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'Pokes lasso comeback win over Rebels

Wyoming quarterback Karsten Sween stiff-arms UNLV defender Tony Cade on Saturday in Laramie.
Wyoming quarterback Karsten Sween stiff-arms UNLV defender Tony Cade on Saturday in Laramie.
Ben Woloszyn, Associated Press

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Unfortunately for UNLV, Karsten Sween found his groove.

Sween entered at quarterback for Wyoming in the second quarter and was promptly intercepted, then in the third quarter was picked off again — this time for a Rebels touchdown.

But Sween finished out with three long scoring drives. And the third ended with a 3-yard pass to Wade Betschart that gave Wyoming a 29-24 win on Saturday.

"Karsten did come in and finally dialed it in," Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.

Betschart caught his touchdown with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter. Wyoming (5-3, 2-2 Mountain West Conference) failed on a 2-point attempt, but the Rebels (2-7, 1-4) never got back within scoring range.

In the third quarter, Sween connected with David Leonard on a 21-yard passing play to put Wyoming just two points behind UNLV, 17-15. Sween failed to run in a 2-pointer, but Glenn said the touchdown was the turnaround point for Wyoming.

"We got it going," he said. "Throw away the stats. We found a way to win, and that's what is most important."

Devin Moore had a 1-yard touchdown run for a 23-17 Cowboys lead early in the fourth. UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton responded with a 1-yard touchdown run of his own, and the Rebels briefly led, 24-23, until Betschart's reception a few minutes later.

Sween was first intercepted on only his second throw after replacing Hetrick. When Sween was intercepted in the third quarter, Beau Bell returned the ball 11 yards for a touchdown and a 17-9 Rebels lead.

Sween, however, ended up with not only vindication against UNLV, but at least some affirmation after Ian Hetrick was chosen to start due to Sween's 12 interceptions heading into the game.

Hetrick threw no interceptions but completed just 5 of 16 before being replaced.

"We've really been struggling more than any other team that I've been with in a long time," Glenn said. "You just keep plugging away at it, and I knew sooner or later we would find a rhythm. The players practice hard, work too hard and have a lot of talent.

"Karsten, with the most experience, we felt like he should be the one out there," Glenn added. "I love Ian, he is a great guy but just doesn't have very much experience."

Sween completed just one of his first six pass attempts, yet managed to finish 8 of 17 for 92 yards; Clayton was 21 of 39 for 223 yards.

Moore led Wyoming with 93 yards rushing.

Both teams racked up penalties. Wyoming had 11 for a loss of 120 yards. UNLV had 14 for a loss of 113 yards.

"Unfortunately it's very simple," Rebels coach Mike Sanford said. "We had too many penalties and we had too many personal fouls to win the game."

UNLV took a 10-9 lead in the second quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Sergio Aguayo and a 22-yard reception by Casey Flair.

Wyoming got ahead 9-0 in the first quarter on three field goals of 37, 33 and 44 yards, all of them kicked by Billy Vinnedge.