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CS Long Beach Finishes as Winner : Big West: Allen salutes fans after 29-20 victory over UNLV gives 49ers a 6-5 record.


His first season at Cal State Long Beach a success, Coach George Allen saluted a cheering crowd amid a swirl of confetti Saturday afternoon after the 49ers had defeated Nevada Las Vegas, 29-20, before 4,649 in Veterans Stadium.

It was the first winning season since 1986 for Long Beach, which finished 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the Big West Conference.

Allen, 72, who last had a losing record in 1954 when he was at Whittier College, has now had 17 consecutive winning seasons as a head coach--two with Whittier, five with the Rams, seven with the Washington Redskins, one each with USFL teams Chicago and Arizona, where he last coached in 1984, and one with Long Beach.

"There will never be another football season like this one," said Allen, whose team got off to an 0-3 start, including a 59-0 loss at Clemson in the opener. "In my whole coaching career, this is my most rewarding experience. We stuck together, worked hard and never gave up."

The 49ers had to come from behind after Las Vegas (4-7, 3-4) had taken a 14-9 lead on a 70-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Derek Black with 1:11 left in the first half.

With nine seconds left in the half, 49er quarterback Todd Studer, with a defender grabbing his legs, threw a 23-yard scoring pass to tight end Joel Glick that gave Long Beach the lead for good.

A 30-yard field goal by Sean Cheevers extended the lead to 19-14, then Studer threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Exum on the first play of the fourth quarter. Cheevers made it 29-14 when he kicked a 39-yard field goal.

The Long Beach defense, playing one of its best games, held the Rebels scoreless in the second half until Derek Stott hit Keenan McCardell with a nine-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left.

Studer completed 17 of 35 passes for 207 yards, but it was the 49ers' running that wore down Las Vegas. Of their 231 yards on the ground, Rickey Clark had 87 yards and Herman Nash had 54.

The 49ers, who had lost four games in a row to Las Vegas, finished 6-0 at home for the first time.

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