BYU leaves Rebels crying "Unga"

Bigger. Stronger. Better. Defending Mountain West Conference champion BYU (4-2, 3-0) has built its reputation over the years for its precision passing attack. But Saturday night at sold out Sam Boyd Stadium it was the Cougars' power running game that was the difference in a 24-14 victory over UNLV (2-5, 1-2).

BYU, taking advantage of a veteran offensive line that averages 6-foot-5 inches and 313 pounds, simply overpowered the Rebel defense in the second half behind the running of 221-pound halfback Harvey Unga (25 carries, 177 yards, 1 TD) and 234-pound fullback Manase Tonga (10 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD).

Talk about your ball control offense. BYU ran 41 plays to just 15 over the first 27 minutes after halftime, putting together touchdown drives of 66, 63 and 81 yards en route to a 24-6 advantage.

The last scoring drive was particularly impressive, chewing up almost nine minutes (8:49) and taking 15 plays.

Unga, who had 118 yards in the second half alone, appropriately capped the 81-yard march with a five-yard run.

"We didn't stop the run on defense," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "They ran the ball on us in the second half and that was the story, really.

"One of our focuses on defense is to stop the run and I have to give BYU tremendous credit. They played very physical and very hard and they did a nice job, especially in the second half."

Meanwhile, UNLV's offense continued to sputter. Despite forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions of Cougar quarterback Max Hall, the Rebels managed just a pair of Sergio Aguayo field goals over the first 58 minutes before backup quarterback Omar Clayton hit wide receiver Rodelin Anthony with a five-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 remaining. Clayton, a freshman walk-on who was 5-for-5 for 43 yards off the bench, also hit Casey Flair with a two-point conversion pass.

"We did not execute tonight," Sanford said of his team's offensive woes. "We didn't make good decisions, didn't block well enough and we didn't run hard enough. We did not do a good job throwing and catching either."

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