LAS VEGAS (AP) Jose Pizano made a 36-yard field goal with five seconds left Saturday to give UNLV a 40-37 victory over Vanderbilt in a wild fourth quarter.

The winning kick was set up when Rebels backup quarterback Jayden Maiava completed a 48-yard pass to Ricky White to Vanderbilt's 18-yard line. That play came shortly after Vanderbilt kicker Jacob Borcila missed a 33-yard field goal to the right with 44 seconds remaining.

Vanderbilt (2-2) trailed 30-17 in the fourth quarter, but rallied to tie it before both teams traded touchdowns in the final 2:23. Then came the final kicks - one that missed and one that split the uprights.

Maiava, a redshirt freshman from Las Vegas who was forced into action in the first quarter, completed 19 of 33 passes for 261 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also ran for a 24-yard TD.

“I told coach I was ready,” Maiava said. “He was confident in me, and the team's got my back, so I've got theirs.”

White caught 12 passes for 165 yards, and none was bigger than the one that set up the winning field goal. The Rebels could've played it safe, but decided to take a shot deep rather than settle for overtime after converting a third-and-6 from their 24-yard line.

“Once we got the first down, we got into the position I said, ‘Go for it,’” UNLV coach Barry Odom said. “Thankfully, guys stepped up. Players will make plays, and you put them in position through repetition and habits and execution. I'd rather not have to do that every week, but that's what it took today.”

Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann, who injured his elbow toward the end of the first half but later returned, was 16 of 35 for 296 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. London Humphreys caught three passes for 102 yards and a TD.

UNLV (2-1) lost starting quarterback Doug Brumfield to injury in the first quarter, and linebacker Jackson Woodard - whose 20 tackles led the Rebels entering the game - was ejected for targeting in the second period. Odom said he expected Brumfield to be medically cleared.

The Commodores dominated early, taking a 17-0 lead after the first quarter while controlling the line of scrimmage. They held UNLV to 11 yards and one first down in that period, setting the tone early with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Martel Hight.

But then the Commodores were the ones who made the mistakes in the second quarter. A botched punt snap, a mishandled pitch on an end-around and an interception right before halftime helped UNLV storm back to take a 20-17 lead into the break.

“I don't believe that our side deserved to win tonight," Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. “I don't believe that we played to a level that would've allowed us to win that game.”

UNLV scored 10 points in the third quarter to build on the lead before the Commodores staged their own rally with 13 points in the fourth to tie the game and set up the wacky final minutes.


Vanderbilt: The Commodores were a mess with mistakes. After playing so well in the first quarter, Vandy all but handed UNLV the game in the second period and then didn't take advantage of a golden opportunity in the final minute. To play like that against a team that seldom competes in the Mountain West is a terrible sign for Vanderbilt’s bowl hopes heading into SEC play.

UNLV: This was a measuring-stick game for the Rebels, who opened the season with the expected victory over FCS team Bryant and the expected loss to No. 2 Michigan. They entered the season with high hopes to playing in the first bowl in 10 years, and the resiliency to overcome their own set of errors could be what the Rebels need to reach that goal.


Vanderbilt: Hosts Kentucky next Saturday to open SEC play.

UNLV: Finishes the nonconference schedule with a trip to UTEP next Saturday.


AP college football: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.