UNLV Rebels Overwhelm North Texas, 58-27
Second time Rebels put up over 50 points
The 2-1 Rebels!
UNLV gets to 2-1 on the season, extending its lead in the second half to pull away from the Mean Green at Allegiant Stadium.
This Saturday, the big plays and bright lights of Las Vegas started early in the afternoon between the UNLV Rebels and the North Texas Mean Green. The non-conference tilt featured 43 points in the first half, finished with 85 points, and yet somehow managed to add a couple of defensive highlights. in the end.
From the first series for the Rebels, the scoring was early and often. Needing only 3:24 to find the end zone, QB Doug Brumfield completed 5-of-6 passes, hitting receivers in space, allowing the speed of the Rebels’ playmakers to work after the catch. A big play on the drive was Brumfield completing a 22-yard pass to Ricky White to convert a 4th-and-5 and extend the possession.
North Texas, however, answered on the ensuing kickoff, tying the game at 7. Kaylon Horton went 100 yards, from the right to left sideline, and the lapse in coverage allowed the Mean Green into the end zone.
On the Mean Green’s first offensive possession, UNLV’s Spencer Briggs blocked a punt that was eventually deflected out of the back of the end zone, and the safety gave the Rebels a quick 9-7 lead.
Brumfield continued to hit receivers in space, at or near the line of scrimmage and allowed the receivers to make the play against their defender to move the ball. Aidan Robbins ran hard up the middle, as he has already this early in the season, consistently getting good yardage on first down for the Rebels. The Rebels’ 2nd-and short playcalling left North Texas guessing all game, and the Mean Green was often left to regroup after UNLV moved the chains. Midway through the first quarter, Robbins added a 2-yard rush up the middle to give the Rebels the lead again, at 16-10.
The second quarter began to turn the tide for the Rebels. After the Mean Green were stopped in their own territory on a 4th-and-1, Aidan Robbins again scored on the very next play, a 33-yard run to the end zone that extended the lead to 23-10. North Texas again responded, with an 11-play drive resulting in a touchdown and a 10-play drive shortly before halftime to add a field goal, leaving the Rebels with a 3-point lead into halftime, at 23-20.
But as close as the Mean Green could get, they would not regain the lead. Starting the third quarter with three plays and a punt by North Texas, the Rebels started their first drive of the second half at their own 39-yard line. Three plays later, Aidan Robbins rushed for 19 yards and went over 100 yards less than two minutes into the quarter. The drive ended with Doug Brumfield’s 29-yard run, down the left sideline and a spin into the end zone to elude the tackle and gave the Rebels a 30-20 lead.
North Texas would respond again, as QB Austin Aune hit Roderic Burns for a 54-yard pass play up the middle to close the gap to 30-27, but it’s as close as the Mean Green would get for the day.
UNLV’s defense stepped up as well, stopping North Texas on a couple of 4th-and-1 plays, including one time at their own 1-yard line. The Mean Green did themselves no favors, as lining up in shotgun gave UNLV’s defensive front too much time to get to the ball and make the play.
As part of their halftime adjustments, it seems UNLV was able to exploit North Texas’ tendency to drop seven back into coverage and allow their running game to attack off tackle or the outside areas of the field over and over. Brumfield added his second rushing touchdown and Aidan Robbins his third touchdown of the day in the third quarter to extend the Rebels’ lead to 44-27.
The fourth quarter was all UNLV. After North Texas turned the ball over on downs, the Rebels went 99 yards down the field, including a 59-yard rush by Aidan Robbins; Robbins would finish with 227 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns. The drive ended with Brumfield’s second passing touchdown of the day, this time to Ricky White for a 9-yard touchdown. And in a recurring theme on the day, Brumfield quickly hit his receiver in space, and White made a nice play to spin his way into the end zone to give UNLV a 51-27 lead.
By then, North Texas could do little to remain competitive in the game. Austin Aune was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter, including the second one returned for a touchdown by Cameron Oliver across the right side of the field for the final score of 58-27.
Keys to the Game:
The Rebels on offense were aggressive, and it showed. The Rebels’ offense moved efficiently down the field, balancing Brumfield’s quick passes with Robbins’ physical rushing up the middle. Brumfield being mobile, rushing more frequently in the second half, only seemed to open up the playbook more for UNLV, to reveal how many ways they can attack a defense.
The Rebels are now 2-1 on the campaign, with an offense that is not only effective, but has the ability for big plays that can either extend a lead or pull them closer when trailing. Aidan Robbins has been an incredible addition, a physical runner with enough speed to elude tacklers. Robbins answers many of the questions for the UNLV running game from the offseason. Brumfield has equally responded in exceeding expectations, as his ability to make all the throws – deep down the field, quick to the outside, touch passes underneath – has been matched by his mobility behind the line as well as rushing upfield. On the other side of the ball, the defense has picked up a “bend but don’t break” sort of identity, playing more than capable when an opponent starts slow, but also looking to be opportunistic and go for the takeaway when possible.
Player of the Game:
Doug Brumfield finished the game almost as efficiently as he did against Idaho State, throwing for 21-of-27 and 211 yards, with two passing touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 100 rushing yards on 12 carries, with two touchdowns on the ground. Some of those plays may give Rebels fans cause for concern, but Brumfield continues to look every bit the part of a starting quarterback, and the team has matched his focus on offense.
Next week, the Rebels will travel to Logan, Utah to face the Utah State Aggies at Maverik Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST (4:00 p.m. PST) on Saturday night.