UNLV vs San Diego State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

New FSM Season Recap: 2021 UNLV Football

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Rebels (2-10)

 

The UNLV Running Rebels finished their 2021 season with a 2-10 record.

 

UNLV vs San Diego State
Photo Credit: Quincy Hatcher/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV had a more successful season than in 2020 and showed a lot of promise in some of their matchups. The Rebels played up to some of their opponents, forcing the games into close situations and putting themselves in a position to win games in which many bettors believed they should not have come close.

The offense and defense had a lot of internal and external challenges throughout the season, as both sides of the ball struggled at times. However, the Rebels did have some big highlights on the season, including snapping their two-year winless streak with a victory against the New Mexico Lobos and turning it into a two-game winning streak with a win against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors the following week.

Charles Williams, by far, was the best running back on the team this year. In nine games, Williams carried the ball 207 times and gained 1,076 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 119.56 yards per game. Williams scored 14 touchdowns on the season, including a three-touchdown game against the Utah State Aggies, where he also broke his season-long run of 75 yards.

 

 

The Rebels had a quarterback crisis throughout the first half of the season.

 

UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: Quincy Hatcher/Franchise Sports Media

Injuries and inexperience resulted in a carousel seeing multiple starters until the team stuck with Cam Friel by the season’s midway point. In nine games, Friel attempted 226 passes and completed 141 for a completion percentage of 62.39%. Friel gained 1,608 yards with a season-long play of 75 yards and scored six touchdowns but threw 11 interceptions.

This season, Doug Brumfield missed time with back and ankle injuries, but he adds another dimension to the offense when healthy. UNLV will have a very good quarterback situation next season with both of them in the room.

On the receiving end, the top duo all season was Steve Jenkins and Kyle Williams. Jenkins led UNLV receivers in all categories except for average yards per game. Jenkins appeared in all 12 games this season, catching 46 passes for a total of 694 yards while averaging 15.09 yards per catch and having a season-long play of 80 yards. Jenkins averaged 57.83 yards per game while scoring four receiving touchdowns. Williams appeared in 10 games, having 42 receptions for 601 yards, averaging 14.31 yards per catch, and having a season-long play of 75 yards. Williams averaged 60.1 yards per game and scored two touchdowns for UNLV.

Kicker Daniel Gutierrez was very efficient for the number of opportunities given to him this season. Out of 15 field goal attempts, Gutierrez converted on 13 of them, including going a perfect 9-9 on kicks inside of 40 yards and 4-6 on kicks longer than 40 yards. Gutierrez also went 2-3 on kicks from 50 yards out or deeper, with a season-long of 53 yards.

The offense for the Rebels was a struggle for a lot of the season as production proved difficult due to mismatches with many opponents. However, the Rebels ran 726 plays this season, gaining 3,747 yards while averaging 5.16 yards per play. The team averaged 312.2 yards per game of total offense and scored 29 touchdowns in 2021.

 

UNLV ranked 120th overall in the FBS in total offense.

 

UNLV
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

On the defensive side of the ball, the Rebels ranked 89th in the FBS in overall defense. UNLV struggled to contain their opponents for most of the season; their best effort came against Hawaii when the team held the Rainbow Warriors to just 13 points. But the Rebels did show up in short and goal-line situations. So there was an improvement overall, and that gives Rebels fans reason for hope next season.

In the 12-game season, the defense faced 799 plays, the opponents averaged 408.4 yards per game, and UNLV gave up a total of 4,901 yards and 49 touchdowns to opposing offenses. UNLV also finished one game behind an NCAA record, losing six games by one score or less. Nevertheless, head coach Marcus Arroyo and the Rebels are on the cusp of turning the program around and making a long run at the Mountain West Conference championship.

 

The main focus for this offseason is to create more depth along the offensive and defensive lines, continue rebuild the team in Coach Arroyo’s likeness, find ways to improve in close game situations, and contend for a Bowl Game appearance.

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Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Matt on Twitter @RecordBowlerFSM

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