Junior quarterback Matt Linehan hit senior wide receiver Callen Hightower for an 11-yard touchdown pass in overtime, and the Idaho Vandals defeated the UNLV Rebels 33-30 on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Linehan also ran for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter for Idaho (2-2), which earned its first nonconference road victory since Oct. 2, 2010, at Western Michigan.
“Just where this program is, where we need to get, that’s as proud of a group of guys as I’ve ever been,’’ coach Paul Petrino said after beating the Mountain West program.
Lexington Thomas tied the game at 27-27 for the Rebels on a 55-yard run with 5:19 left in regulation.
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UNLV took its first lead to begin overtime on a 23-yard field goal from Evan Pantels — who made his first three attempts of the season Saturday.
Linehan converted a third-and-3 with his feet to get Idaho to the 10-yard line on the ensuing possession, then after running for a loss of 1, he found Hightower on the right side for the game-winner.
Linehan was 17-of-35 for 249 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Junior running back Aaron Duckworth ran for 90 yards and a score on 20 carries, and sophomore linebacker Kaden Elliss intercepted two passes — returning the first 31 yards for a touchdown 4:19 into the game.
Thomas (166) and quarterback Johnny Stanton (131) each eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the Rebels (1-2), and Stanton threw for 175 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
▪ Next Saturday: vs. Troy (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt), Moscow, 3 p.m.
IDAHO ST. 42, SACRAMENTO ST. 34
Michael Dean ran for 154 yards on just four carries, and the Bengals held off the Hornets in Pocatello in the Big Sky opener for both teams.
Dean scampered 62 yards near the midpoint of the second quarter to give Idaho State (2-2, 1-0) a 21-0 lead. After Sacramento State (0-4, 0-1) cut the gap to four, Tanner Gueller hit Josh Cook for a 68-yard touchdown pass, then Dean scored from 91 yards out to put the game out of reach near the end of the third.
Gueller was 26-of-34 passing for 270 yards and no turnovers to lead ISU. Cook grabbed seven passes for 118 yards, and Hayden Stout (Meridian High) and Mario Jenkins (Columbia) added 15 tackles apiece.
Nate Ketteringham threw for 327 yards and ran for 87 to lead Sacramento State.
▪ Next Saturday: at Portland State (1-3, 0-1), 3:30 p.m.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN 20, COLLEGE OF IDAHO 7
Darius-James Peterson scored for the Yotes fewer than 4 minutes into the game, but the Bears forced six turnovers to earn a Frontier Conference victory at Simplot Stadium in Caldwell.
Chase White threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns for Rocky Mountain (3-2, 3-1), which took the lead on a 16-yard pass from White to Tyrell McGee in the second quarter. Kodee Varner ran for 115 yards.
Mike Kirby (Centennial High) gained 49 on the ground for C of I (2-2, 1-2), which beat then-No. 10 Eastern Oregon last week. Quarterback Tyler Cox (Boise High) had 162 yards of total offense and five giveaways (three interceptions and two fumbles).
▪ Next Saturday: at Southern Oregon (2-2, 2-1), 2 p.m.