their triple option offense. This score put the Falcons up 28-17.
With the game seemingly slipping away from UNLV, they kicked a field goal to make the score 28-20 in favor of Air Force.
Air Force put together one of their famous time consuming drives as they marched down the field 90 yards on a 12 play drive that lasted 4:26 to put the Falcons within three points at the half. Air Force does receive the ball to begin the second half.
UNLV is a completely different team this evening as they scored another touchdown to go ahead 17-7. Rebel quarterback Omar Clayton connected on a 36 yard pass to touchdown machine Phillip Payne to extend the lead over Air Force to 17-7.
The first quarter is in the books and UNLV is all tied up with Air Force at seven apiece. Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson has shown no ill effects from his injury he suffered last week against New Mexico and threw for 40 yards in the first quarter on the first Falcon drive that ended up in a five-yard touchdown pass to Zac Bell.
Then UNLV moved the ball with ease lead by Rebel freshman Tim Cornett, who had five carries for 27 yards on the Rebels second drive that tied the game up.
On the Falcons next drive they drove down the field looking to go back up by seven points, but then Nathan Walker fumbled the ball on the Rebel two yard line.
UNLV then proceeded to drive down the field to kick a 32-yard field goal to go up 10-7.
Since losing three straight games against powerful conference competition, the Falcons have turned the corner and are now riding a two-game win streak. Last weekend the Falcons posted a 48-23 win over New Mexico at home to help strengthen their case for making it the postseason again this year.
As for the Rebels, they finally managed to get back into the win column by putting up a 42-16 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys here at home in the desert. The win snapped a five-game slide for UNLV, but was still just the second triumph of the season for the team, following a 45-10 romp over New Mexico back in late September.
The academy captured a 45-17 win in last year's matchup with UNLV and that leaves the Falcons with an 11-4 edge in the series as a result. Air Force has won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings with the Rebels.
Asher Clark ran for a pair of touchdowns and gained 95 yards on 19 carries for the Falcons as they overcame the loss of quarterback Tim Jefferson to record the lopsided win over the Lobos last weekend. Jefferson, who suffered a head injury that has him listed as questionable for the matchup with UNLV, hit on 2-of-3 passes before leaving. Stepping in was Connor Dietz who generated 67 yards and a TD through the air, not to mention a rushing score for a unit that gained 373 yards and posted six TDs in the victory. Not to knock Jefferson and his passing ability, but everyone knows this offense is predicated on how well the Falcons move the ball on the ground. At this stage the team is back to being first in the conference and second in the nation in rushing with 315.6 ypg, having gained more than 300 yards six times this season and scoring a total of 36 touchdowns on the ground. Its nice to always have the option to put the ball in the air, but for the Falcons it isn't necessary.
The Falcons defense watched the Lobos march down the field on their first possession of the game on Saturday and score a touchdown, but considering UNM was handed a short field after a lost fumble it wasn't all the unit's fault. Air Force did bounce back, allowing just two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but by then the outcome had already been decided. Jordan Waiwaiole was again instrumental in the squad's success with eight tackles, 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Catching opponents behind the line of scrimmage has not been a strong suit for the Falcons this season and at the moment the group is ranked sixth in the conference and 97th nationally with just 4.8 TFLs per game. What's worse, the unit has recorded a mere 1.18 sacks per outing and that has the academy ranked seventh in the MWC and 110th in the nation entering play this week.
Even though quarterback Omar Clayton generally makes the headlines for the Rebels, it was freshman running back Tim Cornett who stole the show for UNLV as he scored one touchdown in every quarter of the team's win over Wyoming last week. Cornett totaled 70 yards and three TDs on the ground and one catch for 12 yards and a score to become the first player since 1994 to have four TDs for the Rebels. Clayton did have his share of the highlights though, as he converted 13-of-18 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns, but it was Cornett who earned a share of MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors. As great as it was for Cornett to earn himself and the UNLV offense some respect, the fact remains that the so-called rushing attack for the Rebels is still last in the conference with just 107.1 ypg and overall the offense ranks 118th in the nation with a mere 269.9 ypg at the moment as well.
The Rebels allowed Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels to run for 92 yards and a touchdown and also throw for another 108 yards, but aside from his efforts the Cowboys did little to threaten the inevitable victory by UNLV. Wyoming was allowed a mere 273 yards of total offense and 53 plays, converting just 3-of-11 on third-down efforts. Ronnie Paulo tallied a team-best 10 tackles for the Rebels, while B.J. Bell registered the lone sack for the home team. Not only is the offense for the Rebels generally a lost cause, outside of beating the two other teams in the MWC that have a combined record of just 3-18, but the defense is also one of the weakest in all of college football in several areas. When it comes to tackles behind the line of scrimmage, this is a group that has managed less than four per game, last in the MWC and 116th in the country this week.
The run defense for the Rebels has allowed a whopping 211.9 ypg this season and you can be sure that Air Force is well aware of that fact and plans to exploit it as much as possible this week.
TV: CBS College Sports, 8 p.m. mountain time.