The UNLV Rebels (4-2, 2-1) traveled to California on Friday night to take on San Jose State (4-1, 2-0) in a Mountain West matchup that would help bolster their position within the conference with a win. Due to execution mistakes and setbacks throughout the game, the Rebels lost 40-7. Despite the loss, the Rebels remain in second place in the Mountain West’s West division standings with five conference games remaining on the season.
The Rebels started the game against San Jose State with three punts on their first three possessions, whereas San Jose State was able to get into the end zone twice in their first three series. QB Cameron Friel had to take over for an injured Doug Brumfield during the first quarter, which affected the Rebels’ offensive scheme moving forward. Brumfield has been outstanding this season, so losing him in the first quarter of the game created a hole the Rebels could not climb out of, despite their efforts.
Losing QB Doug Brumfield in the first quarter was not the only setback of the game. At the beginning of the second quarter, inside linebacker Fred Thompkins was ejected for targeting. On the next play, San Jose State QB Chevan Cordeiro ran the ball in for a touchdown. It didn’t take long for San Jose to get the ball back after a botched snap went over the head of QB Cameron Friel. San Jose State recovered the loose ball, which led to another Chevan Cordeiro running touchdown on the next play.
The UNLV defense had a rough time trying to contain Cordeiro throughout the game. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. The Rebels lone score of the game came at the end of the third quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass by Friel to WR Senika McKie.
The Rebels tried to spark a comeback in the second quarter with a 38 yard pass by Friel to Mckie to give the Rebels a first down on the Spartans seven yard line. The Rebel offense tried and failed to get the ball into the end zone, turning the ball over on downs. Friel played a clean game for the injured Brumfield. He ended the game with 15 completions on 22 attempts with a touchdown and no interceptions. Despite Friel’s efforts, the Rebels would drop their first Mountain West game of the season.
Head coach Marcus Arroyo will now have the challenge of helping his team move on from this loss. The Rebels will host the Air Force Falcons (4-1, 1-2) in Las Vegas next Saturday in what looks to be another Mountain West thriller between two teams with aspirations to get to the Mountain West Championship.
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