UNLV football opened up its season against the Eastern Washington Eagles, and the Rebels battled all the way to the end to. But the Rebels could not extend the game in double-overtime, falling to the Eagles 35-33.
While going for a two-point conversion to send the game to triple overtime, the Rebels just came one yard short as Eastern Washington made a goal line tackle, silencing the Rebel fans in Allegiant Stadium. This was the first time these two teams played each other. The last time the Rebels played a Big Sky conference team was the season opener against Southern Utah in 2019.
There was a lot of anticipation heading into the 2021 season for the Rebels with many seniors returning due to the NCAA rules of letting players have another year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
One in particular was running back Charles Williams, who ended last season 60 yards short of being the fourth UNLV running back ever to have 3,000 rushing yards. One game into the season, and he’s finally reached that accomplishment.
Williams finished the game with 27 carries and 172 rushing yards. To add on he had two key touchdowns, the first coming in the fourth quarter to tie the game with his other touchdown in overtime to give the Rebels a 27-20.
“It was more of the (offensive line), they did their job,” Williams said. “The point of attack is what we talk about, they did a great job. It was great to see and get a push in the second half and started trusting and started to hit more. I stopped pitter-pattering and got decisive with my cuts.”
A true darkhorse for UNLV’s MVP of the game was kicker Daniel Gutierrez with a perfect 4-for-4 with his longest of the game being 51 yards. Gutierrez put the team on his back throughout the game as the Rebels could not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
“Well I think that, number one, Guitz (Gutierrez) is doing a heck of a job kicking the ball,” head coach Marcus Arroyo said. “I think that’s a really, really, really good deal for us. We have seen that throughout the camp and what we’ve been watching.”
Now with heartbreak comes hope and there is hope for the Rebels. Another great performance in the game was quarterback Doug Brumfield.
In the beginning of the season, Arroyo did not name a starting quarterback for the opener. Against Eastern Washington, UNLV started Justin Rogers in the first half of the game.
Rogers did not perform well, finishing with only 23 passing yards while completing seven of his eleven pass attempts. After the Rebels’ first possession of the second half, Arroyo ultimately made the decision to switch quarterbacks and bring in Brumfield.
Brumfield instantly made his presence known with his second pass attempt of the game being a 58 yard bomb to wide receiver Kyle Williams.
Brumfield went on to finish the game with 117 passing yards on five catches on twelve attempts. He also added 27 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. That rushing touchdown was a quarterback scramble for 19 yards in the second overtime to bring the game within two points.
“I thought Doug came in and did something hard. It’s hard to come off the bench, been there, done that,” Arroyo said. “To come off the bench and to get a spark, he did a real nice job and I’m excited to get him moving forward and I’m sure the film will reflect that in making a decision going into next week.”
The Rebels next week are heading down south to Phoenix to take on the 25th ranked team in the nation, the Arizona State Sun Devils. This is the game where the Rebels plan on bouncing back in a big way against a tough opponent. This game will be shown on ESPN 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11.