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New FSM Preview: UNLV vs Idaho St – Week 1

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Rebels (1-0)  |  Idaho State Bengals (0-1)

 

The UNLV Rebels kicked off their 2022 season with an emphatic win over the Idaho State Bengals. The victory was the largest winning margin in the Marcus Arroyo coaching era, as the Rebels won 52-21.

 

UNLV vs Idaho St.
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV put a solid recruiting class on display and took new starting quarterback Doug Brumfield to one of their more dominant wins in recent memory. This was an environment that was the polar opposite from the majority of UNLV games last year, with no nail-biting or worries throughout two halves of ball.

In what may be the strongest recruiting class in recent memory for UNLV football, it is safe to say the production from the offensive side of the ball was noticeable as the Rebels took a 45-7 lead into halftime.

At the end of the first half, quarterback Doug Brumfield had thrown for 356 yards and four touchdowns, going 21 for 25 passing and no turnovers. Brumfield found his groove with his brand new wide receiving core, as he found new target, Michigan State transfer Ricky White, for two touchdowns, eight catches, for a total of 182 yards receiving.

 

UNLV vs Idaho St.
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Brumfield also reconnected with returning Rebels Kyle Williams and Zyell Griffin, who both reeled in touchdowns. In addition, new running back Aidan Robbins would find himself involved early, not only on the ground with two rushing touchdowns but also one receiving. The Louisville transfer didn’t play in the second half but showed that he gets stronger as the game progresses and receives more touches.

The notion that UNLV would be a running back by committee was also a fallacy. Robbins received every touch by a running back in the first quarter and rarely came off the field.

Robbins headlines a running back room replacing Charles Williams, who was an every-down back for multiple seasons for the Rebels. Robbins carried the ball ten times for 35 yards, while his counterpart Courtney Reese was impressive with his touches in relief of Robbins, rushing for 73 yards off of six carries.

 

The Rebels’ defense shows a considerable improvement in the season opener.

 

UNLV vs Idaho St.
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

New energy is evident when it comes to this Rebels’ defense. An incredible play from veteran leader Austin Ajiake in the first quarter set a tone on defense for the remainder of the game.

Ajiake perfectly read a screenplay to the left, where he was able to cut the route and reel in his first interception of the season. Ajiake led the defense with ten tackles, and Bishop Gorman’s own Adam Plant Jr had a sack with eight tackles.

The Rebel’s defense was relentless on the Idaho State offensive line, as the Rebels defense totaled five sacks in the 31-point victory. While also shutting out the Bengals in the second quarter, which helped the offense put up 35 unanswered points.

UNLV’s defense showed significant improvement in this win, yet the coaching staff will look for more as the Rebels will gear up for a much higher-powered offense in a couple of weeks against California. UNLV’s defense dealt with penalties allowing a free 63 yards off of seven flags and allowing the Bengals to convert 100% of their fourth down conversions.

With a week off and an opportunity in this win to see depth players play in a game, coach Arroyo and his staff will look to prepare and build off of this defensive performance. Nevertheless, this was a vast improvement in defensive effort and a major reason why the Rebels were able to dominate the scoreboard.

 

Depth players receive quality reps in blow-out victory.

 

UNLV vs Idaho St.
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The second half slowed down drastically compared to the onslaught in the first. Harrison Bailey, a transfer from Tennessee, was under center in the third quarter. However, Bailey went three-for-eight for only 26 yards while also being sacked three times. Returning Rebel QB Cameron Friel also made an appearance in the fourth quarter, closing out the game going two-for-two with 23 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Jordan Younge-Humphrey had a huge explosive run in the fourth quarter for 30-yards and closed his day off with four carries and 48 yards. UNLV’s depth put only seven points on the board in the second half, but the coaching staff could finally see their talent perform in a game situation.

 

 UNLV start their season 1-0 for the first time since 2019. The Rebels will now enjoy an extra week of preparation as they gear up for a trip to Cal Berkeley for a first-ever meeting with the Golden Bears on September 10th.

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Brandon Steele – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Brandon on Twitter @SteeleBomb17

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Photography by TQ and Kyla LaCoste for Franchise Sports Media