Video Credit: Mountain West Conference

FSM Essential Recap: Week 7 – UNLV vs Utah State

UNLV Rebels (0-6) | Utah State Aggies (4-2)


The UNLV Rebels lost a heart breaker against the Utah State Aggies in a Mountain West Conference game at home at Allegiant Stadium, 28-24.


UNLV vs Utah State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels started off the game driving down the field at ease against the Aggies. But the Utah State defense tightened up in the red zone, ending with a field goal from kicker Daniel Gutierrez to give the Rebels an early 3-0 lead. The lead did not last long as on the ensuing kickoff Aggies kick returner, and former Centennial Bulldog, Savon Scarver took the kickoff all the way to a 100-yard touchdown. That was Scarver’s, a former All-American, seventh career kickoff return for a touchdown.

The lead was short-lived, in fact, just a matter of seconds, when the Rebels answered right back in the form of running back Charles Williams.

On the first play of the next possession, Williams broke free of the defense and took the ball 75 yards to make a house call and the Rebels regained the lead with a 10-7 advantage. After a stop of the Aggies offense, the Rebels marched down the field once again, and Williams punched the ball into the end zone for another Rebels touchdown. The first quarter ended with the Rebels having a 17-7 lead, with Williams being the dominant player of the night up to this point.

With a relatively high-scoring first quarter came a quiet second quarter for both squads. The lone score of the quarter went to the Aggies on a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Bonner to Deven Thompkins, cutting the deficit to three, but still trailing the Rebels 17-14 at the half.


The Aggies came roaring out of the break with a quick score less than two minutes into the second half.


UNLV vs Utah State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Bonner and Thompkins connected again for a touchdown, this one from six yards out. After a successful point-after attempt from kicker Connor Coles, the Aggies took a 21-17 lead, their first lead since the 100-yard touchdown from Scarver early in the game.

On the ensuing possession, the Rebels controlled the ball and time of possession and made their way down the field as efficiently as they could. When the Rebels got inside the five-yard line, they turned to their dominant running back and Williams capitalized once again. A five-yard rushing touchdown marked Williams’s third of the game and gave the Rebels a 24-21 lead.

After both teams’ defense’s forced punts and turnover on downs, the Rebels took over with just over 3 minutes left in the game. On UNLV’s first play, quarterback Cam Friel tried to hit Kyle Williams on a screen pass. Williams was open but the Aggies defense was pressuring Friel, and his pass skipped incomplete to the receiver, stopping the clock. On the next play, Friel threw incomplete as he was once again pressured. Finally, on third down, Friel was flushed out to his right with room to run, but he forced a throw that was intercepted by Shaq Bond.

Friel was injured on the play, as he clutched his left knee in pain after the play. He was helped off the field and did not return to the game.

Armed with 2 timeouts, and just under three minutes left in the game, the Aggies marched down and scored a touchdown with just under 40 seconds left in the game to take a 28-24 lead. The Rebels took over around the 23-yard line after the kick with Justin Rogers now in at quarterback. After a sack and an incompletion, Rogers hit Kyle Williams over the middle of the field, but as Williams was being tackled, and his knee hit the ground the ball popped out of his hands. A slew off Aggies tipped the ball with it ending in Bond’s hands and ruled an interception.

The officials did not want to review the call, but UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo used his final timeout so the play could be reviewed. The replay clearly showed Williams‘ lower half of his body on the ground prior to the ball becoming loose, and showed have been ruled down by contact, but the officials disagreed and the call stood. The Rebels lost a heartbreaker in a very controversial fashion.


In the loss, running back Charles Williams had a career day and moved up the UNLV record books.


UNLV vs Utah State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The controversial loss added insult to injury, as it ruined a career day from their senior running back. Williams ran for a career-high 221 yards and three touchdowns. He passed his former teammate Lexington Thomas to move into second place on the UNLV All-Time rushing list, just 190 yards from Tim Cornett’s career mark.

Charles Williams’ three touchdowns gave him 25 in his career, moving him up two spots into a tie for fourth at the school with Mack Gilchrist, and his 221 net yards on the ground tied for the ninth-most in UNLV single-game history.

I wish I could have done more,” a dejected Williams said after the game. “If I would have given 5% more that would have made a difference.”

It doesn’t amount to one call or one play, we’ve got to do a better job collectively to put ourselves in a position to close that one out,” coach Arroyo said after the game. “We had the lead the entire game and did a lot of good stuff, but we’ve got to get healthy again and we’ve got another one Thursday night. Quick turnaround, but we’ve got to go forward.”


UNLV will be right back at Allegiant Stadium on Thursday when it hosts San Jose State. The kickoff is scheduled for 8 pm and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

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– Matt Dobbs

– Franchise Sports Media

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