The Fremont Cannon has come back to southern Nevada. Despite years of inferiority, UNLV took down its in-state rival, the University of Nevada-Reno, winning 34–29 in a Red Dead Redemption for UNLV’s football program.

The win is the third UNLV win over Reno the last six years after UNR previously won eight in a row from 2005-2012. The win may have saved UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez’s job, especially after the road upset over SDSU a few weeks prior.

Despite facing early calamity, it was sophomore quarterback Armani Rogers who saved the day. Rogers and his fellow sophomore quarterback Max Gilliam split time under center against the University of Hawaii, with Rogers returning from his toe injury. There was no such split against the Wolfpack as Gilliam threw just three passes in the game. Throughout the first quarter it was all Reno.

By the end of the first quarter UNLV amassed three punts, one turnover on downs and one fumble. Reno, on the other hand, scored on all three of their completed drives, missing one extra point, and carrying a 20–0 lead into the second quarter. Finishing off their previous drive, a UNR field goal gave them a strong lead with just under 44 minutes left in the game. On the next drive, everything began to click for Rogers and the Rebels.

On the first play of the drive, Rogers completed a 20-yarder to sophomore receiver Mekhi Stevenson which was extended another 15 yards after a personal foul penalty by Reno defensive back Dameon Baber. Baber was ejected from the game for targeting. Four plays later it was a pass from Rogers to senior running back Lexington Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown. Thomas, playing in his final game with the Rebels, finished the game with 41 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards and one touchdown.

The pass from Rogers to his standout running back was the longest of the game for UNLV. With the Rebels on the board for the first time, Reno was looking to score again and put the screws on UNLV—they did not. On the drive’s first play, senior quarterback Ty Gangi threw an interception to cornerback Jocquez Kalili, another player celebrating his final career game.

The next drive was more of the same for the Rebels, working their way down the field with their ground game, setting up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to sophomore tight end Giovanni Fauolo. After back-and-forth punts, the Rebels scored their third touchdown of the game, this time on a one-yard keeper by Rogers.

Now staring at under-four minutes on the clock and a 23–21 lead, UNR drove down the field once more, looking to hold off the now-potent Rebels offense. Milking almost three minutes off the clock, senior kicker Ramiz Ahmed booted a 26-yard field goal to give UNR a halftime lead of 26–21 over UNLV. With the points flying in the first half, both teams came out of the break making defensive adjustments.

Only one drive in the quarter ended with points, an 11-play drive by the Rebels that ended with Rogers’ third touchdown pass of the game, tied for his most in a single game this season. This touchdown was the second of the season for freshman tight end Noah Bean. The score gave UNLV their first lead of the game at 28–26. With only 15 minutes left in a two-point game, this was one of the closest games between UNLV and UNR.

The Wolfpack took the break to gear up for their opening drive, running down the field and getting in position for Ahmed to try and take the lead. Ahmed’s kick was good from 36 yards away, with Reno retaking the lead at 29–28.

Rogers and the Rebels offense stalled on the next drive, forcing them to punt back to Reno in a prime opportunity to extend their lead. It only took five plays for Gangi to make a game-changing play. Deep in UNLV territory, Gangi was picked off by junior Javin White at the 15-yard line. Rogers and his trio of running backs then marched down the field in 12 plays, culminating with Rogers’ three-yard, game-winning touchdown run.

With a five-point deficit, UNR still had 2:34 to march down the field and win the game. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, it was déjà vu as Gangi’s final pass of the game was picked off by White.

Five rushers combined for the Rebels in the victory, with senior Xzaviar Campbell’s 65 yards leading the way. In the air, it was Fauolo at the top of the leaderboard. He finished the night with 52 receiving yards. While no Rebel picked up a sack in the game, the team combined for four tackles for loss. Despite a dozen opportunities between punts and kickoffs, the Wolfpack did not return a single kick throughout the game.

The 23-point comeback was not only the largest in the history of the Cannon Game, it’s also the new precedent for a comeback in UNLV history, besting the 21-point rallies that the team has completed twice in the past 42 years. UNLV finished the season with a 4–8 record, good for third in the Mountain West’s West Division. Reno ended their regular season with a bowl-eligible 7–5 record.

Now comes an offseason of questions for sure. Is Rogers still the guaranteed starter for next season? How will the team replace Lexington Thomas in their rushing attack? Will Tony Sanchez still be the head coach next season at all? Does the program carry momentum from this victory and the team’s beatdown of SDSU into the 2019–2020 season? Will next year be the year that the Rebels make their return to the slate of Bowl Games?

But at this moment, none of that matters. All that matters for Las Vegas faithful is that when they visit whatcoloristhefremontcannon.com, all they’ll see is Rebel Red staring back at them.