Chuck Wagon rolls on as Rebels stack second straight win
Thirteen unanswered points by the UNLV Rebels was enough to change the tide of a 27-13 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Saturday, Nov. 13.
At one point, the Rebels trailed 10-7 before rattling off 13 straight.
“I’m excited for those guys in that locker room right now,” head coach Marcus Arroyo said. “For the fans, for the program, for everything that goes into what we do and there’s a lot of good things that can come from that there.”
UNLV is now 2-8 on the year and 2-4 in the Mountain West conference.
The win marks the first home win for the program since 2019 and its first in Allegiant Stadium.
“It was fantastic to obviously stack another win,” Arroyo said. “Just says a lot about our group man -- I’m excited about the work going forward, excited about this week. But I am excited about tonight and letting these guys celebrate that safely and letting the program celebrate safely.
“It’s awesome being home in Allegiant, to get that pineapple. I gave the pineapple to the defense, gave the game ball to the o-line. I hope they enjoy the heck out of it because they deserve it, they worked their tails off.”
Last week, the team won its first game in 706 days after going winless last season and starting this season 0-8.
“I think that is a piece of it,” Arroyo said. “We touched on it [last week’s win] was the ability for guys to see we can finish a game. It was a very different game in regards to how we executed.
Arroyo and company will attempt to go for consecutive win No. 3 as it will welcome the San Diego State Aztecs into Allegiant Stadium Friday, Nov. 19.
Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. in what will be UNLV’s last home game of the season.
Linebacker Kyle Beaudry said, “Tomorrow morning: come in, do some heavy squats, some meetings and get back to work.”
Beaudry has posted 10-tackle games in back-to-back weeks.
One week after becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher, senior running back Charles Williams added his name to more top spots in the UNLV record books.
Williams posted 266 yards on a new-program record 38 carries, scoring three touchdowns in the process.
“Shout out to the o-line,” he said. “They did their jobs today. Made a lot of big holes, big creases for me and I helped them out by making the right cuts and not dancing too much. They did a great job getting to the second level too so I got to the secondary a lot tonight. I appreciate them for that, they’re the real MVPs tonight.”
The previous carry record was held by former NFL fullback Ickey Woods, who captured it in 1987.
“I’m fine,” Williams said when asked about his workload. “I did this in high school. I take care of my body a lot, I’m always in the training room getting treatment so I can be ready for games like this.
“What’s really pushing me was my daughter Kamiyah. That’s what was pushing me tonight, I was doing it for her.”
Williams scored his last touchdown via a 47-yard scamper to put the finishing touches on the win.
The touchdown he scored in the first quarter was the 30th of his career and tied a previous season-high at 11.
Early in the second quarter, Williams surpassed 100 yards for the 14th time in his career, even drawing a late hit penalty after being slung out of bounds after the whistle.
It only took one play for Williams to break for 64 yards to open the third quarter before scoring his second touchdown of the game.
By that point, he had already claimed 1,000 yards for the season for the second time, becoming the fourth player in UNLV history to do so.
In addition, he set a new career-high for touchdowns in a season, which now sits at 13.
Freshman quarterback Cameron Friel’s start to the game was less than desirable, committing all three of his turnovers in the first 15-minutes.
“I think the thing behind the stat lines that I’m most proud of is the resiliency of this group when things weren’t perfect,” Arroyo said. “We’re turning the ball over, we’re playing ugly -- we won ugly. And there’s a lot to come from that.”
This came after Hawaii scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 79-yard pass completion.
“Obviously, we tend to see a lot of first play-big plays,” Arroyo said with a laugh. “You’re not excited about it but it's only one play. That’s a perfect example, it’s one play of a whole picture.”
Two of Friel’s three turnovers were interceptions while the first was a fumble on the first drive of the game.
By the end of the first quarter, Friel had a stat line of 3-for-5 with 48 yards and two interceptions.
He even fumbled again in the second quarter but it was recovered by the Rebels.
“Again, just the mindset of that young man with the support he’s got with older guys says a lot,” Arroyo said. “He has a lot of guys to lift him up, a lot of guys to continue to encourage him. You’ve got three turnovers in a game, it’s a tough deal now [...] He keeps amazing us by just going back out there.”
Friel would eventually settle in and end the day with 172 yards on 15-of-25 passing with two interceptions.
Two receivers combined to account for 140 of his 172 yards.
Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Williams had three catches for 73 yards while junior wide receiver Steve Jenkins tallied 67 yards on his three catches.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sophomore defensive back Ricky Johnson had two interceptions on the night including the game-sealing one in the end zone.
Johnson came into the game with zero career interceptions.