Rebels begin crucial stretch run with bowl eligibility in sight

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UNLV defensive lineman Adam Plant Jr. battles a Notre Dame offensive lineman during UNLV's 44-21 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 22 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV football is in high hopes of success for the final four games of their regular season.

The Rebels are expecting sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield has returned to practice and is listed as the starting quarterback on the depth chart for the upcoming game against Saturday at San Diego State.

Yet Brumfield isn’t the only player that has a possibility of returning. Coach Marcus Arroyo said junior running back Aidan Robbins is still listed as day-to-day but will be back in practice.

Although the offensive duo has a possibility to play this week, other members of the team do not. Junior wide receiver Kyle Williams, fifth-year long snapper Rex Goossen, and senior wide receiver Jeff Weimer are all not expected to play.

UNLV is coming off a 44-21 loss at Notre Dame on Oct. 21, its third loss in a row. The loss dropped the Rebels to 4-4 after starting the season 4-1.

The Rebels are coming off of a bye week and are returning to Mountain West play to begin a crucial four-game stretch to end the season.

During the bye week, the Rebels had some time to relax and focus on things outside of just football.

“We gave these guys some time to catch fresh air, get away from each other, get out of the building, and get recharged for this last run,” Arroyo said.

Amidst the injuries for the Rebels’, Arroyo is confident in his team and excited for the rest of the season.

“We’re fired up in all cylinders, we ran into a little bit of a rut, a little bit of our chemistry and production,” Arroyo said. “But when that does happen, getting back on track with these guys, pushing them, and being along with them through this last stretch is exciting.”

The Aztecs (4-4, 2-2 Mountain West) are coming off a 32-28 loss at Fresno State last weekend. But they’ve given the Rebels problems, winning the last three matchups.

Junior Center Leif Fautanu is looking to keep the Rebels in check for this week’s matchup.

“We have that next man up mentality so for the next four weeks, I think we’re going to be really good,” Fautanu said. “With everyone coming back and getting healthy after the bye week, we’re in a good spot.”

Senior linebacker Kyle Beaudry shared similar sentiments, as he and the defense are looking to turn a new page for the final four games of the regular season.

“The focus has been the same all year, we always try to take it one game at a time and that’s the 1-0 mindset we always talk about,” Beaudry said.

While the Aztecs have an edge in the all-time series (21-10), three of the last four games have been decided by one score.

The Rebels are looking to come out on top and get one step closer to becoming bowl eligible.

“The fundamental pieces are the biggest things that go hand in hand,” Arroyo said. “If you’re not trying to get back to 100, you’re going to stay under 100.”

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