FSM Essential Recap: Week 11 – UNLV vs San Diego State


UNLV Rebels (2-9) | San Diego State Aztecs (10-1)


The Rebels lost their sixth one-score game in a 28-20 loss to the San Diego State Aztecs on Friday night


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

It was yet another close game for the UNLV Rebels that head coach Marcus Arroyo said after they should have won. It was Senior Night, and the Rebels honored Farrell Hester II, Julio Garcia, Noah Bean, Giovanni Fauolo, Aaron Lewis, Vic Viramontes, Eliel Ehimare, and one of the greatest Rebels to ever lace em’ up in scarlet and gray, Charles Williams. UNLV also had former Rebel greats Steve Stallworth and Icky Woods in attendance against San Diego State. The energy was high, and UNLV came out on fire.

On their first drive, the Rebels marched down the field, going 72 yards on ten plays to the San Diego State three-yard line and converting a field goal early in the first quarter to go up 3-0 over the Aztecs. However, that was short-lived as UNLV quarterback Cameron Friel threw a pick-six on the ensuing drive that put the Aztecs up over UNLV, 7-3.

After a couple of solid defensive stands by the Rebels, where they only gave up 35 yards total to the Aztecs that helped keep the game within reach. Starting quarterback Cam Friel went down with an injury and would not return. The star of the game, who actually started the first game for the Rebels, was Justin Rogers. The Rebel quarterback came in and threw a few nice balls to Charles Williams for a big gain and then again to wide receiver Zyell Griffin for 43 yards and touchdown that put the Rebels up 10-7.

This would be the last time the Rebels would lead in this game as they gave up a pair of touchdowns to the Aztecs on their next two possessions, including leaving San Diego State wide receiver Jesse Matthews wide open for a 24-yard score to end the half.


It was San Diego State leading UNLV 21-10 at halftime. The Rebels were looking for a spark to start the second half, and they got one.


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

The Rebels came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, getting a defensive stop on the first possession of the third quarter for the San Diego State Aztecs. Then came Justin Rogers, again, throwing a dime. This time it was a strike down the sideline, but this time to Steve Jenkins for an 80-yard catch-and-run. A few plays later, Rogers would throw another strike to senior tight end Giovanni Fauolo for an eight-yard score to pull the Rebels within a touchdown, 21-17.

Steve Jenkins had another huge grab for the Rebels on the ensuing drive as Rogers hit him on a 39-yard catch-and-run to the Aztec four-yard line. The Rebels would end up kicking another field goal inside the ten-yard line, and this time the score was 21-20, with the Aztecs still clinging to a one-score game.

It was hard for the Rebels to do anything after this; after a few excellent Aztec punts, punter Matt Araiza pinned UNLV deep in their territory, and the Rebels could not get anything going with the momentum leaning towards the Aztecs at this point.


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

When the Aztecs had the ball on their second-to-last possession, they scored a touchdown to go up by eight (28-20), which was aided by two things: a 15-yard facemask penalty by UNLV’s Adam Plant Jr., after the Rebels couldn’t get going after being pinned inside their own ten and punting from the endzone.

Following the Aztec touchdown, the Rebels had one more opportunity with 3:33 remaining in the game. After a couple of completions to move the chains, Rogers threw a game-deciding interception at the San Diego State 45 on fourth down.

This gave San Diego State the ball back with 1:45 remaining in the game, and after UNLV burnt their second timeout on their previous drive awaiting what they thought would be a penalty, the Aztecs would punt (which was blocked), as time ran out and the ball rolled to its final resting place. The final score was 28-20, San Diego State over UNLV, the Rebels‘ fourth game, and another close loss against a top 25 opponent.

After relieving the injured Cameron Friel, Justin Rogers went 15/21 for 305 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while wide receiver Steve Jenkins had five receptions for 176 yards. Star running back Charles Williams had 16 carries for 35 yards against one of the top rushing defenses in college football. Williams also added three receptions for 59 yards.


UNLV plays their final game of the season on Friday. The Rebels travel to Colorado to take on the Air Force Academy. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network, with kick-off scheduled for 12:30.

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– Joe Arrigo

– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeArrigoFSM

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