LAS VEGAS — Jacobi Owens returned to his hometown and rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to lead Air Force to a 48-21 victory over UNLV on Saturday.
Air Force (7-2, 3-2 Mountain West) scored on eight of its 13 drives, while two of them were kneel-down possessions to end the first half and the game.
The Falcons' high-powered rushing game led an offensive charge that saw them outgain UNLV 542-339 with 386 yards coming on the ground. Owens went to Centennial High School in Northwest Las Vegas
It was the second consecutive week the Rebels (2-8, 1-5) fell to a run-heavy offense, after New Mexico rushed for 301 yards on 61 carries last week, and went to the air just seven times. This time, it was Kale Pearson completing 5 of 6 for 115 yards and a touchdown, while he also ran for 67 yards on 15 carries and another score.
UNLV scored on the game's first possession, moving 75 yards in 13 plays in a little more than five minutes, capped by Blake Decker's 11-yard touchdown scramble.
Air Force, meanwhile, used its highly potent triple-option attack to trudge through UNLV's defense, methodically grinding out scores on all four of its first-half drives, other than kneeling out to end the first half. After a 39-yard field goal by Will Conant got the Falcons on the board, they forced the Rebels to punt and then drove 62 yards in nine plays for their first touchdown to take a 10-7 lead when D.J. Johnson rumbled in from 8 yards out, with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
After forcing another UNLV punt, the Falcons consumed 6:35 and went 78 yards in 17 plays, culminating with Pearson's 1-yard plunge to extend to 17-7. The Rebels failed to produce after a substantial drive that last 10 plays, and the Falcons wasted no time as Pearson found a wide open Jale Robinette over the middle for a catch-and-run that went 59 yards and gave Air Force a 24-7 lead.
UNLV cut the Falcons' lead to 24-14 on its next drive with 2:14 left in the half, but Air Force wasn't finished. After Jon Lee's spectacular kick return put the Falcons near midfield, they moved quickly over six plays, driving 55 yards for their fourth TD of the half to move ahead 31-14.
Decker was 18 of 32 for 263 yards and a touchdown for UNLV before getting knocked out of the game.