The losing streak has reached nine games for UNLV Football after its latest blowout from at home.
UNLV was trounced by Iowa State, 48-3, Saturday, Sept. 18 from Allegiant Stadium.
“It’s never fun losing,” senior Giovanni Fauolo Sr. said. “Like [head] coach [Marcus Arroyo] said, that was a pretty good -- not just pretty good but an elite team. Probably one of the best teams I’ve played against since I’ve been here and I’ve been here for a while.” Arroyo is now 0-9 as head coach for the Rebels.
“We’ve got to continue to press on,” he said. “We’ve got a challenge as coaches to continue to look at ourselves and try to find ways to be creative and improve collectively.”
It will be quite some time before UNLV returns home as a two-game road trip awaits the program.
A road test against Mountain West foe Fresno State lies ahead with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.
It will be the first conference game for this year’s team.
“Obviously, the growth in our program comes with challenges like this,” Arroyo said. “Back-to-back Top-25 teams and seeing exactly how we can stand up and continue to find some good football in there. Particularly with a young group.”
After that, the Rebels will head to Texas for a matchup with UT-San Antonio before returning home Saturday, Oct. 16 for a home date against Utah State.
“In the locker room, nobody is excited about [this loss],” Arroyo said. “I think being pissed off about losing to the No. 14 team in the country and where they’re at and where we’re at, it’s going to sound weird, but we’re all pissed off in there.”
Coming into this game, Iowa State had scored three touchdowns through its first three games.
The Cyclones had three touchdowns in the first half of this one.
Chunk plays or plays of 10 or more yards proved to be the difference throughout the game.
“Explosive plays are something that we’re trying to make sure we put on our calendar of things to get done,” Arroyo said. “To stop them, you’ve got to make sure you do things right: tackle right and defend a good football team in that way. Especially ones so far that have been triple threats where the quarterback can also create with his legs.”
Iowa State had eight chunk plays in the first quarter on two drives to UNLV’s zero.
In fact, the Cyclones would get to 17 plays of 10 or more yards before the Rebels got their first.
By the end of the game, Iowa State held a 23-to-3 chunk play advantage over UNLV.
Freshman Doug Brumfield was in street clothes for this game after being knocked from last week’s 37-10 loss at Arizona State.
With Brumfield out, Arroyo opted to start true freshman Cameron Friel against the No. 14 team in the nation.
“We made the decision I think two days ago,” Arroyo said. “Early on in his career right now, it’s hard to go play a game if you haven’t had that much experience with it. If he wasn’t ready to play, we had to get the other guys ready to play.
“It would be much different if he was a fifth-year guy who's played a bunch of balls to go in on a Wednesday or Thursday and say, ‘If you feel great by the end of the week, you can roll.’ But that’s not fair to him or anybody.”
It was a rough start in the beginning for Friel as he was only able to put up 18 total yards of offense in the first half.
On the other hand, Iowa State had tallied more than 300 yards in the first 30 minutes of action.
“I think the biggest thing for me tonight with Cam was after he threw the pick,” Fauolo Sr. said. “He wasn’t super rattled or anything, he actually came in the huddle and said, ‘I’ll be better, we’ll be better.’ So it’s good to see that out of him in his first college game.”
Friel ended with 67 yards on 8-of-13 with an interception.
After suiting up for the first time last week, junior Tate Martell got his first in-game reps with the Rebels.
“Like coach said, we prepared all week with [both guys],” Fauolo Sr. said. “In the game it’s nothing really different, just taking our practice to the field. I’m comfortable with both -- I’m comfortable with all of them really. At any time, they all should be ready to play.”
Martell finished 2-of-6, passing for 27 yards.
With two more years of eligibility, Martell comes over to UNLV after stints at Ohio State and Miami (FL).
At several points in the second half, Arroyo sent out both Friel and Martell on the same drive. Many times, with each taking one play at a time.
“That was all week,” he said. “We planned to do that all week [...] To have both those guys, with Cam getting here in the spring with spring ball, who’s got a little bit of an upside compared to Tate, with him being cleared last week.”
In addition to that, Martell did not join the Rebels camp until nearly 40 days after its start.
It was the seventh-largest attendance in UNLV history with 35,193 people on record, however, a vast majority of those fans were draped in Iowa State gear.
“You know what, I think that our guys handled it well,” Arroyo said. “I don’t think [Iowa State’s] fans had an effect on our football team if that’s what we’re saying. I thought our guys handled that.
“I think we prepared through the week that [the Cyclones] would have a lot of [fans]. I think last week was a good testament to our guys coming out and handling fans.”