LAS VEGAS — Caylin Newton accounted for 330 total offensive yards and three touchdowns to lead 45-point underdog and FCS-member Howard to a stunning 43-40 win Saturday night in the season opener and debut for new Bison coach Mike London.
Howard spoiled the start of UNLV’s 50th season of play with the biggest upset in college football history based on point spread. Stanford held the previous record when it was declared a 40-point underdog against USC in 2007 and beat the Trojans.
The Rebels started the game flagged for offside on the opening kickoff, and at one point, the officials stopped a play because UNLV’s cheerleaders were still on the field.
As for the former Virginia coach, he inherited a team that was 3-19 in the last two seasons that included losses last year of 52-13 to Maryland, 52-14 against Rutgers, and in 2015, suffered a 49-0 loss to Appalachian State and a 76-0 defeat against Boston College.
Howard raced to a 21-9 lead when Devin Rollins returned a fumble for a 75-yard score. The Rebels responded by reeling off 24 consecutive points and led 33-21 when Charles Williams plunged in from a yard out with 6:45 left in the third.
Anthony Philyaw posted touchdown runs of 3 and 11 yards respectively to put the Bison back up 36-33. Lexington Thomas scored for UNLV for a 40-36 lead, and Newton concluded the scoring with a 4-yard run with 7:34 left to play.
Newton had 21 carries for 190 yards and two scores and passed for 140 and a score.
Thomas had 21 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Armani Rogers passed for 220 yards and a touchdown for UNLV.