UNLV Football        
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

New FSM Season Breakdown: UNLV Football – 2021

Franchise Sports Media


The UNLV Rebels football team has entered their bye week in a season that has featured its ups and downs as well as possible signs towards more success in the near future.


UNLV Football
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Despite starting this season 0-5 and not having won a regular-season game since the 2019 season, the UNLV Rebels are looking ahead for what’s to come for the remainder of the 2021 campaign. The Rebels have had a tumultuous first few weeks, from injuries to their starters to tough losses, but have shown noticeable improvements and bursts of greatness in the two weeks leading up to the bye week.

It’s not like the Rebels have had an easy schedule to start the season. Five teams in college football have played three AP Top 25 opponents. Those five teams are Alabama, Stanford, Indiana, Arkansas, and UNLV. The combined record of those five teams the Rebels have faced is 21-5 and a combined winning percentage of 80.77%. That is a tough start to any season for any program, no matter who you are, Alabama and Clemson included (keep in mind they always play a couple of cupcake games to start the season).

The Rebels are getting better on the field and have a solid locker room. Health has been one of their biggest enemies having four quarterbacks go down to injury. Justin Rogers, Doug Brumfield, Tate Martell, and Cam Friel all have been dealing with injuries. Kyle Williams, Phil Hill, Ricky Johnson, and Adam Plant Jr. also have missed time due to injury. The team’s attitude hasn’t wavered. Rather than give up on the season, they are angry that they are winless and more determined to turn the season around.


Now let’s look back at those first five games that the Rebels played in 2021.


UNLV Football
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels started the season with a Week 1 matchup at Allegiant Stadium against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Running back Charles Williams dominated the running game with 172 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns. Quarterback Doug Brumfield added a rushing touchdown of his own. The game went from being a low-scoring defensive duel to a high-scoring affair, as it went to overtime thanks to 14 unanswered points from the Rebels in the fourth quarter. Each team scored a touchdown in the first overtime, but in the second overtime, it was Eastern Washington scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to seal the 35-33 victory.

UNLV’s Week 2 matchup saw a road game against the No. 22 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. Arizona State controlled the game from the get-go as UNLV struggled to gain momentum. The Rebels‘ lone touchdown came as a rushing touchdown from Brumfield, who went down with an injury shortly after. The Sun Devils dominated the rest of the game after being down 3-0 after the first quarter, holding the Rebels scoreless the entire second half, and ran away with a 37-10 victory over UNLV.

Week 3 featured UNLV welcoming the Iowa State Cyclones to Allegiant Stadium for the third game of the season. Brumfield was forced to miss the game as he was not medically cleared to compete. The quarterback shuffle featured Cam Friel and new Rebels quarterback Tate Martell. The offense was stagnant in this contest for the Rebels, as tight end, Giovanni Fauolo led all UNLV receivers with 36 yards on four catches, while Charles Williams had just 42 yards on 19 carries against the Iowa State defense. UNLV’s only score was a field goal in the third quarter by Daniel Gutierrez, as Iowa State ran over UNLV by a final score of 48-3.

In Week 4, Doug Brumfield made his return to his starting job at the quarterback position on the road against the Mountain West Conference rival Fresno State Bulldogs. UNLV started strong, building a 14-0 lead after the first quarter off of two passing touchdowns from Brumfield to Tyleek Collins and Steve Jenkins. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 14-9 at the half and took a 22-21 lead into the fourth quarter. Rushing touchdowns from Williams and Courtney Reese kept the Rebels in the game, but a failed 4th-and-15 conversion attempt sealed the Rebels‘ fate as the Bulldogs survived with a 38-30 win at Bulldog Stadium.

The Rebels‘ most recent game was another road game, this time against the UTSA Roadrunners in San Antonio, Texas. Brumfield missed this contest after another injury forced him out of the game against Fresno State the week before. Both teams traded punts and turnovers on downs before a touchdown apiece made the score 7-7 after one quarter. UTSA took advantage of interceptions and fumbles to jump out to a 24-10 lead after the third quarter. The Rebels cut the lead to 24-17, but ultimately a sack on 4th-and-10 put the game away for the Roadrunners. UTSA would go on to win 24-17 and improve to 5-0 on the season.


The Rebels are currently 0-5 on the season, but with close and hard-fought games against Fresno State and UTSA back to back, things appear to be looking up for UNLV for the remainder of the season.


UNLV Football
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Cam Friel had his best game of the year against the Roadrunners; even with two interceptions, he completed 25 of 37 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown. With Brumfield and Martell getting ready to return, UNLV will have a nice group of quarterbacks who now have valuable experience playing in games. If they can stay healthy, both as quarterbacks and as a team, along with maintaining consistency, the college football world may see a few surprises as the season rolls on.

UNLV’s remaining schedule features just one game remaining against a nationally ranked opponent in No. 25 San Diego State, who is also in a stretch where four of the next seven games are being played against Mountain West Conference schools. The rivalry game against the Nevada Wolfpack will take place Friday, October 29, on Nevada Day in Reno as another chapter in this historic rivalry will be written. The Rebels will close this season out with a Thanksgiving Day weekend matchup against Air Force. The strength of schedule for the remainder of the season will provide more tests for the Rebels to show what they have as they continue to search for more success this campaign.


UNLV’s next game will be Saturday, October 16th at Allegiant Stadium when they take on the Utah State Aggies at 4:00. This Mountain West Conference matchup can be seen on CBS Sports Network.


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– Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Matt on Twitter @RecordBowler19

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