One second remained on the clock when UNLV trotted out walk-on Brian McIntyre to attempt a game-tying 55-yard field goal against New Mexico on Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium.
That was the question going through the press box. McIntyre’s name wasn’t listed on the numerical roster on the flip cards printed for the media and doesn’t have a bio in the school’s media guide. The junior from Arbor View High School had never attempted a PAT or field goal for UNLV and now, because of an injury to normal long distance field goal kicker Nicolai Bornand, was being asked to send the game into overtime where the Rebels would have a shot at keeping their slim hopes of finishing with a winning record alive.
McIntyre smashed a low line drive that barely made it over the line of scrimmage but kept going. And going. And going.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, there would be no Cinderella ending to this one. The kick went just under the crossbar – several witnesses by the goal posts said it missed the crossbar by about a foot — and the Lobos (3-5, 1-3 MW) held on for the Mountain West victory before an announced crowd of 13,419.
The loss means UNLV (2-7, 1-4), which entered the season with the goal of trying to make it to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, will finish with a losing record for the fourth time in five seasons under Bobby Hauck and also for the 10th time in the last 11 campaigns.
“I kind of thought it was over the post. I guess it was just under,” Hauck said. “It was between the uprights. I thought he made it.”
Several media members wanted to ask McIntyre about the try and his background afterward but were denied because, well, a PR person didn’t know what he looked like.
“That would have been a great story had he made it,” Hauck said.
The Rebels, who fell behind 17-0 in the first half, had rallied to take a 28-24 lead on a 3-yard run by Keith Whitely with 8:28 remaining.
But New Mexico answered with a 15-play, 66-yard drive that chewed up almost seven minutes on the clock and was capped by a 3-yard TD run by Teriyon Gipson to go back ahead 31-28 with 1:22 left.
The Rebels final drive was comically inept with quarterback Blake Decker, who completed 28-of-44 passes for 271 yards but was intercepted twice, taking a sack instead of simply throwing the ball away, and then completing a short pass over the middle to tight end Taylor Barnhill to waste a total of about 40 seconds off the clock.
Still, the Rebels made it the New Mexico 38 thanks to a 13-yard run by Decker, a 12-yard pass to Whitely and, after their final timeout, a 11-yard pass to Devonte Boyd.
Enter McIntyre for what would have been a school-record 55-yarder that just went under the crossbar.
“It’s frustrating,” safety Mike Horsey, who had a game-high 14 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, said. “We’ve kind of been the story of almost there but just can’t find a way to finish it, where almost is not good enough. Our record speaks for that. It’s a little frustrating.”
UNLV, which sputtered badly for most of the first half against the nation’s 114th ranked defense, rallied to finish with big edges in total yards (485 to 306) and first downs (29 to 18) but still came up short.
The Rebels return to action on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium when they host Air Force (6-2, 2-2) at 1 p.m.
PHOTO BY JEREMY RINCON