Oct 15, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs running back Greg Bell (22) warms up before the game against the San Jose State Spartans at CEFCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 San Diego State can record win No. 10 with victory over UNLV

San Diego State seeks to reach double digits in victories for the fifth time in the past seven seasons when it visits UNLV in Mountain West play on Friday night.

The No. 19 Aztecs (9-1, 5-1 Mountain West) can also move closer to the West division title if they defeat the Rebels for the 16th time in the past 20 meetings.

San Diego State put itself in control of its division fate when it notched a 23-21 win over visiting Nevada last Saturday.

UNLV (2-8, 2-4) has won its past two games, and Aztecs standout linebacker Cameron Thomas took notice.

“I’ve watched this team several times this season, and their record does not show who they are,” Thomas said. “I think they’re a really good team. We must keep our edge this weekend and go out there and execute.”

Thomas has recorded 16.5 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks, for a unit that has given up 14 or fewer points on six occasions.

The San Diego State passing game doesn’t scare anyone — it ranks 126th nationally at 136.9 yards per game — but Lucas Johnson was 21-of-34 passing for 176 yards and one touchdown against Nevada while making his fourth straight start.

The Aztecs are a rare Top 25 program whose best player is a punter.

Matt Araiza leads the nation with a 52.25 average and is on pace to break the single-season mark set by Braden Mann (50.98) of Texas A&M in 2018.

Araiza has boomed six punts of 70 or more yards this season, including boots of 86 and 81 yards. He also has had 29 of his punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

“You talk about field position and those kinds of things, what Matt has done, how he’s played, he’s the MVP,” Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said.

UNLV has its own star in Charles Williams, who became the fourth player in Mountain West history to top 4,000 career rushing yards with an epic performance in a 27-13 victory over visiting Hawaii.

Williams set a school record with 38 carries as he rushed for 266 yards, matching former NFL player Mike Thomas for the second-most rushing yards in school history. Williams has rushed for 1,089 yards and 13 touchdowns this season and is UNLV’s all-time leading rusher with 4,029.

“He was a machine,” Rebels coach Marcus Arroyo said of the player nicknamed “Chuck Wagon.” “We’re in the 10th game of the season, and you’re out here playing like that? Says a lot about Charles.”

Williams, who scored three touchdowns, did what many running backs do after a huge game — credit the offensive line.

“Shout out to the line, they did their job today,” Williams said. “I had a lot of big holes, big creases, set up for me. I helped them out by making the right cuts and not dancing too much.”

UNLV isn’t a strong defensive team and has allowed 35 or more points on five occasions. However, things have been different in the back-to-back wins over New Mexico and Hawaii as the Rebels gave up a combined 30 points.

The Aztecs rolled to a 34-6 victory in last season’s meeting when Greg Bell rushed for 111 yards and one touchdown. Bell leads San Diego State with 849 rushing yards this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2021; Fresno, California, USA; UNLV Rebels outside linebacker Kylan Wilborn (8) runs the ball against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the first quarter at Bulldog Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Haener tosses 5 TDs as No. 22 Fresno State nips UNLV

Jake Haener threw for five touchdown passes, four to Jalen Cropper, as No. 22 Fresno State survived its Mountain West Conference opener with a fourth-quarter rally that allowed it to beat UNLV 38-30 Friday night in Fresno, Calif.

Haener and Cropper’s final scoring connection, a 26-yarder with 4:53 left in the game, gave the Bulldogs (4-1, 1-0 MWC) the lead for good at 35-30. Cesar Silva added insurance with a 31-yard field goal with 2:29 remaining.

The Rebels (0-4, 0-1) led 30-29 on Daniel Gutierrez’s 30-yard field goal with 6:38 left in the game, but their offense couldn’t produce a first down on either of their last two possessions. Cameron Friel’s 4th-and-14 pass with 1:19 left fell incomplete to seal the outcome.

UNLV used two quarterbacks to help them roll up 433 total yards, just 28 fewer than Fresno State. Friel was 9 of 15 for 138 yards, while starter Doug Brumfield completed 6 of 13 for 143 yards with two touchdowns. Charles Williams added 102 yards and a score on 19 carries.

Fresno State entered the game as a 30 1/2-point favorite, but it was UNLV that controlled most of the first half with a defense that was allowing an average of 40 points per game.

The Rebels kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone until the final minute of the first half and owned a 14-0 lead before the first quarter was over. Their offense marched 60 and 95 yards on their first two possessions for touchdowns.

