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Live blog: UNLV jumps out to 14-0 lead at No. 22 Fresno State

Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels running back Charles Williams (8) fends off a tackle attempt by Eastern Washington Eagles defensive back Calin Criner (4) during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Allegiant Stadium Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Updated 7 minutes ago

Fresno, Calif. — 

The Rebel Room

UNLV’s 0-3 football start

The UNLV football team has started the season 0-3, and is struggling to get consistent play from its quarterbacks. The Rebels have played four signal callers this season. We discuss all things UNLV football on this edition of the Rebel Room.

Could this be the night for UNLV football?

Charles Williams just scored a 1-yard touchdown, and suddenly UNLV finds itself with a 14-0 lead at Fresno State at the end of the first quarter.

Williams’s run capped off a 14-play, 95-yard drive that was aided by a pair of defensive penalties. UNLV has scored touchdowns on both of its possessions so far, as Doug Brumfield tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to finish a 7-play, 60-yard drive earlier in the first.

Brumfield has 63 yards passing and 38 yards rushing, while Williams has 25 yards on seven carries.

The UNLV defense has done a good job getting off the field so far, but Fresno State just picked up a couple first downs and will begin the second quarter in UNLV territory.

UNLV takes early lead at Fresno State

UNLV couldn’t have asked for a better start tonight as the team looks to upset five-touchdown favorite Fresno State.

The scarlet and gray won the opening toss and deferred, and the defense came through by forcing a 3-and-out. Doug Brumfield then ran for 37 yards on UNLV’s first play from scrimmage, then finished off the drive by hitting Steve Jenkins for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

UNLV managed to force another punt on Fresno State’s ensuing drive, so Brumfield and the offense will take over with a chance to extend the lead. With 8:40 left in the first quarter, it’s UNLV 7, Fresno State 0. 

Three keys for UNLV football at No. 22 Fresno State

UNLV will attempt to pick up its first win of the season at Fresno State tonight (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network), but it’s not going to be easy. The No. 22 Bulldogs are the third straight ranked opponent for UNLV, and the scarlet and gray have lost the previous two contests by a combined score of 85-13.

Can UNLV pull off the stunner and get its first victory since 2019? Three keys to watch:

Rivers is Wild

Fresno State’s offense is powered by All-Mountain West back Ronnie Rivers, a running/receiving threat who fileted the UNLV defense last season (19 carries, 133 yards, three touchdowns, six catches, 99 yards, one touchdown).

UNLV’s run defense has allowed 5.6 yards per attempt this season, 112th in the nation, but it’s the passing game where Rivers can really hurt. Is UNLV’s reconfigured linebacking corps capable of keeping Rivers under wraps when he sneaks out of the backfield as a pass catcher?

Brumfield is back

UNLV is glad to have a healthy Doug Brumfield back under center after he missed last week’s game against Iowa State due to injury. The offense has looked competent with Brumfield, particularly the passing game—Brumfield, a sophomore, has averaged 6.8 yards per pass attempt, while the team’s other three QBs have managed just 3.5 yards per attempt.

The question now is whether Brumfield is capable of finishing a game. He only played in relief as a freshman, and he was knocked out of his first career start (at Arizona State) after taking a big hit outside the pocket. Head coach Marcus Arroyo wants Brumfield to play smart, stay upright and stay on the field for all four quarters.

Revenge game?

Could this be the game that Charles Williams puts UNLV on his back and carries them across the finish line? The sixth-year senior (and Fresno native) has a long history of outstanding performances against FSU, as he has averaged 111.3 yards in four games against his hometown program.

The Chuck Wagon has been quiet since a big Week 1 showing, as he’s logged just 77 yards on 32 carries the last two weeks. UNLV is hoping he blows up in a big way tonight.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.



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