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Williams’ record-setting night paces Rebels to first win in over 700 days

The journey has been more of the story than the destination for the UNLV Football team but for the first time in 706 days, the program has won.

UNLV ousted New Mexico, 31-17, Saturday, Nov. 6 on the road to win their first game in two seasons under head coach Marcus Arroyo.

The win stops the bleeding on a program-worst winless streak and brings the team’s record to 1-8 on the year and 1-4 in the Mountain West.

Arroyo and company will look to stack the wins as the Rebels will return home for the Ninth Island Showdown with the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors.

That game will take place from Allegiant Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13 with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

Senior running back Charles Williams appeared to be one of the lone bright spots of this UNLV team as the fifth-year runner was primed to become the program’s leading rusher.

Williams accomplished that feat five minutes into the third quarter with an 11-yard run to overtake former Rebel running back Tim Cornett.

After galloping for 74 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns, Williams now sits atop the UNLV rushing polls with a 3,758 career-mark in rushing yards.

The first of his two touchdowns came with 32 seconds left in the first quarter to tie the game at seven apiece.

His second put the icing on the cake as it came with 11:34 left in regulation as he scored the game’s final touchdown, securing a much-needed win for the program.

As it often does as it pertains to this football season, UNLV’s opponent appeared to look like world-beaters after a 91-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown.

It was the longest drive of the season for the Lobos.

However, a fumble late in the first quarter by quarterback Isaiah Chavez helped set up that game-tying touchdown by Williams.

Appearing to be hurt on that play, Chavez shook it off and ran back onto the field for the next drive.

Yet, he fumbled on the first play of the drive, giving the Rebels the ball back for the second time in as many offensive plays.

The mistakes didn’t just come on the offensive end as the New Mexico defense wiped away a sack on third and nine after being flagged for offsides.

Even an interception by UNLV quarterback Cameron Friel to open the second half was not enough to turn the tide as New Mexico followed that up with its third fumble of the game.

Aside from that one interception, Friel had a brilliant game for the Rebels, having perhaps his best stretch of play in the second quarter where he helped the team score twice.

The first second quarter score came via a 15-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Marcus Phillips Jr. to go up 14-7.

Not long after the Lobos would tie the game on a 75-yard run play.

It only took one play for UNLV to match New Mexico’s big play with one of its own as Friel found wide receiver Kyle Williams down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown through the air.

The receiver finished with seven receptions and 137 yards, both of which were game-highs.

By that point in the second quarter, Friel was up to 103 yards on five completions with two of the five going for touchdowns.

He finished with 227 yards through the air on 20-of-33 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.


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