Utah State rallies in final minute for 28-24 win over UNLV

Sports

LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) – The Comeback Kids did it again.

For the fourth time this season, Utah State erased a double-digit deficit to beat UNLV Saturday night, 28-24. Elelyon Noa scored an 11-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left, as the Aggies avoided a loss to the winless Rebels at Allegiant Stadium.

Utah State’s senior wide receiver Savon Scarver returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to tie the NCAA record with his seventh career kick return for a touchdown.

UNLV running back Charles Williams, who racked up 221 yards rushing and all three of the Rebels’ touchdowns, gave the hosts a 24-21 lead on a 5-yard run with 8:18 to go in the third quarter. 

But Logan Bonner led the Aggies (4-2, 2-1 Mountain West), on a 9-play, 60-yard drive, capped by Noa’s touchdown run to give Utah State the lead.

Utah State’s defense then sealed the game when grad senior safety Shaq Bond intercepted his second pass of the night on a fourth-down play with just 10 seconds left. Bond led the Aggies with nine tackles. 

The Aggies out-gained the winless Rebels in total yards, 440-330. Utah State piled up 26 first downs, compared to just 12 for UNLV.

Utah State has overcome fourth-quarter deficits to win all three of its games away from the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. The Aggies have won their first three road games of the season for the first time since the 1978 campaign, and the first time they have won three straight away from home since 2018. 

Utah State, which has trailed at the half in all six games, has now won 13 straight football games following a bye week dating back to the 2011 season and 11 of those 13 wins have been against league opponents. 

With their victory over the Rebels on Saturday, the Aggies have now won 15 of the last 18 games played in the series, including six straight. 

Deven Thompkins led all receivers in the game with a career-high 12 catches for 180 yards and a career-best two touchdowns, one from 37 yards and another from 6. 

Fellow senior wide receiver Derek Wright hauled in five catches for a career-high 83 yards, helping the Aggies with 440 yards – 110 more than UNLV (0-6, 0-2 MW). 

Bonner completed 21 of 32 passes for 298 yards and the two touchdowns to Thompkins. He also threw one interception. 

The Rebels took a 3-0 lead on their opening drive of the game, then elected to kick off to Scarver, who caught it at the goal line and was off to the races. The speedster returned three kickoffs for 156 yards in the game.

Utah State next welcomes Colorado State to Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Friday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m.

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