Russ Backer
Air Force AF 3-4 , 1-3
UNLV UNLV 2-5 , 0-3
Score By Quarters
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
AF Air Force 3 17 21 0 41
UNLV UNLV 7 14 7 7 35

Game Recap: Football |

Air Force Withstands UNLV, 41-35

Post Game Interviews

Air Force football held off UNLV, 41-35, in a wild Mountain West shootout Friday night at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Quarterback Isaiah Sanders accounted for four touchdowns and 390 yards of total offense to help lift the Falcons (3-4, 1-3 MW) past the Rebels (2-5, 0-3 MW).

Trailing 21-13 in the second quarter, Air Force took control of the game with 28 consecutive points to jump ahead 41-21.  The Falcons were unable to pull away, however, as a pair of turnovers helped the Rebels get back in the game.

UNLV rallied with two touchdowns late to pull to within six.  The Falcons needed a last defensive stand in the fourth quarter to hold off the Rebels.  Air Force stopped UNLV on fourth down with 1:44 to play as defensive lineman Jordan Jackson  was able to get his hand on a pass attempt from quarterback Max Gilliam to end the threat.

Air Force racked up 577 yards of total offense, which included 355 on the ground and 217 through the air.  All three totals were season high's.  

Sanders completed 9 of 11 passes including a 69-yard touchdown strike to Ronald Cleveland.  The junior also led the Falcons with 173 yards rushing on 21 carries, tallying three rushing touchdowns.  His 390 total yards of total offense is the second-most in program history, just six yards shy of the 396 yards set by Arion Worthman in 2017 at Navy.

Cleveland racked up 140 yards of total offense, with three receptions for 100 yards and six carries for 40 yards.  Fullback Cole Fagan also rushed for 77 yards.  Fagan's 49-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest run by a Falcon so far this season.

Air Force got on the board first with a field goal by Jake Koehnke eight minutes in.  UNLV responded with a touchdown on the ensuing drive to go up 7-3.  Following another Koehnke field goal, running back Lexington Thomas broke off a 74-yard touchdown run to put the Rebels up 14-6 with 12:23 to play in the second quarter.

Sanders ran for his first score to pull the Falcons to within run before UNLV responded with another touchdown to go ahead 21-13 with 3:53 to go in the second.

The Falcons took control of the game at that point, starting the rally with another Sanders rushing touchdown right before the half to pull to within one at 21-20.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, Air Force took the lead on Sanders' third scoring plunge of the game and never looked back.  Big scoring strikes followed as Sanders found Cleveland for the 69-yard pass play and Fagan broke through and weaved his way past the Rebels defense for the 49-yard scamper to put the Falcons ahead 41-21 with 5:45 to play in the third quarter.

A pair of rushing fumbles allowed UNLV to scratch its way back into the game late.  Air Force was able to make the last defensive stand and Sanders closed out the game by rushing for a first down to help run the clock out.

Defensively, three Falcons racked up double-digit tackles.  Jeremey Fejedelem had 13 tackles and a diving interception off a deflection from teammate Zane Lewis.  Kyle Johnson had a caeer-high 12 tackles and Brody Bagnall added 10 stops.

After two straight on the road, the Falcons return home to Falcon Stadium to host Boise State next Saturday, Oct. 27.
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