Air Force 35, UNLV 20
Tim Jefferson and the bowl-bound Air Force Falcons took their time getting up to full speed against pesky UNLV in their regular-season finale.
Jefferson threw a touchdown pass and had three short scoring runs and Air Force overcame an early 10-point deficit to beat UNLV 35-20 on Thursday night.
''The first 25 minutes of the game, that was unacceptable,'' Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said. ''The last 28 minutes, we played really, really good football.''
Jefferson was 7 of 9 for 111 yards, including a 5-yard scoring pass to Zack Kauth early first quarter, and ran 16 times for 64 yards for the Falcons (8-4, 5-3 Mountain West).
The Falcons are headed to their fourth straight bowl.
''My gut - everything we're getting - either is Shreveport or right here in Las Vegas,'' Calhoun said.
Asher Clark had 14 carries for 82 yards, and Jonathan Warzeka had a go-ahead 54-yard touchdown run and finished with 64 yards rushing on only two carries and also caught two passes for 46 yards.
''I thought it was a big momentum shifter for us,'' Warzeka said. ''We needed to put some points on the board. We needed to set the tempo and put this game away.''
Omar Clayton completed 18 of 30 passes for 224 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown strike to Phillip Payne for UNLV (2-9, 2-5), which led 17-7 in the second quarter.
''(Air Force) has pretty good team speed,'' UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. ''They got good quickness. It showed when they played Oklahoma. We didn't keep the ball offensively enough.''
Jefferson's first rushing touchdown, a 1-yarder with 1:49 left in the half, cut it to 17-14 and gave the Falcons rushing touchdowns in 20 straight games.
Warzeka's 54-yard run down the left sideline put the Falcons up 21-17 early in the second half, and Jefferson had a 2-yard scoring run on Air Force's next drive to make it 28-17.
Jefferson threw his 5-yard scoring pass to Kauth after Andre Morris returned an interception to the 8 on the second play from scrimmage in the game. The Rebels tied it on the next drive on Tim Cornett's 2-yard run.
Cornett finished with 69 yards on 24 carries for the Rebels.
''(UNLV) showed us that if we took them lightly, they were going to put points on the board and that's exactly what they did,'' Warzeka said. ''Especially this being their last home game. They had a lot to play for. There wasn't one time during this game that they were letting up.''
UNLV will finish the season with games at San Diego State on Nov. 27 and at Hawaii on Dec. 4.