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Randle leads UNLV to 38-35 victory over Air Force

Associated Press Modified: September 23, 2012 at 2:02 am •  Published: September 23, 2012

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Going into Saturday night, conventional wisdom indicated Air Force's running game would control UNLV.

That logic held true for one half.

Afterward, however, the Rebels used their ground game and defense to rally from an 11-point halftime deficit and beat the Falcons, 38-35. Bradley Randle rushed for three touchdowns and Tim Cornett ran for 114 yards and a score.

Freshman Nick Sherry completed 23 of 32 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown, and the Rebels (1-3, 1-0 Mountain West) held off the Falcons in the final seconds at midfield.

"When the clock hit zeroes, we all just went crazy on the sideline," Sherry said. "We have been fighting so hard these last three weeks and to come so close, it really takes a toll on you."

UNLV lost three home games by a combined 14 points against Minnesota, Northern Arizona and Washington State.

After the Rebels gave up 180 first-quarter rushing yards and trailed 14-7, they outrushed the Falcons 199-172 in the final three quarters.

"The message at halftime was that we needed to tackle better and play the cut block on the edge better," UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. "On the offensive side of the ball, it was keep doing what we are doing. That's what happens when people stick with it. We have a lot of pride in that locker room."

The Rebels trailed 28-17 at halftime before scoring 21 unanswered points on Randle scoring runs of 1 and 9 yards and William Vea's 7-yard TD reception with 6:56 remaining.

"Bradley's finishes were physical," Hauck said. "He obviously smelled the goal line."

Cody Getz rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown for Air Force (1-2, 0-1), and quarterback Connor Dietz ran for 68 yards. He was 3 of 9 for 90 yards passing.

"(UNLV) was the hungrier team," Dietz said. "They wanted it more in the second half. You can't take too many plays off. Unfortunately, we did that too many times. (UNLV) was fast and physical."

The Falcons finished with 352 yards rushing.

Air Force cut the UNLV lead to 38-35 on a Dietz 3-yard run with 4:41 remaining.

The Rebels and Hauck gambled on their next possession, going for it on fourth and inches on their 34. Sherry fell forward for 3 yards.

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