The game wasn’t really in doubt, but UNLV’s defense had given up two consecutive 70-plus yard touchdown drives. Then a poor kick return and a penalty had UNLV starting a possession at its own five yard line.
Two plays into the drive, Armani Rogers faked a handoff to Lexington Thomas then fired a ball towards Devonte Boyd at midfield.
In a game where UNLV had three touchdowns of over 60 yards, this was the most impressive. And it was set up well by UNLV. First, Lexington Thomas had been gashing Idaho. He carried the ball 17 times for 190 yards, including two touchdowns of more than 60 yards.
Idaho could not stop him. But most of Thomas’ carries came out of the Rebels zone read in shotgun formations. Backed up near their own endzone, UNLV went under center.
With a 34-16 lead, UNLV appeared to be playing it safe. Under center, two tight ends and a first down run right up the middle.
But on second down, the Rebels went play action and turned Armani Rogers loose.
But the key to the play was Lexington Thomas. Not only did his previous succes running through Idaho’s defense set this play up, but his pass blocking gave Rogers the time deliver a clean throw down field.
Idaho blitzes its cornerback lined up over Boyd on the far side. After faking the run up the middle, Thomas manages to get all the way to the right side of the pocket to get a body on the free rushing corner.
Earlier in the game, Rogers threw an interception when he was hit as he tried to throw over the middle. Thomas’ vision and quickness allowed Rogers and Boyd the time to create a big play.
For Rogers, the play was as simple as seeing his star receiver open. "I just saw him running with the safety and nobody else by him. So I said, 'I'm going to air this out and let him do what he does best with the ball in his hands.'"
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.