3 Takeaways from UNLV at UTEP

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Courtney Reese running along the sideline evading a UTEP defender in 48-25 win. Photo courtesy of UNLV Athletics.

The UNLV Rebels took on the UTEP Miners at the Sun Bowl, in El Paso Texas. The Rebels won 45-28 making its record 3-1 heading into conference play. 

This game against the UTEP Miners was the Rebels’ final non-conference game of the season.

Jai’Den Thomas and the running back committee

UNLV dominated the line of scrimmage for a majority of the game. The Rebels running backs scored six touchdowns and rushed for 307 yards against UTEP. 

Freshman running back Jai’Den Thomas tied UNLV’s all time single-game touchdown record with a four rushing touchdown performance.  

Thomas also reached the century mark on the ground tallying up 100 yards rushing averaging 7.7 yards per carry.

Alongside Thomas, Vincent Davis Jr. nearly reached the century mark as well with 97 yards on 13 carries.

Donavyn Lester and Courtney Reese both contributed on the ground scoring a touchdown each.

The running back committee overall overwhelmed the Miners defense and took the majority of the pressure off of Maiava’s shoulders for his first collegiate start.

UNLV Special Teams and Defense put on a show

The UNLV defense made clutch plays when needed with three interceptions and four sacks against the Miners. 

The turnovers for the Rebels both were from defensive backs. Jaxen Turner made his first two interceptions as a Rebel and Cameron Oliver made his first pick of the season.

Jerrae Williams and Jalen Dixon both finished the game with a sack and two tackles for loss.

LSU transfer outside linebacker Zavier Carter made his first sack and tackle for loss as a Rebel. Carter is an explosive threat on the outside that Mountain West offensive lines will need to adjust protections for.

Sophomore punter for UTEP, Joshua Sloan’s first punt of the game  was blocked by defensive back Cameren Jenkins. The ball was recovered by Rashod Tanner at UTEP12.

Kicker for UNLV, Jose Pizano, made all 6-of-6 of his extra points on top of a 30-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. Pizano was named special teams player of the week for the Mountain West Conference for his Week 3 performance and continued his consistency in Week 4. 

Maiava’s first start was efficient 

Starting quarterback Doug Brumfield for UNLV was injured from a sack in the Week 3 game against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter. Freshman QB, Jayden Maiava, replaced Brumfield for the remainder of that game and started in Week 4 against UTEP.

In Maiava’s first start he threw for 190 yards and completed 15-of-33 of his passes.

Maiava has two wins under his belt and had an efficient start for the Rebels against UTEP. Maiava was a field general on 3rd downs converting 10-of-17.  

The freshman finished with a quarterback rating of 107.3 and his ability to control the game and lead the Rebels to a road victory gives him a fair argument to keep the starting role for Week 6.

Up Next
The Rebels are back at Allegiant Stadium for Week 5 to face off against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The Rebels will be looking to win the Pineapple Trophy, a tradition between the two teams. Kick-off for the Ninth Island Showdown will be at 1 p.m. on Sept. 30.

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