Arroyo rolling with Doug Brumfield as starting QB against ASU

Photo Courtesy of UNLV Athletics

Marcus Arroyo announced Doug Brumfield as the starting quarterback for UNLV in its upcoming game this Saturday at Arizona State. 

Brumfield came off the bench in the third quarter against Eastern Washington with UNLV trailing 20-6. He replaced Justin Rogers, who started the game for the Rebels. Brumfield provided an immediate impact for the Rebel offense, as he hit WR Kyle Williams on a 58-yard pass that led to a field goal.

It was the beginning of 14 unanswered points for UNLV, as they sent the game into overtime, before eventually losing 35-33 in double-overtime. 

“Doug will start at quarterback,” Marcus Arroyo said at his weekly press conference. “He did a fantastic job getting in the game… provided a great spark, did really build off some of the things he did well in camp.”

“He came back and into that game and did a heck of a job. I’m excited to see him get in with a true week of going in as the guy for the first time, and I’m excited to see him grow.” 

Arroyo did not rule out the chances of Rogers playing, saying he will play only if needed, but Brumfield will be the starter against the Sun Devils. 

While Arroyo had his mind made up on his starter this week, someone else found out the news at the same time as the media. 

“Just now,” Brumfield said at media availability when asked when he found out he was the starter. 

Brumfield said Arroyo did not tell the quarterbacks, they just spent the past few days going over film and talking about what they need to work on the upcoming week to get ready for Arizona State. 

One thing the Rebels need to fix are the drops. Doug Brumfield only completed five of his 17 passes, but there were many passes that were dropped by UNLV receivers. 

“We have to catch the ball,” Arroyo said, “there were seven drops that were drive killers that showed up for us, especially in critical moments in the game. We talked about it and owned it, that’s one of the examples of things we need to get better at.”

An area of focus for the Rebels this week is bettering the timing and chemistry between Brumfield and the receivers. In the first game, it might not be where they want, but Arroyo said they have to improve there because those mistakes can come back to haunt them. 

Now Brumfield will have the full week to prepare as the starter. Even though he was not the starter last week, he prepared as if he was, and that helped him provide an immediate spark when he entered the game last week. It’s something he’s always done because your number could be called at any moment. 

“I feel like I prepare as the starter, even if I’m not starting,” Brumfield said. “It really doesn’t matter, we all prepare the same because you never know what’s going to happen. You’re one play away from being put in the game and having to lead your team to victory.”

And that is what Doug Brumfield almost did last Thursday. He acknowledged that the energy changed once the change was made in the third quarter. He said everyone was ready to step up and make big plays to fight back in the game. And being prepared for certain situations in practice helped him keep calm in the late-game situations. 

The Rebels have had a couple extra days to get ready for Arizona State, who was ranked #25 in the Week 1 AP Poll. This will be the first true road game in a hostile environment that Arroyo and the Rebels will face together. But despite the tough loss last week and difficult challenge ahead, Arroyo still acknowledged the growth he saw from his team that could lead the Rebels to better results later in the season.  

“After looking at it and going through the tape with the guys, it’s almost impossible to not acknowledge the growth and good stuff we saw from a lot of guys, and a lot of the things we did. We really hone in on that good stuff because it’s worth celebrating for our group and making sure we acknowledge that, because if you can’t get the feedback to the guys… then what good is it for?”

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