Nov 2, 2003
By PETE HERRERA
AP Sports Writer
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Jamaal Brimmer's 62-yard fourth quarter interception return, one of six New Mexico turnovers, gave UNLV a 37-35 win Saturday night.
UNLV (5-4, 1-3 MWC) snapped a three-game losing streak and ended New Mexico's four-game winning streak.
UNLV converted most of New Mexico's mistakes - three fumbles and three interceptions - into points, with Brimmer's untouched return TD of a Casey Kelly pass the eventual game-winner.
New Mexico (5-4, 2-2 MWC) had cut the Rebels' lead to 30-28 on an 8-yard TD run by Kelly and the Lobos were in UNLV territory again when Kelly threw the ball right into Brimmer's hands with just over six minutes left in the game. Brimmer raced down the right sideline for a 37-28 UNLV lead.
The Lobos, who would have moved into second place in the Mountain West Conference with a win, came right back with an 85-yard, 12-play drive, that ended with DonTrell Moore scoring from a yard out.
New Mexico then forced UNLV to punt and took over the ball at its own 20 with 3:00 remaining and no timeouts left. That last chance ended when Kelly's third-down pass was tipped in the air and intercepted by Rebels linebacker Ryan Claridge. UNLV then ran out the clock.
UNLV safety Joe Miklos recovered two fumbles and had an interception. He returned a fumble by Moore 61 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, the ball bouncing out of Moore's hands and into Miklos'.
There were plenty of other big plays by UNLV's defense, which more than made up for the loss of starting quarterback Kurt Nantkes to an injury in the second quarter.
Nantkes was replaced by sophomore Scott Turner, the son of Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The younger Turner completed just 3 of 6 passes for 12 yards. Kelly, meanwhile, completed 23 of 38 passes for 408 yards, but the Lobos could not overcome the turnovers.
Moore rushed for 130 yards on 17 carries, the most yards giving up by UNLV to an opposing back this season. Moore, who fumbled twice, also threw a 21-yard halfback option touchdown pass to Adrian Boyd.
UNLV's Dillon Pieffer kicked three field goals, including a career-best 50-yarder with 2:24 left in the third quarter. That score was set up by a roughing the kicker penalty on the Lobos.