UNLV Football made a statement win on the road, defeating New Mexico 56-14 to improve its overall record to 7-2 and Mountain West Conference record 4-1.
The Rebels’ win against the Lobos was the definition of complementary football. The UNLV defense and special teams put the offense in great field position throughout the game, and the offense took advantage of it, scoring on its drives.
Jayden Maiava was a field general completing 13-of-18 of his passes for three touchdowns. His favorite target was Ricky White, who caught eight passes for 165 yards, including two touchdowns and a 42-yard grab that he reached over a Lobos defender to make.
On the ground, three Rebels running backs found the end zone as they continued to thrive in the running back by committee system.
Jacob De Jesus was the spark plug for the Rebels, returning punts for 112 yards and forcing New Mexico to punt the ball to the sideline throughout the day.
The Rebels started its first possession with excellent field position after a 59-yard punt return by De Jesus. UNLV scored on its first play on offense with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Maiava to White to put the Rebels up 7-0 early.
The special team’s flaws continued for New Mexico on its punt of the game, where there was a muff on the snap, resulting in the Rebels having the ball on the Lobos’ 32-yard line.
UNLV took advantage of the field position once again with a five-play drive resulting in a Vincent Davis Jr. 5-yard rushing touchdown to put the Rebels ahead 14-0 with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lobos responded with a 12-play touchdown drive that was capped off by an Andrew Henry 3-yard touchdown run to cut the New Mexico deficit to 14-7.
The offensive fireworks continued for the Rebels in the second quarter with a drive that featured a highlight reel 42-catch by White.
“I’m not sure if you’re going to see a better catch in the country,” Mountain West Network play-by-play commentator Jeff Siembiada said on the game broadcast.
The catch by White put the Rebels on the Lobos 6-yard line, and Davis Jr. cashed in a 5-yard touchdown run to put the Rebels up 21-7 with 9:06 remaining in the first half.
New Mexico got the wheels moving on offense with Dylan Hopkins connecting to Caleb Medford for a 41-yard pass on the first play of the drive after the Davis Jr. touchdown. Rebel Jalen Dixion stepped up on defense, forcing a fumble and returning it to the Lobos’ 5-yard line three plays after the long completion.
Following the fumble recovery and return by Dixion, Donavyn Lester scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown on the following play to extend the Rebels lead to 28-7.
The Lobos were once again forced to punt, and De Jesus made another long return to put the Rebels in excellent field position. The return put De Jesus over 100 yards in punt returns alone in the first half.
The Rebels scored its fifth touchdown of the half, with Courtney Reese scoring a 2-yard rushing touchdown on his first carry of the afternoon to put the game out of reach, making the score 35-7 with 4:22 remaining in the half.
The Rebels took the 35-7 lead at the half after Luke Drzewiecki missed a 52-yard field goal for the Lobos in the final seconds of the half.
Maiava kept the foot on the gas in the first drive of the second half, connecting with Dominic Gicinto for a 43-yard touchdown pass for the Rebels’ sixth touchdown of the game, making the score 42-7.
With the game already out of reach, Maiava continued to show off his arm talent. In the Rebels’ next offensive play, he threw a 58-yard touchdown to White. Maiava, in his back-to-back touchdown passes, threw for 101 yards.
With the game put away, the Rebels put in DeAngelo Irvin Jr. for the punt return, and he produced a 49-yard return to put the Rebels in the red zone to give UNLV the opportunity to break the 50-point mark. With Camero Friel under center, he punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to take a 56-7 lead.
The Rebels were in cruise control in the fourth quarter and finished the game on top, 56-14.
UNLV Football looks to carry over the momentum from New Mexico onto its home game against Wyoming on Nov. 11. Kickoff will be at Allegiant Stadium at 7:45 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.