Tate Martell makes debut for UNLV in 48-3 loss to Iowa State

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Rebel defenders Philip Hill (5) and Kolo Uasike (94) recover a fumbled ball from Iowa State to give UNLV's offense the ball back in the Sept. 18 match up. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV football returned home this week to host No.14 Iowa State at Allegiant Stadium but fell to the Cyclones 48-3. The Rebels had a hard time running an offense without starting quarterback Doug Brumfield, as he was on the sidelines after suffering an injury in last week’s game at Arizona State. 

Iowa State running back Breece Hall started the scoring with a one-yard touchdown to put the Cyclones on the board early 7-0. As the Rebels’ offense began their first drive of the night, freshman quarterback Cameron Friel led UNLV onto the field as he made his debut as a starter for the Rebels.

UNLV’s opening drive would be short with only nine rushing yards, all nine credited to running back Charles Williams. The Cyclones would use the rest of the first on a 75-yard drive, resulting in a touchdown seconds into the second quarter. 

Later in the second quarter, UNLV’s defense held Iowa State to only 10 plays and also made a huge stop at the Cyclones’ fourth and goal from the one-yard line. However, the Rebels offense would go three and out on their next two drives, forcing head coach Marcus Arroyo to make a change at quarterback.

That change would come late in the second as Las Vegas native Tate Martell would finally make his debut at quarterback after nearly two years since his last college game. Martell was in for one short play as Friel took over and immediately threw an interception on the next play.

With the starting quarterback position for the Rebels in question all week, Arroyo had to make a tough call for tonight’s game.  

“We made a decision I think two days ago to say you know what- in early on in [Brumfield’s] career right now it’s hard to go play a game if you haven’t had that much experience with it,” Arroyo said. “You know if he wasn’t ready to play, we had to get the other guys ready to play.”

Before halftime, the Cyclones scored once more putting themselves up 24-0 over the Rebels. To start the second half, UNLV went three and out, Iowa State would go on to score another touchdown putting them up 31-0.

The Rebels’ longest drive of the night came midway through the third quarter, Friel and Williams got things started with two runs gaining 13 yards total. 

Martell would later come in and complete his first pass to tight end Giovanni Fauolo for 12 yards. Martell would then run the ball for another nine yards which set up kicker Daniel Guiterrez for a 30-yard field goal putting the Rebels on the board. 

The light in UNLV’s offense did not last long as Iowa State got the ball back and made yet another touchdown in only five plays to bring it to 38-3 going into the final 15 minutes. 

In the fourth quarter, the Rebels offense only gained 10 yards, going three and out back to back. Iowa would score another 10 unanswered points sealing the game victory, 48-3. 

“Hats off to a good football team and what coach [Matt] Campbell has done at that place the past few years,” Arroyo said. “That’s a good football team – big, physical, does things right and what you need to do to win games.”

By the Numbers

The UNLV vs Iowa State football game crowd totaled 35,193 which is the seventh-largest in history to attend a UNLV football game in Las Vegas. Friel completed 8 passes on 13 attempts throwing 67 yards in his first career start. 

Martell ended with 27 passing yards and 2 rushing yards in his first game as a Rebel. Williams had 19 carries averaging 2.2 yards per carry and Fauolo ended with 4 receptions totaling 36 yards. 

As a team, the Rebels finished with 130 total yards in comparison to the Cyclones’ 493 yards. UNLV is now 5-1 against Iowa State, their last meeting being in 2008 when UNLV defeated the Cyclones 34-31. 

With three straight losses, the Rebels are looking to steal a game next week at Bulldog Stadium where they will face the 3-1 Fresno State Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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