UNLV struggles in 2nd half in loss to Arizona State

Source: Matt York/AP

UNLV went into the locker room at halftime trailing the #23 Arizona State Sun Devils only trailing 14-10. The Rebels were moving the ball on offense and the defense was holding a very talented Arizona State team in check, 

But an abysmal third quarter put the Rebels in a hole they could not dig themselves out of as Arizona State rolled in the second half to put away UNLV 37-10. The Sun Devils scored 30 unanswered points after trailing 10-7 midway through the second quarter. 

After UNLV’s touchdown in the second quarter, the Rebels punted on eight straight drives, going three and out on seven drives and only compiling 11 yards of offense. While the Rebels struggled on offense, the Sun Devils scored on four straight drives, including three straight touchdowns to build an insurmountable lead. 

The beginning of the game looked very promising for the Rebels. Nohl Williams, who was disqualified after a targeting penalty in last week’s game, intercepted Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels in the endzone to give UNLV its first possession of the game. 

UNLV then went on a 16 play, 70-yard drive that took over seven minutes that led to a 28-yard Daniel Gutierrez field goal. After an Arizona State touchdown on the ensuing drive, the Rebels responded with a touchdown drive of their own. 

Doug Brumfield took control of the game during UNLV’s first two scoring drives. He completed six of 10 passes for 60 yards and rushed for 34 yards, including a four-yard touchdown run to give UNLV a touchdown and 10-7 lead in the second quarter. 

On the ensuing drive for Arizona State, the Sun Devils used their dynamic run game to get into the end zone, as Daniyel Ngata rushed for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Sun Devils a 14-10 halftime lead. 

In the second half, the Rebels could not crack the Sun Devil defense. The teams traded punts to start the third quarter before Arizona State eventually broke through with a 9 yard touchdown run from Rachaad White. 

As the Rebels struggled, Jayden Daniels took over. Daniels rushed for a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and connected to WR LV Bunkley-Shelton for a 33-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach for UNLV. Daniels ended the night 20 of 29 passing with a touchdown and 125 rushing yards on 13 carries. 

While the Rebels were struggling, they suffered a big loss as Brumfield went into the locker room in the third quarter after taking a hit from the Arizona State defense. There has not been any update on Brumfield’s status. 

Arroyo went with Justin Rogers, and the struggles for UNLV offensively continued. Arizona State held UNLV to only 155 total yards of offense and just 11 first downs, while the Sun Devils compiled 465 yards of offense. 

For the first time this season, transfer QB Tate Martell was in uniform for the Rebels and he even warmed up in the pregame. Martell is still recovering from thumb surgery and has not had enough reps in practice with the team to be put out there when Brumfield went down. 

UNLV’s defense held its own for the first two and a half quarters against Arizona State. The Sun Devils were not 100 percent healthy offensively, as running back DeaMonte Trayanum did not play and Daniels left last week against Southern Utah in the third quarter with cramps. But Arizona State eventually overpowered the Rebel defense in the second half. The Sun Devils are now 10-1 in the last three years when they rush for over 200 yards.

The Rebels could not find any offense outside of Brumfield. The Sun Devils focused on defending the run, particularly Charles Williams, in practice and they held the Rebels to only 88 rushing yards. UNLV will have to look for another source of offense if Brumfield cannot play and to help out the defense so they are not having to return to the field after three and outs.

UNLV returns home to Allegiant Stadium Saturday night to face nationally-ranked Iowa State, who is coming off a loss to in-state rival Iowa.

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