UNLV football suffered a blowout loss to the San Jose State Spartans 40-7 Friday night in San Jose, Calif.
Not only did the Rebels drop a game to the now first-place Spartans in the West division race, but the Rebels also lost starting quarterback Doug Brumfield to a head injury. Brumfield left for the locker room early in the second quarter.
While head coach Marcus Arroyo didn’t have a clear update on Brumfield postgame, he was clear on what he didn’t see from his team against the Spartans.
“We’ve got to do a better job, hands down…,” Arroyo told reporters on site after the loss. “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.”
The Rebels drop to 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in Mountain West play as they looked to make a statement as legitimate contenders in the Mountain West against the 2020 conference champs.
After their play in the first five games, Friday’s performance was a shock to Arroyo, the team, and those watching. Brumfield’s injury played a critical factor for the already struggling Rebels offense as they tried to break through a tough Spartans defense.
The Spartans controlled the game on offense, netting 433 total yards. Their defense was also stellar, holding the Rebels to 213 total yards of offense and limiting them to 4-of-12 on third down conversion attempts.
“They got a ton of time together and got continuity with the staff,” Arroyo said. “Guys have been there for 4-5 years, while the front line is really good and has a lot of cohesion and they do a really nice job.”
The Spartans took their time on the first drive of the game. The Spartans took over five-and-a-half minutes off the clock and scored a 9-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Kairee Robinson to jump ahead 7-0.
The Spartans’ early score, along with quick three-and-outs by the Rebels offense, made it a lackluster first quarter.
In the second quarter, at the 13:09 mark, the Spartans scored again through junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. He scored on a 10-yard run as the Spartans’ lead grew.
During the Rebels’ next drive Brumfield took a hard hit. After the punt of that drive, Brumfield was seen gingerly walking with medical personnel taking him to the locker room, and he did not appear for the rest of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Camron Friel came in off the bench for the Rebels to try and compete in the 14-0 deficit. In Friel’s first drive, there was a fumble that the Spartans recovered and gave its offense another possession
The Spartans scored again with another rushing touchdown from Cordeiro. This time it was a 15-yard run. After missing the extra point, the Spartans led 20-0.
Another three-and-out for the Rebels’ offense gave the Spartans a chance to score more points before halftime. Sophomore kicker Taren Schive kicked a 43-yard field goal to put the Spartans up 23-0 at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, the Spartans added to their lead with another field goal by Schive, this time a 25-yarder.
Cordeiro made the Rebels pay after they went three-and-out. He connected with junior tight end Dominick Mazotti for a 22-yard reception for a touchdown, as the Spartans went ahead 33-0.
Late in the third quarter at the 2:52 mark, the Rebels finally got on the board. Friel threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Senika McKie, the Rebels’ first points and McKie’s first touchdown with the Rebels to make the score 33-7.
The Spartans added one more score at the 9:28 mark of the fourth quarter with Cordeiro throwing a 20-yard pass to senior wide receiver Elijah Cooks
The Spartans held an advantage over the Rebels in every category when it came to total yards, rushing yards, and passing yards.
The Rebels had a total of 213 yards, 161 passing yards, and 52 rushing yards, while the Spartans had 433 yards, 230 passing yards, and 203 rushing yards.
“This isn’t how we envisioned the game going, but I don’t want to just leave it at that,” fifth-year senior linebacker Austin Ajiake told reporters. “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.”
Ajiake led the Rebels with 13 tackles and two sacks. Friel completed 15 of 22 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown.
The Rebels travel back home to take on the Air Force for their homecoming game at Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The game can be listened to live on UNLV’s student radio station, The Rebel HD-2.