FSM Essential Recap – UNLV Rebels vs UTEP Miners- Week 5 -2023



UNLV brought a new meaning to the term Runnin’ Rebels in their 45-28 win over UTEP on Saturday night to improve to 3-1 on the year.

UNLV Football took on the UTEP Miners on Saturday!

UNLV vs UTEP | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

There is an old adage in football: if you play good defense, stop the run, create turnovers, create pressure, and control the clock, you’ll typically win the game.

Barry Odom and his UNLV Rebels did just that Saturday night. If UNLV wanted to get off to one of their better starts in recent history, they would have to do so without starting quarterback Doug Brumfield.

So when UNLV traveled to El Paso, Texas, to take on the UTEP Miners at the Sun Bowl for the first time in 30 years, they had one thing on their mind: leave no doubt. The Rebels did just that. They ran for 306 yards and created three turnovers en route to their 45-28 win and improved to 3-1 to start the season.

Brennan Marion, the Rebels Offensive Coordinator, and the UNLV offense asserted dominance on the UTEP defense all game long. Freshman running back Jai’Den Thomas led the way. Jett tied a UNLV record with four rushing touchdowns, and safety Jaxsen Turner, who transferred from the University of Arizona, had two interceptions and seven tackles in the Rebels win.

This was the type of win that UNLV would struggle to get in past years. After Saturday night, Rebels fans once again can feel good about “The Odom Effect” and the direction the program is heading in.

UNLV beat UTEP on Saturday

UNLV asserted themselves upfront all game long and controlled UTEP with their running game.

UNLV Rebels vs UTEP Miners was a dominant performance by the Rebels on Saturday.

UNLV vs UTEP | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

The Rebels once again got outstanding special teams play. The group set up the Rebels‘ first score with a blacked punt on UTEP’s first drive. That set up Thomas’s first touchdown of the game. 

On the day, Thomas carried the ball 13 times for his first 100-yard game in college to accompany his four touchdowns. The freshman running back tied the UNLV record for rushing TDs in a single game. The record is four, held by former players Mike Thomas (2 times), Henry Melton, and Tim Cornett.

Thomas now has seven rushing TDs through the first four games, just one off the school freshman record of eight set by quarterback Armani Rogers in 2017.

Senior Vincent Davis Jr. ran for 97 yards on 13 carries. Combined, the dynamic duo averaged 7.6 yards per carry. Running backs Donovan Lester and Courtney Reese also ran for touchdowns against the Miners. UNLV saw four different players finish with more than 25 yards rushing and three with more than 50 – none of whom had more than 13 carries.

With Doug Brumfield out with an injury, red-shirt freshman Jayden Maiava got his first start at quarterback for the Rebels, and he had an efficient day overall. He went 15/27 for 190 yards. He did, however, throw an interception in the red zone during the third quarter.

It’s the first time this season that the Rebels did not score while in the red zone. Overall, though, Maiava and the Rebels were highly efficient on third down, converting 10 to 17 attempts.

Wide receiver Ricky White III again made a big play for the Rebels. He caught two balls for 62 yards on the day to lead UNLV. But the focal point of the office was the rushing attack, which was able to control UTEP’s defense all game long. The Miners had no answer for the Rebels’ rushing attack, and UNLV controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock in the second half.

UNLV was led by running back Jai’Den Thomas in their win vs UTEP.

Even with the win, the Rebels are not satisfied with their performance.

UNLV took on UTEP at The Sun Bowl on Saturday

UNLV vs UTEP | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

When the scoreboard showed four zeros, it read 45-28 Rebels. This was a big win for UNLV, who improved to 3-1 on the season. They needed to beat UTEP, who many thought was a toss-up game and could help decide whether the Rebels could make a Bowl this season.

UNLV now heads into Mountain West Conference play next week. Rebels head coach Barry Odom talked about his team’s performance after the game.

I’m so thrilled that we got the win. The penalties were very disappointing. It was obviously way too many. We will get those fixed. I thought the takeaways were huge on defense and then the ability to run the football. Jet with four touchdowns, and we had 300 yards rushing. Six total rushing touchdowns, that’s a great output by our offense and offensive line,” Coach Odom said after the game. “The coaches put together the game plan, and then the players executed it. That was a big-time effort. Thrilled with the win on the road and to be 3-1 through the non-conference portion of the season, now it’s on to conference play.

UNLV will now return home to open Mountain West Conference play when they take on the University of Hawai’i in The Ninth Island Classic next Saturday at Allegiant Stadium at 1 PM. The Rebels are looking to bring home the Golden Pineapple, which they lost last year to Hawai’i.

We worked hard and got a win out here in El Paso,Rebels running back Jai’Den Thomas said after the game. “Now let’s pack it out (Allegiant Stadium) next week for Hawai’i, baby!

The final score from The Sun Bowl was 45-28, UNLV over UTEP.

The Rebels will return to Allegiant Stadium on Saturday to open Mountain West play vs Hawai’i. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (702) 739-FANS or visiting unlvtickets.com.


– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @JoeArrigoFSM

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