10:00 PM ET, October 8, 2004
LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- UNLV is undefeated on John Robinson's farewell tour.
The Rebels gave the 69-year-old coach a second consecutive win with a 24-20 thriller over Brigham Young on Friday night, giving UNLV its first winning streak over the Cougars in the 12-game history between the schools.
The Rebels (2-4, 1-1 Mountain West Conference) have won two straight since Robinson announced on Sept. 26 he was retiring at the end of the season.
"We've been mystified by our four losses early in the season. We tried to keep our faith in ourselves and our players all played very hard," Robinson said.
Dominique Dorsey ran for 94 yards and a touchdown, and the Rebels forced three straight incompletions after BYU had first-and-goal from the UNLV 10 with 14 seconds remaining.
"For me, the defense overshadowed us this game," said Dorsey, who had 26 carries. "They did an excellent job."
The defense finished the victory by pressuring John Beck into a pass over the middle that bounced harmlessly off the grass on a play that started with eight-tenths of a second remaining.
Despite the victory, Robinson's 132nd as a college coach, he was still livid after the game over several late calls that went against the Rebels. UNLV was called for 10 penalties to BYU's six.
"I'm going to do whatever I can Monday -- in the most respectful way -- to file a complaint with our conference commissioner about the officiating," Robinson said. "I've coached for some 30 million-thousand years, and 300-some games and it's the worst officiating I've ever seen."
The Cougars (2-4, 1-1) were trying for their first winning streak since 2002, but made too many mistakes and couldn't rally against the Rebels.
BYU had six fumbles, losing four of them. Another would-be turnover was nullified by an offsides penalty on UNLV.
"Most of the fumbles came from behind as our guys were running down the field and they came up and knocked it out," BYU coach Gary Crowton said. "That's one thing we need to work on."
Trailing 21-20 in the fourth quarter, BYU was forced to punt from its own end zone, setting up the Rebels at the Cougars' 39. UNLV didn't drive far, but did use several minutes before Sergio Aguayo kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:49 remaining.
Down by four, BYU couldn't rely on Matt Payne, who kicked a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter, to tie it.
Beck converted a fourth-and-2 on a screen pass to Curtis Brown. Then on first down, UNLV defensive lineman Leon Moore was called for a facemask. BYU kept moving with a long pass from Beck to Todd Watkins, but Watkins fumbled and Brian Nicholson recovered at the UNLV 11 with 2:18 remaining.
As the officials tried to figure out who had the ball, Nicholson was holding it in the air in front of the UNLV bench and the Rebels started the celebration.
"We had a nice drive there in the fourth quarter," Crowton said. "Watkins thought he could've scored there but the guy snuck up and got the ball."
But it wasn't quite over. The Cougars forced a punt and got the ball back at their own 42 with 1:10 remaining, only to come up short.
"One of the finest defensive performances I've ever seen," Robinson said.
Brown had eight carries for 102 yards, becoming the first Cougar to top 100 this season, but BYU still struggled on the ground and depended on Beck's passing.
Beck completed 34 of 67 passes for 358 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to Watkins with 14 seconds left in the second quarter to put the Cougars up 10-7 at halftime.
Dorsey scored on a 12-yard run just 1:45 into the third quarter, but BYU answered with Payne's field goal and a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cameron Jensen.
UNLV went back ahead with a 76-yard drive. Dyante Perkins scored on a 12-yard run, making it 21-20 with 1:58 left in the third quarter.