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UNLV drops out of first place, losing to San Jose State


UNLV senior linebacker Austin Ajiake calls out orders to the defense during the team's road contest against San Jose State. Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

An early season matchup for first place in the Mountain West went array for UNLV as the team dropped a road contest to San Jose State.


The Rebels were blown out, 40-7, by the Spartans Friday, Oct. 7 from CEFCU Stadium in Northern California.


The loss ends a three-game win streak for UNLV while the team suffers its first conference loss in three tries. As a result, the team falls to 4-2 on the year.


“We’ve got to do a better job, hands down,” head coach Marcus Arroyo said. “To not play the way we’ve played is something we’ve really got to look at. Our identity tonight wasn’t what we have been.”


Next on the schedule, the Rebels will return home for a Homecoming matchup against the Air Force Falcons Saturday, Oct. 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from Allegiant Stadium.


UNLV was met with stout defense from San Jose State, forcing the team into a quarterback change. Arroyo has now made a change at quarterback 13 times in 24 games as lead man for the Rebels.


Starting quarterback Doug Brumfield had a rough night going, 1-for-6 with eight passing yards in his limited time on the field.


The slow start meant reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year, Cameron Friel, would get his chance under center. On his second play of the game, he fumbled the snap resulting in a recovery by the Spartans and a short field, which they took advantage of.


Friel settled in after that with a 7-for-7 passing start to the game including a 38-yard strike to junior receiver Senika McKie. His first incompletion came just before halftime.


Even with the early success, UNLV could not get across the goal line. Facing a 4th and goal from the six-yard line, Friel’s pass to senior receiver Nick Williams was completed but he was ruled down without contact, falling at the one-yard line.


McKie was able to haul in a late third quarter touchdown pass from Friel for the first Rebel score 42 minutes into the game.


Third-string Harrison Bailey got a few reps late in the game, relieving Friel of his duties. He left the game after completing 15 of his 22 with 153 passing yards and a touchdown in the bulk of the snaps.


Spartans starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro burned the Rebels with his legs to the tune of 109 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.


In fact, each of the first three scores for San Jose State came on the ground including both from Cordeiro and one from senior running back Kairee Robinson.


The home team raced out to a 23-0 first half and eventually scored the first 33 points of the ball game. Cordeiro added 230 yards through the air on 18-of-27 passing with two touchdowns.


“This isn’t how we envisioned the game going, but I don’t want to just leave it at that,” senior linebacker Austin Ajiake said. “I want to find a way for us to turn this into a positive. We can learn from this. We’ve still got a lot of games left, it’s a long season.


“We’re not where we want to go and where we know we can be, but we know we can get there.”

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