Rebels score 28 unanswered second half points, run away with 31-point win
Back to its winning ways for UNLV Football as the team picked up its second win in the first three games of the season.
The Rebels put up a season-high in points while stomping the North Texas Mean Green, 58-27 Saturday, Sept. 17 from Allegiant Stadium. The victory was highlighted by the team scoring 28 unanswered points to close the game.
“We don’t believe that there’s a switch,” head coach Marcus Arroyo said. “You can’t have a switch [...] Hitting a switch is too hard, that’s not what you want to do.” The 50-point effort coupled with the 52 points in the season opener means UNLV has scored 50 in back-to-back home games for the first time since 1974. In addition, the win improves the team to 2-0 at home for the first time since 2018 while also being 2-1 overall for the first time since that same season.
Prior to this season, the Rebels were 1-8 on its home field since the building opened in 2020.
“I think the beginning of the season is really important,” Arroyo said. “I think that builds a ton of confidence. I think the things we can do early on in the season, that we can feel confident about and take the growth that we talked about in the offseason [becomes] intricate.”
Next week, the Mountain West slate begins for UNLV as it will head to Logan, Utah for a matchup against the Utah State Aggies, the reigning conference champions. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The Rebels rushed for 365 yards as a team led by a career day from running back Aidan Robbins whose day produced the eighth-most yards in program history.
The Louisville transfer rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, all career-highs.
“That’s kind of just the culture we have here with this program,” Robbins said. “We’re a hard hat culture. Blue-collar, we come to work everyday. From the quarterback to the right tackle – that’s how we’re going to play at every position.”
Robbins scored his third and final touchdown of the game with 12:42 remaining in regulation. He now has six rushing touchdowns on the year and seven through the first three games in total.
His first two scores came in the second quarter within a minute and a half of each other. The first came on a 4th and 1 from two yards out while the other was a lightning strike on the first play of the drive for 33 yards.
In the third quarter, he reached the 100-yard rushing mark on his way to 200 in the fourth quarter. “The offensive line did a great job this week of just preparing knowing what guys they needed to key [in] on,” quarterback Doug Brumfield said. “Being physical off-the-ball, playing like bullies. They did a great job today.” Brumfield added 100 yards on the ground on 12 rushes including two touchdowns. The first of his two touchdowns came on a 29-yard carry that put the Rebels up 10. He took a scary hit on his second score of the game as he flipped into the end zone from eight yards out, landing awkwardly on his neck and head.
Brumfield also threw for 211 yards on 21-of-27 passing with two touchdowns through the air.
Junior wide receiver Kyle Williams caught one of those touchdown passes as part of his 69-yard outing on eight catches. Sophomore wide receiver Ricky White reeled in seven receptions for a game-high 76 yards and was responsible for Brumfield’s second touchdown pass.
“Coach did a really good job of preparing us this week,” Brumfield said. “Letting us know what we need to be prepared for in fronts with blitzes and how we need to change protections.”
The defense stiffened up when it needed to despite a shaky first quarter. North Texas struck for six before the defense could even touch the field as the first time the team touched the ball, it was on a 99-yard kick return touchdown.
An offensive scheme powered by the hurry offense for the Mean Green gave the Rebels trouble early, allowing the visitors to take a 10-9 lead into the second quarter.
From then on, the defense used a bend-but-don’t-break mentality using multiple stops on fourth down to come away with the win, three to be exact. All of which yielded points on the backend.
“Those are huge momentum swings in a game,” Arroyo said. “Especially because it gives so much emotion and gas to the offense when you see that happen.”
The first of the trio of stops occurred in the second quarter on a 4th and 1. That stop set up the one play, quick-strike 33-yard touchdown for Robbins.
Additionally, UNLV got a pass deflection on the second to last play of the first half that forced North Texas to take a field goal into halftime. That field goal allowed the Rebels to take the 23-20 lead into the locker room.
The final stop on fourth down set up a 99-yard fourth quarter scoring drive capped off by Brumfield’s touchdown pass to White.
“Just setting [into] who we are,” Brumfield said. “[We’re] letting other teams know we’re not going to be pushed around on that field. No matter what’s ahead of us, we’re ready to take it on.”
The final two Mean Green possessions of the night were ended by interceptions by defensive backs Jordyn Morgan and Cameron Oliver. The latter interception went for a pick-six.