Long Beach St. 29, UNLV 20
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Todd Studer threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Long Beach State beat Nevada-Las Vegas 29-20 on Saturday, giving the 49ers a winning season in George Allen’s first year as coach.
The 49ers (6-5 overall, 4-3 Big West Conference) finished with a winning record for the first time since the 1986 team was 6-5. Long Beach won six of its last eight games after starting 0-3.
UNLV (4-7, 3-4) lost three fumbles, setting up 10 Long Beach points.
″The defense did a heck of a job today,″ said Allen, 72, who returned to college coaching after a 34-year absence. UNLV ″had a heck of a running game, but our defense really took the ball away and stopped them. This is probably one of our best efforts this year.
″This was our bowl game today,″ Allen added.
Allen coached the Los Angeles Rams for five seasons and the Washington Redskins for seven. He had been inactive as a coach since 1984, when he coached Arizona of the USFL.
Studer threw to nine difference receivers, completing 17 of 35 passes for 207 yards, with two interceptions. He rushed for 36 more.
The turning point came late in the first half, after Derek Black scored on a 5-yard run with 1:11 left to give the Rebels a 14-9 lead. Studer moved the 49ers 65 yards on just six plays, throwing a 23-yard scoring pass to tight end Joel Glick with six seconds left before halftime to give the 49ers the lead for good, 16-14.
The only score of the third quarter was Sean Cheevers’ 30-yard field goal, set up when David Riley recovered a fumble at the Long Beach 36.
Studer threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Jeff Exum on the first play of fourth quarter to cap a 79-yard, 10 play drive, and Cheevers kicked a 39-yard field goal with 3:45 to play for a 29-14 lead.
UNLV scored with 2:41 left, on a 9-yard pass from Derek Stott to Keenan McCardell.
UNLV scored first, on Stott’s 9-yard pass to Hernandez Cooper. Long Beach went ahead 9-2, following Chris Stetz’s tackle of Stott in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first quarter and Studer’s 4-yard run early in the second quarter. That score was set up when Leon Patterson recovered a fumble at the UNLV 2.