LAS VEGAS Remember that two-game winning streak Utah State enjoyed at the end of the 2007 season?
Well, the Aggies can forget about it, too.
For the fourth time in as many years with Brent Guy as the coach, Utah State opened the season with a loss this time a 27-17 defeat at the hands of UNLV.
Utah State started well, moving the ball with relative ease, while forcing the Rebels into punting situations on defense.
But after UNLV which, like USU, was starting a new quarterback and a slew of other new players settled down, the Rebels picked apart the Aggies' defense with an efficient running game and a passing game that wisely chose its spots.
Paced by senior tailback Frank Summers and junior receiver Ryan Wolfe, UNLV dominated the game during the final three quarters and never allowed Utah State to mount a serious threat to reclaim control of the contest.
After the Aggies fumbled away their first scoring chance midway through the first quarter when a lateral pass from Setzer to Marquis Charles was dropped, the Rebels got on the board first when quarterback Omar Clayton connected with Wolfe on a 9-yard crossing route.
It didn't take long for the Aggies to strike back, though, as Robert Turbin rewarded Guy's confidence in the offense by catapulting his body end over end for a 1-yard touchdown on a gutsy fourth-down play to start the second quarter.
That play came on the heels of an almost-touchdown a few plays earlier.
Turbin took an inside screen from Sean Setzer and danced around a handful of tacklers before he dove for the pylon on the left sideline and was initially awarded a 24-yard touchdown. UNLV, however, asked for the play to be reviewed because the ball appeared to be coming out of Turbin's hands before he crossed the line. The review showed Turbin stepped on the sideline before fumbling averting what might have been a demoralizing Utah State turnover.
The momentum from that series didn't last long, though, as UNLV scored the next 17 points to take control.
Clayton and Wolfe connected again in the third quarter on a 32-yard catch and run to make the score 24-7 with 9:44 to go on the period.
The Aggies, who opened the game with an impressive 130 yards in the first quarter, sputtered rest of the way. USU gained just 86 yards in the second and third quarters, combined.
Setzer, who threw for 123 yards on 10-of-17 passing before being replaced by sophomore Diondre Borel early in the third quarter, didn't get back into the game as Guy tried to keep the Rebels off balance with Dorel's running.
And though Borel did provide a spark in the second half, it was not nearly enough to overcome the 27-10 lead UNLV had built.
Borel finished off the game and led Utah State in rushing with 69 yards on 14 carries. His fourth-quarter drive ended with an 8-yard touchdown throw with 2:16 to play, but came too late to turn the game around.Utah State finished with 314 offensive yards, but allowed 354.