Rebels vs. Commodores: Preview to UNLV’s SEC matchup

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Thomas Anderson celebrates after making a defensive stop against Bryant. UNLV defeated Bryant 44-14 on Sept. 2. Photo by DJ Cabanlong.

The 1-1 UNLV Rebels will play its third non-conference game against the 2-1 Vanderbilt Commodores at Allegiant Stadium on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. 

The Rebels had a strong season opener, defeating the Bryant Bulldogs 44-14. Quarterback Doug Brumfield went 11-18 on pass attempts, tallying up 86 yards with one interception. Running back Vincent Davis Jr. had 79 yards and a touchdown against the Bulldogs. Wide Receiver Jacob De Jesus had a fiery start, with 50 yards on four receptions. 

The Rebels fiery start was quickly extinguished by the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines beat the Rebels 35-7, handing the Rebels their first loss of the season. QB J.J. McCarthy threw 278 yards for two touchdowns, while Brumfield only threw for 100 yards. RB Jordan Younge-Humphrey prevented the Rebels from getting shut out with a touchdown in the last two minutes of the game. The Rebels got a taste of Big 10 football, putting them in the loss column. 

The 2-1 Commodores have had a strong start to its season, putting them second in the SEC. They won its first two games against Hawaii and Alabama A&M. They beat Hawaii 35-28, with QB AJ Swann throwing 258 yards and three touchdowns. RB Patrick Smith rushed 30 yards and scored a touchdown, and WR Jayden McGowan caught six passes for 72 yards.

Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann surveys the Alabama A&M defense. Photo courtesy of Hustler Multimedia / Nour Abida.

Vanderbilt is currently in a running back by committee because its bell cow from the 2022 season, Ray Davis, entered the transfer portal in the offseason. Davis rushed for over 1,000 yards in the 2022 campaign before transferring to Kentucky.   

Alabama A&M stood no chance against the Commodores, losing 47-13. Swann outdueled QB Xavier Lankford 194 yards to 105 yards, with Swann throwing for two touchdowns and one interception. RB Sedrick Alexander scored two touchdowns, sending the Commodores into their third game undefeated.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons ended the Commodores win streak with a 36-20 win. QB Mitch Griffis threw 196 yards for two touchdowns, even though Swann threw for more yards and touchdowns with 314 yards and three touchdowns. Vanderbilt was shut out in the first quarter but came back with two touchdowns before the half. Kicker Matthew Dennis kept the Commodores alive in the third quarter with a field goal. However, Wake Forest finished the Commodores with a touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter. 

According to ESPN, this loss affected the odds of the Week 3 game against UNLV, giving Vanderbilt a 54.1 percent chance of winning. The Rebels have significantly higher odds of defeating Vanderbilt, with a 45.9 percent chance compared to the little over 1 percent Michigan odds ESPN set for UNLV in Week 2. 

This battle between the Mountain West and SEC will kick off at Allegiant Stadium on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. Student tickets are available under the “student tickets” section online at unlvtickets.com/students. 

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