Brumfield found Steve Jenkins for a 10-yard scoring strike five minutes into the game, followed by a 1-yard touchdown run by Williams with 1:16 left that finished a 14-play, 7:24 drive.

Fresno State finally got on the board with Silva’s 25-yard field goal at the 11:38 mark of the second quarter. Haener gave the Bulldogs some momentum with 32 seconds left in the half, hitting Erik Brooks for an 18-yard score that cut the UNLV advantage to 14-9 at intermission.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  UNLV Rebels quarterback Cameron Friel (7) is pressured by Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Anthony Johnson Jr. (26) during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy sets Iowa State passing record in rout of UNLV

Brock Purdy passed for 288 yards to set the school record for career passing yards as No. 14 Iowa State rolled to a 48-3 victory over UNLV in a nonconference game on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Purdy completed 21 of 24 passes for three touchdowns while increasing his yardage total to 9,607. He passed Bret Meyer, who had 9,499 from 2004-07.

Breece Hall rushed for 100 yards and two scores on 21 carries for the Cyclones (2-1). He scored at least one rushing touchdown for the 15th straight game to tie the Big 12 record held by Missouri’s Corby Jones (1997-98).

Xavier Hutchinson caught 10 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Charlie Kolar also had a scoring reception for Iowa State.

Daniel Gutierrez kicked a 30-yard field goal for UNLV (0-3), which has lost nine straight games since winning its 2019 finale against Nevada.

Rebels quarterback Doug Brumfield missed the game, stemming from a hard hit he took against Arizona State one week ago. Cameron Friel completed 8 of 13 passes for 67 yards and one interception, and Tate Martell was 2-of-6 passing for 27 yards.

Martell, who formerly played for Ohio State and Miami, made his UNLV debut.

Charles Williams rushed for 42 yards on 19 carries for the Rebels.

Iowa State outgained the Rebels 493 to 130 and had a 27-7 edge in first downs.

Hall scored on 1-yard runs with 8:04 left in the first quarter and on the first play of the second quarter to give Iowa State a 14-0 lead. He nearly had a third, but he was ruled inches short on a fourth-down leap with 8:57 left in the half.

Hutchinson caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Purdy with 2:15 remaining in the half, and Andrew Mevis added a 40-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the Cyclones a 24-0 lead.

Iowa State increased its lead to 31 when Purdy connected with a wide-open Kolar for a 33-yard score with 11:03 left in the third quarter.

Gutierrez’s field goal with 3:39 left in the third got the Rebels on the board, but Purdy tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hutchinson to make it 38-3 with 1:51 left.

Mevis booted a 54-yard field goal with 8:23 to play, and Deon Silas drove in from the 1 with 5:07 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; UNLV Rebels quarterback Doug Brumfield (2) dives for a touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Arizona St. scores 30 unanswered to rout UNLV

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels rushed for 125 yards on 13 carries and passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead the No. 23 Sun Devils to a 37-10 win over UNLV at Tempe, Ariz.

Rachaad White, who gained 90 yards on 22 carries, rushed for two touchdowns in the second half and Arizona State’s defense limited UNLV to 13 total yards and one first down after halftime.

Arizona State (2-0) led 14-10 at halftime but could have led by more with its final possession of the half stalling at the UNLV 26 when Daniels was sacked on a fourth-and-3 play.

Daniels led the Sun Devils in the first half with 80 yards rushing nine carries while also completing 12 of 16 pass attempts for 123 yards. He completed 20 of 29 passes in the game.

He was intercepted by Nohl Williams after Arizona State drove to the UNLV 11 in the first possession of the game.

The Rebels (0-2) drove to the Arizona State 10 before Daniel Gutierrez made a 28-yard field goal with 4:40 left in the first quarter. The drive was 16 plays for 70 yards that took 7:40 off the clock.

Daniels then engineered an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive culminating with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Wilson with 13:42 left in the second quarter that put Arizona State ahead 7-3.

UNLV again developed a sustained drive of 10 plays covering 75 yards that resulted in 4-yard touchdown run by Doug Brumfield with 8:46 left in the second quarter.

Arizona State took a 14-10 lead on Daniyel Ngata’s 13-yard touchdown run with 2:56 remaining as part of an 11-play, 62-yard drive.

