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Rebels off to best start in more than decade after beating Aggies

UNLV sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield celebrates after scoring one of his two rushing touchdowns on the road against Utah State. Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

For the first time since 2008, the UNLV Rebels are off to a 3-1 start to the college football season.

UNLV beat the defending Mountain West champions, Utah State, 34-24, Saturday, Sept. 24 from Maverik Stadium in the conference opener for both teams. It’s the first win for the Rebels over the Aggies since 2008 after losing six straight.

The win also marks the first road victory of the season for UNLV and the second in the tenure of head coach Marcus Arroyo, who is now 2-9 away from home as the lead man. With three wins this season, he has already surpassed his two-win total from his first two seasons as head coach for the Rebels.

A return home to Allegiant Stadium is next for the team as it shifts its attention to the New Mexico Lobos. That game is set for Friday, Sept. 30 with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.

UNLV’s defense scratched out six turnovers against the reigning conference champs, all of which came in the last three quarters of the game.

Utah State quarterback Logan Bonner led a drive that resulted in a touchdown pass that counted as the first offensive touchdown for the team since Week 1. The Aggies went more than 135 minutes without an offensive touchdown.

From the second quarter on, however, the Rebel defense had Bonner’s number.

Rebels defensive back Jerrae Williams (#23) celebrates with teammates against the Mean Green. Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

First, it was junior defensive back Jerrae Williams, who ended a Utah State drive with his second interception of the season. Senior inside linebacker Austin Ajiake also picked up his second interception of the year in the second quarter off Bonner.

As the first half drew to a close, Bonner threw a third interception of the 15-minute frame to junior defensive back Nohl Williams. He was also responsible for the fifth and final interception of the game.

Sophomore defensive back Cameron Oliver accounted for the fourth interception of the game with a third quarter-pick.

Bonner also coughed up a fumble caused by senior defensive lineman Adam Plant Jr. and recovered by fifth-year defensive lineman Tavis Malakius.

With frustration settling in throughout the game, the flags piled up for the Aggies. Overall, they were flagged 11 times for a total of 93 yards which includes three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Aside from seven penalties the other way, the Rebels played mistake free football for the third time in four games.

Late in the first quarter, sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield got things going finding receivers on 25-plus yard completions inside of a three-play span.

The first went for 40 yards to junior wide receiver Kyle Williams before later finding senior wide receiver Jeff Weimer for 27 more. Williams did catch Brumfield’s first touchdown pass of the night in the second quarter.

UNLV would lose both, Williams and Weimer, to injury later in the game.

Brumfield did a lot of the work with his legs, finding the end zone from four yards out on a speed option for the team’s first score of the game. With less than two minutes to go in the opening quarter, he scored on a quarterback sneak for his fourth rushing touchdown of the year.

The Rebels only scored seven second half points which came on a five-yard touchdown run from junior running back Aidan Robbins. He now has seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

UNLV running back Aidan Robbins points to the sky after scoring one of his league-leading seven touchdowns against North Texas. Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

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