College football: Howard pulls off biggest point-spread upset with win over UNLV

Howard coach Mike London embraces defensive back Aaron Walker before the start of their game against UNLV on Saturday night.
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Some are calling Howard’s 43-40 defeat of UNLV on Saturday night in Las Vegas the biggest upset in college football history, and by point-spread standards it appears to be true.

Caylin Newton (Cam Newton’s brother) accounted for 330 total offensive yards and three touchdowns to lead the 45-point underdog and FCS-member Bison to the season-opening win in the debut of coach Mike London.

Although no line was available on the game in Vegas, ESPN reported that some offshore books were giving 600-1 odds on Howard winning the game.

Associated Press reported that the previously biggest upset by point spread went to Stanford, which was declared a 40-point underdog against USC in 2007 and beat the Trojans 24-23 on a last-minute touchdown pass and point-after kick.


It also happens to be the weekend of the 10-year anniversary of perhaps the biggest upset in college football history when FCS school Appalachian State went to Ann Arbor and defeated Michigan 34-32. Although there were no odds archived for the game, one bookmaker told ESPN that the Wolverines were a 31- to 33-point favorite.

The Rebels started the game Saturday 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.

Howard opened a 21-9 lead when Devin Rollins returned a fumble 75 yards for a score. The Rebels responded by reeling off 24 consecutive points to take a 33-21 lead when Charles Williams plunged in from a yard out with 6:45 left in the third quarter.

Anthony Philyaw posted touchdown runs of three and 11 yards to put the Bison back in front 36-33. Lexington Thomas scored for UNLV for a 40-36 lead, and Newton concluded the scoring with a four-yard run with 7:34 left in the fourth quarter. Newton had 21 carries for 190 yards and two scores and passed for 140 and a touchdown.

Thomas rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns in 21 carries and Armani Rogers passed for 220 yards and a touchdown for UNLV.