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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / LAS VEGAS BOWL : Bowling Green Survives Nevada Surge, 35-34

December 19, 1992|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Erik White's two-yard touchdown pass to Dave Hankins on fourth down with 22 seconds to play let Bowling Green spoil a 31-0 Nevada comeback and beat the Wolf Pack, 35-34, in the first Las Vegas Bowl.

Bowling Green, which led by 28-3 at halftime, fell behind by 34-28 during the fourth period. But with 1:48 to play, Nevada punter Steve Lester bobbled the snap and Bowling Green recovered on the Wolf Pack 15.

After driving to the three, the Falcons stalled on three plays before White found Hankins alone in the end zone.

The victory was the ninth in a row for Mid-American Conference champion Bowling Green, which finished the season 10-2. Nevada, which won the Big West in its first year of Division I play, finished 7-5.

Three poor Bowling Green punts helped Nevada back into the game during the third quarter, when backup quarterback Chris Vargas threw for two touchdowns and the Wolf Pack scored three touchdowns during a 4:27 span.

Vargas, taking over from starter Fred Gatlin, led the Wolf Pack to four consecutive second-half touchdowns.

The comeback was sparked by two successive Bowling Green punts that totaled 13 yards and a third botched punt attempt on which backup punter Rob Donahue scrambled for only five yards. Nevada scored touchdowns after all three punt attempts.

Donahue had come into the game in the second half as a replacement for starting punter Andy Tracy, who suffered a concussion.

Bowling Green dominated the first half and appeared to have the game in hand after stopping Nevada on the goal line with four seconds remaining in the first half.

But Vargas completed 12 of 21 third-quarter passes to put the Wolf Pack back in the game.

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