Directed By Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Eastern Washington – Week 1


The 2021 UNLV football season kicked off on Thursday evening against Eastern Washington. It was a game that was filled with drama, a thrilling comeback, and an overtime defeat.


UNLV vs Eastern Washington
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The atmosphere at Allegiant Stadium was filled with excitement and a buzz since it was the first time more than 2,000 fans were allowed in the new home of the Rebels. Over 20,000 UNLV fans came to see the Rebels take on the Eagles in the opening game of the Rebels 2021 college football season. UNLV won the toss and deferred to the second half, a surprise to some who thought the Rebels would want to get the ball first.

The Rebels defense came out on fire. Linebacker Jacoby Windmon set the tone with two tackles and a sack in the first drive. Windmon moved from the SAM position where his primary job was to rush the passer, to the JACK position where he is free to make plays all over the field. He did that all game, tying for the team lead with 10 tackles.

Senior running back Charles Williams had 70 yards in the first half. The Chuck Wagon looked more explosive and was a problem all game for the Eagles. Justin Rogers got his first start as a college quarterback, and he started off hitting two of three passes, but the UNLV offense stalled on each of their first two drives.

The first half was a defensive battle, but a controversial targeting call against Rebels cornerback Nohl Williams changed the complexion of the game. Williams drilled an Eagles wide receiver as he ran a deep crossing route, but the officials said that the crown of Williams‘ helmet hit made contact and he was ejected from the game. While the loss of Williams hurt UNLV, they got outstanding play from Cam Oliver. The freshman had an interception and just like in camp, was around the ball all game.


The first half ended with UNLV leading the Eagles 6-3, but the fireworks were just getting started


Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels received the opening kickoff and it didn’t go as planned. The following sequence is not what anyone expected when UNLV came out of the locker room. The first play was a delay of game, followed by a false start, and then another delay of game. The Rebels faced a 1st and 25 before they could blink. The Eagles forced a 3-and-out and scored a touchdown to take a 13-6 lead shortly thereafter.

The Rebels had a second 3-and-out and that was it for RogersCoach Arroyo had seen enough and needed a spark so he turned to Doug Brumfield. The energy level on both sides of the ball changed immediately when Brumfield entered the game. The flame-throwing lefty threw a “Doug Dart” that was just off his receiver’s hands, but it softened the Eagles defense and gave Charles Williams some running room.

The Rebels next series saw Brumfield throw a 58-yard bomb to Kyle Williams to put UNLV inside the red zone. The drive stalled and the Rebels kicked a field goal to cut the deficit to eight points, 20-12. This is when the fun began for UNLV fans. On the ensuing kickoff, UNLV caused a fumble and on the next play, Williams went in untouched from 16 yards out. They went for the 2 point conversion where Brumfield hit Courtney Reese in the flat and he scampered into the endzone to tie the game at 20.


The Game went into overtime after EWUs kicker missed his third field goal of the game.


UNLV vs Eastern Washington
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

In OT the Rebels scored first on a Charles Williams rushing touchdown. One play later the Eagles scored and we went to double OT. On the very next play, EMU ran the same play and scored again, and converted the 2-point conversion, giving them a 35-37 lead. UNLV scored on a Brumfield run, where he went high over the defensive player as he dove into the endzone. The Rebels went for two. Brumfield hit Zyell Griffin who fought to get into the endzone but fell less than a yard short, and the Rebels fell to the Eagles 35-33.

As a man, you’ve got to understand and learn from your mistakes and get better,” Charles Williams said following the game. “We’re not going to dwell on this too long.”

We’re not into moral victories,Coach Arroyo said after the game. “We’re too competitive. We work too hard. We got to play good football. We got to be able to not turn the football over. We got to go back and assess the film & get better. And I know these guys will.


Rebels Game Notes:


UNLV vs Eastern Washington
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Charles Williams finished with his second-most rushing yards as a Rebel, carrying the ball 27 times for 172 yards and the two scores.

Williams‘ big night gave him 3,112 yards in his career, making him just the fourth Rebel in history to reach the 3,000-yard mark.

Williams’ 11th career 100-yard rushing game moved him into a tie with Dominique Dorsey (2001-04) in fourth place all-time at UNLV.

Linebackers Jacoby Windmon and Austin Ajiake each had 10 total tackles to pace UNLV.

Senior place-kicker Daniel Gutierrez tied a school record with four made field goals, including a career-long 51-yarder, which saw the former walk-on score his team’s first 12 points, allowing them to mount the big comeback. Gutierrez was awarded a scholarship during fall camp.


UNLV now heads to Tempe, Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils next Saturday. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 and can be seen on ESPN2.


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