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Friel commits 3 turnovers in Rebels’ loss at UTSA

Turnovers proved too large to overcome as the UNLV Rebels fell short, 24-17, on the road against the UTSA Roadrunners Saturday, Oct. 2.

The loss knocked the team to 0-5 on the year and 0-11 in two seasons under head coach Marcus Arroyo.

“All we know is when you lose your composure and you’ve got penalties and you’re playing an undisciplined football game in a fashion that you haven’t before, you limit your success,” head coach Marcus Arroyo said. “We know what it takes to win a football game in regards to what we’ve done here as a staff and during the past. We know what wins football games, we’re right there in some of these games.”

It was the last non-conference game for the team ahead of a bye week.

However, with a current mark of 671 days since the last win for the program, the previous record of 683 days will be broken.

A home game with the Utah State Aggies await the Rebels upon return from the bye week.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 from Allegiant Stadium.

There were some bright spots for UNLV despite dropping it’s 11th consecutive game.

Freshman quarterback Cameron Friel threw his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter to tie the game at seven. The touchdown came 10 seconds after UTSA put the game’s first points up, taking just one play to go 63 yards.

However, trouble came in the second quarter when a false start turned a third and 14 into a third and 19.

Friel threw an interception the very next play.

He threw another interception in the third quarter on a third and 10.

UTSA had one interception coming into the game.

Friel went 25-for-37, passing for 307 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble.

“Tough, he’s just tough,” Arroyo said. “He continues to play, all the way to the end. Cramps up, comes back -- taking hits, going down, staying in there -- resilient, poised, young. Continues to fight, there’s so much to like about that as a quarterback, as a true freshman.”

The fumble occurred the drive after his second interception via a strip sack.

The Rebels’ last drive ended after Friel was sacked on a fourth and 10.

“Get a first down,” Arroyo said when asked of the objective. “Fourth and 10 to win the game, the goal there is to pass the sticks [...] They did a nice job on the edge and they got to us.”

Backup quarterback Justin Rogers entered the game on a fourth and one and threw a nine-yard touchdown on his only attempt of the game.

As a team, UNLV went 5-for-13 on third downs while UTSA was 6-of-15. In addition, the Rebels were 1-for-3 on fourth down while the Roadrunners were 50% on their two tries.

Moreover, the rushing offense was nearly nonexistent for UNLV finishing with 35 yards despite 48 yards on 15 carries from senior running back Charles Williams.

Mental mistakes played a big part in the game as well.

“This one here we took ourselves out of a lot of situations,” Arroyo said. “And we still fought back, we were still driving to go tie the game late in the [game] but we put ourselves in some bad situations. Just undisciplined, jumping offsides multiple times. Just things like that we hadn’t done. It was very uncharacteristic of our culture right now and we’re going to fix it.” The Rebels were flagged seven times for 36 yards but the times the penalties occurred were crucial.

In the first quarter, a third and eight was turned into a third and 13 after a false start. Friel was sacked on the ensuing play.

Early in the second quarter, they were offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. By that point, it was the third total unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the game.

A fourth unsportsmanlike conduct penalty came in the fourth quarter resulting in the ejection of senior offensive lineman Julio Garcia.

“Yeah we just have to have a conversation as a senior,” Arroyo said. “As a leader, man-to-man. He put himself in a situation to hurt us and I think we let the emotions of the game get to us. That’s the first time I’ve seen that in this group since I’ve been here.

“We’re going to cut that out like cancer because that has not been part of what we’ve done. So that will be eliminated.”

Still with the game in reach in the fourth, senior Kolo Uasike was whistled for jumping offsides on a fourth and one for UTSA.

It was his second offside penalty of the game.

Kicker Daniel Gutierrez continued his made field goal streak, adding two more to improve to 9-for-9 on the season.

One streak that did come to end, however, was the Rebels red zone streak as they went 2-for-3.

Coming into the game, UNLV was one of 11 teams in the nation perfect in the red zone at 12-for-12.


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