White’s first touchdown run of 9 yards with 45 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Sun Devils a 21-10 lead. Arizona State started that possession at the UNLV 37 after a 17-yard punt return by D.J. Taylor.

White then scored on a 1-yard run with 13:10 remaining in the game with Arizona State starting at its 48-yard line following a UNLV punt deep from its own territory.

It is White’s fourth straight game with multiple touchdown runs.

Arizona State rushed for 290 yards while UNLV finished with 155 total yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards looks on during the second half against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Penalties haunt No. 23 ASU heading into game vs. UNLV

Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said he is mostly concerned about his team’s penalties and UNLV’s running game ahead of the matchup between the 23rd-ranked Sun Devils and the Rebels at Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday night.

The Sun Devils (1-0) defeated Southern Utah 41-14 in the season opener last week despite committing 13 penalties for 135 yards, the most they have had since Edwards began his tenure at Arizona State before the 2018 season.

Edwards’ team committed 11 penalties in the first half.

He told the media Monday that he counted three times Arizona State had first-and-15 or longer, three other times it was second-and-14 and three times it was third-and-16 or longer.

“Those are bad downs. You can’t be in those kinds of downs,” Edwards said. “To keep the ball going, to keep the drive going, those are hard to get out of. And so we have to get away from that.”

UNLV (0-1) will travel to Tempe coming off a 35-33, double-overtime loss at home to Eastern Washington last week. UNLV’s Charles Williams gained 172 yards on 27 carries, an average of 6.4 yards per rush, and scored two touchdowns.

UNLV’s strength is its running game inasmuch as its quarterbacks, Doug Brumfield and Justin Rogers, threw for only 140 yards on 12-of-23 passing with no touchdowns and one interception.

“Defensively, we have a task ahead of us with this run game they have because they do a nice job of running the ball,” Edwards said of UNLV. “So we have to get that stopped. … You still have to have your gap integrity. You have to trust that if I’m supposed to be in the A, B or C gap, I have to trust that I have to stay in this gap.”

Arizona State has a credible running game balanced by the playmaking ability of quarterback Jayden Daniels, who completed 10-of-12 passes for 132 yards before leaving in the third quarter because of leg cramps.

Five ASU players rushed for at least 25 yards, led by Rachaad White’s 58 yards on seven carries, and the Sun Devils finished with 222 yards rushing on 40 carries, with six touchdowns.

Arizona State is 9-1 when running for more than 200 yards under Edwards.

UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo announced Monday that Brumfield will start against Arizona State.

Brumfield entered the game against Eastern Washington midway through the third quarter after the offense struggled to produce with Rogers behind center. The Rebels trailed by 14 points at that point.

“I feel like I prepare as the starter if I’m not starting,” Brumfield said. “We all prepare the same because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Brumfield led UNLV to a comeback to force overtime. He completed 5-of-12 pass attempts for 117 yards, threw an interception and rushed for 27 yards and a touchdown.

“He provided a great spark. Really built off of some of the things he did in camp,” Arroyo said. “I’m excited to see him get in with a true week going in as the guy for the first time. Excited to see him grow.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Carson, California, USA;  UNLV Rebels wide receiver Kyle Williams (1) gets past San Diego State Aztecs safety Tayler Hawkins (9) for a first down in the fourth quarter of the game at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV allowed to open Allegiant Stadium for fans

Spectators will finally get a chance to check out Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Raiders’ home field. But it won’t be to see the Raiders.

UNLV football fans will be the first to attend a game at the $2 billion venue after the school announced that it received approval for limited attendance for its first two scheduled home games from the Southern Nevada Health District and Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry.

Only 2,000 spectators — 3 percent of capacity — will be allowed to attend the Rebels’ battle with in-state rival Nevada on Saturday, but it will be the first in front of fans after the Raiders opted to play in an empty stadium in their inaugural season due to COVID-19.

“We appreciate the work of the Southern Nevada Health District and the state of Nevada throughout this process,” said UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois. “The health and safety of everyone involved, both on the field and in the stands, is our primary concern, and although attendance will be limited, we can’t wait to get our season started and look forward to next Saturday’s historic home opener in Allegiant Stadium.”

Fans must be screened upon entry, be required to wear face coverings, and maintain social distance.

The Rebels will also be at home on Nov. 7 against Fresno State. No decision has been reached on attendance plans for the remaining two home games: against Wyoming (Nov. 27) and Boise State (Dec. 4).

–Field Level Media